Those Teenage Years

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.

10 thoughts on “Those Teenage Years

  1. Great post Nigel! We are right in the thick of it as we speak. Our girls are 13 and 14 but to be honest they’re actually really good. We don’t tend to get much bother from either of them. I think the laid back nature and free flowing household we live in helps. We tend to let them have plenty of their own space and let them make their own decisions, offering advice and options only.

    Finances and appreciation are the main problems we’ve noticed at the minute. Like you say, keeping up with their friends is expensive and getting them to appreciate what they have can be tricky at times. We’ve not quite reached the relationship/alcohol stage as yet, but as things are going I’m massively confident they’re prepared to embrace their teenage years positively.

    Parents that think the baby stage is hard, it doesn’t get easier! :/

  2. Nigel I love this post for its absolute honesty. You have hit the nail on the head more than once. The teenage years are certainly a roller coaster ride and it requires a whole different set of parenting skills to get through it and yes of course, having been one ourselves doesn’t make us qualified enough in the eyes of our teens. My son like yours is soon to hit 20 and I am finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. University and having to cope alone is the steepest learning curve for them and no doubt makes them appreciate us more and as you say realise that some of what we said makes sense. My journey with my daughter has been different. Yes there are some common similarities but girls are definitely more emotional – but then you don’t need me to tell you that. I know many dread these years but I have loved them. Thanks for linking with us over at TTB. #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. every child is of course very different, but I’m hoping that some of the things that didn’t go well with the oldest will have taught me some lessons for the next go around. At least that is what I tell myself. Its scary to think that our girls are now closer to being teenagers to newborns. How did that happen? #TTB

  4. It’s funny how our teens don’t believe we were also teenagers once upon a time! But then I realise I often forget what it felt like to be in that stage, so I feel that plenty of our arguments are because I am expecting them to behave and think like adults when actually they are still children in many ways. It’s definitely not easy to communicate with teens when you feel like you are talking to a wall but I know we just have to keep trying, and do it with empathy. #tweensteensbeyond

  5. I think you deserve a medal for good service at the end of the stint with the girls, Nige! Is there such a thing for services to parenting teens. There should be! Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

  6. What a wonderfully balanced post Nige and one that is so obviously written by someone who has ‘been there and done that’. The youngest of my three girls turned 13 last month so I’m on my last teenage experience. I couldn’t agree more about giving them the tools to keep themselves safe. It is simply not possible to ‘bet there’ all the time when they are teens, you have to put the groundwork in before you get to that stage and just hope for the best and be prepared to pick up the pieces! Thanks so much for sharing this fab post at #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. I’m currently parenting through the teenage years. I have one son who is 14 and the other is 9 so he’s not that far off either. It’s tough to say the least. Sometimes my eldest refuses to even acknowledge me, other times he is the sweetest boy. I only hope that he listens sometimes and avoids some mistakes. Fingers crossed.
    #TweensTeensBeyond

  8. Nodding my head while reading this. I have two teens and a tween. Totally agree with keeping the communication channel open. Can’t help smiling when I hear them repeat my advice. My words are getting through on some level. I do find the pressure that social media brings hard to handle at times, but I’m sure we’ll all make it through to the other side. #tweensteensbeyond

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