As our children become teenagers, they naturally become more independent and interested in making their own decisions. We often have to allow them to learn from natural consequences and limit the amount of advice giving we once might have offered. This is a scary notion when our children are budding adults but still quite young and inexperienced. It is also scary because their consequences are much larger than they would have been as a toddler. Although they still rely on us for their physical needs such as meals and a roof over their head, they are less likely to rely on us for their emotional needs. This is completely normal for their development and our fear is also normal as a parent. So what are things you can do to keep your own sanity?
1. Allow your teens to make their own decisions, outside of life or death situations
2. Keep structure in your home (eating dinner together each night, curfews, family time)
3. Use two choices when appropriate so that you can feel good about either option they choose
4. Have your teens be involved in their community, either as a family or through a program so that they can keep perspective of the larger world around them
5. Develop some form of spirituality or religious practice
6. Develop or join a support group of other parents with children the same age
7. Journal: Writing down your experiences will allow you to notice when the problem might be them or the problem might be you.
8. Find hobbies outside of your teen so that you have independence outside of being their parent
9. Practice breathing a lot. the more we can be mindful and breath effectively, the less likely we will respond to our teens in an unhealthy manner
10.Find time each week to connect with your teen. It may not be something you are interested in but take interest in what they care about. 5 minutes of this each day will go a long way