Two of my children are no longer teenagers and do I miss those days of indecision, hormones and being told, “Dad! You don’t understand!” As if I was never a teenager, which if I’m honest initially would annoy the hell out of me, but I got to the point where it simply went over my head. Do I miss them not a chance!
My son is 19 years old and is gradually coming out of those teenager years where you are full of angst and the temperament is like a rollercoaster ride. He turns 20 next March, by which time I’m hoping he will have settled down and be less prone to the teenage moods.
This all got me thinking that in just six short years I will be back with the teenage years all over again, but this time it will be a double whammy with twin girls! Will I have learnt anything from my older children going through their teenage years? I’m hoping I have, but time of course will tell.
I’m not sure if girls or boys are better or worse when it comes to the teenage years. It’s actually very much the same as far as the hormones go in terms of running riot! We definitely as a society think it’s worse for girls, but in my opinion boys suffer just as badly, especially in the world of peer pressure that teenagers are constantly under either via social media or friends.
I have now, as I have said, got two children through those teenage years, hopefully unscathed and prepared for adulthood. There of course is no secret formula to guiding your children through the ages of 13 to 19 years of age, but they are tough years and your guidance and advice is vital to help them. They may tell you that you are talking rubbish every single day during those teenage years, but I have now realised that some of what I said, they did actually hear. If they used any of it, well that’s another matter!
Social media now plays a huge part in a teenagers life and it can be so dangerous if you have not sat down with them and educated them that a lot of what they see on social media is fake, it’s not real life. In fact I have come to the conclusion that social media, and in particular Instagram is just one big advert. A large percentage of photos on Instagram are all followed by #ad and it seems to me people will post just about anything so they get paid for a truly fake advert.
Peer pressure during the teenage years is enormous nowadays, but who is to blame? It’s parents, because it takes just one parent to start a fashion by buying a very expensive piece of technology or the latest trainers before your teenagers are nagging you constantly for the exactly the same item. I fully understand they need to feel they will fit in amongst their friends, but this is at such a huge financial cost to parents.
Bullying is also without a doubt alive and kicking, not only online, but also in the playground. We need to give our teenagers the tools to able to deal with bullies. For me the answer is simple. Talk to your children, engage with them, and don’t be judgemental, and as I have found they will open up to you, so take the time to talk to them. It solves so many problems that your teenage children are having.
Drugs and alcohol, there is no doubt all three of my older children have dabbled in both, and it really is something that you will have little control over mostly because it will be done away from the home and the situation is taken out of your hands. I educated them from an early age about the dangers and hopefully some of my advice was taken on board. Thankfully none of them are junkies or alcoholics so I guess they were listening.
Sex is also another minefield. Personally I was never shy to discuss it, and it’s so important to be very open about sex. The one thing I always said was practice safe sex. It doesn’t matter how often it happens just make sure it is done safely.
Being a teenager has never been easy. We are constantly changing our minds with what we want to do with our lives. Trying to fit in with friends and find ourselves is hard, so at times you have to give your teenage children space to grow and find themselves. It’s not easy and today it’s harder than ever. The pressures on kids to succeed is tougher than ever.
Having a go at your teenage sons and daughters because they won’t conform to what you expect of them or how society tries to dictate the way they should behave in my opinion is a sure way to send them off the rails.
So I have about six years to go before my twin girls become teenagers. Will my experience of having raised three teenagers help? Well a little bit maybe, but I will still get it very wrong at times.
Have you raised your children through their teenage years? How did go? Are you dreading your children becoming teenagers in the next few years? I would love to hear your thoughts.