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to wonder how you "naturally"; parent a teenager?

(41 Posts)
bluecheeseforbreakfast Tue 10-Dec-13 22:29:35

I'd like to avoid defining myself as any specific type of parent but if I needed to categorise my parenting style it would be natural or attachment parenting. We co-sleep, full term breastfeed, use slings, avoid plastic noisy flashing toys have mostly done baby led weaning, I often feel happy with the choice that feels the most natural or instinctive.

What I don't know is when should this stop? I would imagine a teenagers "natural" instinct would be to move into a cave at the bottom of the garden with the girl next door.

I see it as breastfeeding your toddler because it's what nature intended is fine, allowing your 13 year old to procreate because that is what nature intended is not so ok. But where is the cut off point when we have to encourage our kids to live in 2013 and not 1013bc?

NoComet Tue 10-Dec-13 22:40:40

Parenting teens is just like parenting any other age of child, they don't 'whatever people say' suddenly change.

You listened, you hug, you make suggestions and sometimes you shout about undone HW, socks on the floor and watching Dr Who at midnight, nit much different to when they were 8.

You gradually find they are more sensible and can deal with more freedom. It's no big deal.

Well DD1 isn't, DD2 doesn't turn 13 until after Christmas. wink

pigletmania Tue 10-Dec-13 22:40:46

I think clear and firm boundaries. Dare I say it, consequences for bad behaviour or rule breaking

NoComet Tue 10-Dec-13 22:57:30

Haven't yet had to dole out any consequences, beyond sending DD2 to her room, but we live in the middle of nowhere.

They know no mummy taxi equals no fun. I don't like laying down the law, but DD2 knew if I didn't see her project finished, she was not going to gymnastics tomorrow.

She also knows I would take her laptop if she was really naughty.

I honestly don't have to do anything beyond shout at DD1(15) because she actually says being a rebellious teen and falling out with your parents is a waste of effort.

Doesn't mean she doesn't quietly engineer getting her own way, she is my daughter.

Blokescantbuypressies Tue 10-Dec-13 23:47:30

I have two teenagers. Some days, managing not to kill them is as good a parent as I can be.

squeakytoy Tue 10-Dec-13 23:55:21

"Parenting teens is just like parenting any other age of child, they don't 'whatever people say' suddenly change"

Oh yes they bloody do!!

PoshPenny Wed 11-Dec-13 00:02:52

In some ways it's not that different from a toddler.... there is an awful lot of trying to deflect/distract before they kick off into an almighty tantrum.

Maryz Wed 11-Dec-13 00:04:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Wed 11-Dec-13 00:06:35

Imvho penny has it bang on. I have two. It's exactly like that.

'Ooh look at this-shiny' works for ds
'Ooh look at that top/coat/boots' works for dd

Bless em

NoComet Wed 11-Dec-13 00:10:26

DD1 certainly hasn't so far and I doubt she ever will.

All that happens as she gets older is you see more of the bright, confident and determined young woman, that has always lurked beneath her dizzy dyslexic appearance.

DD2 has been practicing being a teen since she was 6. She doesn't get very far and gives up very quickly. Yes she'll have her moments as she gets older, but living out here she has only cyber friends for support.

DH, me and DD1 can't be added with any attitude

NoComet Wed 11-Dec-13 00:10:45

arsed with

Maryz Wed 11-Dec-13 00:23:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thezoobmeister Wed 11-Dec-13 00:26:40

With the proviso that I only have an 8 year old so have no idea what I am talking about...

Is the thing 'responsibility'?

I'm thinking that teens in hunter gatherer societies are already working and living as adults, yes plenty of sexual freedom (which our teens also enjoy albeit illicitly) but also some of the responsibilities of adult life, and the growing status that comes with being a contributor rather than a dependent.

I read somewhere that many of our teens actually have less freedom than when they were younger, partly due to academic pressures but also because society is increasingly hostile to teenagers out on the streets so they just stay at home on the X box.

I think a lack of appropriate responsibility holds children back and keeps them thinking in childish ways, unable to make their own decisions.

I'll let you know in 6 years how this theory pans out smile

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 11-Dec-13 00:28:40

I sometimes hold the back of my scrawney teenaged sons neck (like when a tigress carries her cubs and they go limp )

I don't actually use my mouth and teeth you understand (Goodness knows what's on that neck confused ) but it makes him feel protected and nurtured in a wild animal sort of way.
He wriggles and laughs and thanks his lucky stars I;m not holding his sweaty little paw grin

AndYouCanDance Wed 11-Dec-13 01:51:50

Applauds Maryz.

I attachment parented and was oh-so-smug about parenting teenagers when I had DS (school captain, easy going).

Then my beautiful DD turned 13. Out of nowhere she hates me.
Tis not fun.

Bogeyface Wed 11-Dec-13 02:19:16

There is no natural parenting a teenager. They are weird! They will always kick back against what st normal and acceptable in order to assert their independence. I know this as fact because I, my sis and my friends all did it!

So my mum and dad wore edgy fashions, supported liberal politics, were Mods (Mum) or Rockers (Dad), listened to the Beatles, The Who etc. I drank, smoked, stayed out late, had boyfriends that I stayed over with etc because it horrified my parents, and they didnt understand me!!!!!!!!!!!!. My kids are rebelling by not drinking or smoking, not staying out late etc, because thats what my generation do/did and it is "pathetic" (I am told!).

You just get through each day with as few arguments as you can possibly manage and wait for the day when they become humans again. I do have one tip. When they start kicking off the odd time and you think "oh oh! Here come the teens!" hold them when they let you, cuddle them, tell them you love them. Because when they come out the other end they will be grown ups and you will no long be the centre of their world. sad

Sorry, that is sad but true.

BitOfFunWithSanta Wed 11-Dec-13 03:25:52

You can naturally parent in the sense that you just be yourself, rather than come over all authoritarian or uncomfortably 'cool'.

You can say, for example, that you'd think you should do xyz, but you are you, and can't, and can they help you see a way forward?

Treat them with respect, and collaborate, and it might just work.

I've only had one, mind.

claraschu Wed 11-Dec-13 03:35:17

Yes to Maryz.

Also, as they become teenagers, they have to deal with the outside world. This affects different children very differently. What I find most difficult is dealing with their lies, secrecy and deviousness. Some are secretive about the fact that they are bullied for being clever; some are secretive about smoking and having sex.
Some are considerate and reasonable.

Twelve years of being the kind of wonderful parent you are, OP, will probably mean that at least one child will be easy, open and happy, but you don't have any guarantees. It is a minefield, but I guess with hindsight, I would have checked up more and been less trusting.

mathanxiety Wed 11-Dec-13 04:19:58

Yes, it is responsibility. And being yourself and sharing that in a way that doesn't embarrass them [difficult]. It is also about recognising their changing needs as they grow older. They do not need the attachment parenting that you practiced when they were babies and small children because they are no longer babies or small children.

You start at about age 8 (no later than 12) and do chores with them around the house in a pleasant way, teach them to cook, clean up the kitchen, keep their rooms clean, beds made, etc., do their laundry and keep the bathroom pleasant and you consistently check that their chores are done. If problems arise you try to talk with them about why things are not being done and ask them to come up with solutions. You turn them into people who see themselves as part of a team because they need to feel they are valued members of a team, and you praise them for their contribution. And you might get one who doesn't turn your hair grey.

They are their own people and if they weren't you would not be doing your job properly.

mathanxiety Wed 11-Dec-13 05:02:08

That wasn't meant to be sarcastic [sorry]

I really believe in keeping on talking and listening and being interested in them and sharing something of what interests you, and having children contribute around the house in a consistent way. At best you will end up with children who have confidence and a sense of responsibility. At worst, you end up with chores done by surly 13 year olds and an atmosphere you could cut with a knife. They are all individuals and some just won't play your game. You develop your own little zen bubble and you miss them when they're gone <sniff>

Shonajoy Wed 11-Dec-13 05:57:36

I found my two teens to be hard work until they hit 17-18. Now they're actually helpful, and are nearly 20 and 18. We are cool about boyfriend staying over, friends staying over, and don't embarrass them, so long as they do the bit during the week, ie dishwasher, tidy rooms, buy milk if they use it all. They get give and take much more easily.

SatinSandals Wed 11-Dec-13 06:48:41

I love the way that it was said earlier that they don't change! Some don't , some do. It is personality and nothing to do with your parenting.
I think that it is good that you have to respond to the child that you have by that age and you can't get away with having a philosophy and making your child fit it, the way that you can with a baby and toddler.
I hate all these labels and you really have to let them go by teenage years and just be yourself, who happens to be a parent.

SatinSandals Wed 11-Dec-13 06:49:37

Teenagers are very quick to see through you if you are not 'yourself'.

nooka Wed 11-Dec-13 07:09:12

The earlier poster didn't say that there was no change, just that there was no sudden change (like Kevin's 13th birthday transformation). My teens are 13 and 14 so relatively recent, and I've not as yet seen anything suddenly different or out of character.

That's not to say that they aren't typical teens, they are in lots of ways, just that their behaviour isn't surprising given their characters. ds is often stroppy, combative and unreasonable, but then he always has been inclined that way. dd is mostly messy and emotional, with sudden flashes of temper and again none of this is really that new.

Some of the difference is that whereas when they were small it was easier to ignore the tantrums and messes, now they are as big as me it feels a bit different, both harder and easier.

I can't really answer the OP as although I've parented, and continue to parent in a style that suits me, and is relatively instinctive I don't think it's very similar to her style. Not sure whether there are defined parenting styles past babyhood though.

LineRunner Wed 11-Dec-13 07:13:19

You give them unconditional love, boundaries, and money.

And cross your fingers.

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