Dealing with a teenager can be one of the most daunting parts of parenting. The general worry is that they will fall into the wrong crowd, finding themselves wrapped up in the world of drugs and teenage pregnancies. I'm here to try to help you see that it's not always the case and in actual fact you can all live under the same roof, get along and have a healthy relationship with your teen.
From my own experience with my 14 year old daughter, I've found the more I trust her, set clear rules and boundaries the more we have seen a much happier teen. She still pushes those rules and boundaries all the time, but I now understand that's part of growing into a young adult and it's perfectly normal behaviour. How we as parents deal with those emotions and hormones plays a huge part of our family life, promoting a positive attitude really does help. I stopped expecting the worst and started to give her some encouragement, positive guidance and the big one, influence. When she approached me with a problem I stopped the "I told you so" routine for more of a non-judgmental listening ear. Slowly but surely I started to see a difference to the dynamics of our family life just by praising her and being more open.
She was willing to be part of the team, she was talking to us like she wanted to be spoken to and it was having a knock on effect with her friends. She stopped falling out with them and took the role of mediator between them all. The time and effort we were putting into her was finally paying off. It wasn't an over night change, no part of parenting is ever that simple and we are still learning everyday, some situations we have to take a step back to let her make mistakes and some we have to intervene. It's all about balance, negotiation and trust.
We are very much a young at heart family, I pride myself on the fact I'm still "with it", that even if she thinks she's getting something past me, she can't. In actual fact we end up laughing because she knows I know. I find these days we laugh more than ever, we watch box sets together discussing the conspiracy theories afterwards, sometimes the programs are not really my cup of tea but I make the effort to be interested. Same for her taste in music, although I will add here I do love a bit of The 1975 and we can fan girl over Matty Healy together. We take her to festivals with us and it has become our thing, we sit as a family planning out what stages to be at what time, she's even seen me a little tipsy, she's never let me live it down mind you but we are open and honest and I love that about us.
We've really gone from thinking we were losing her to building a solid bond through positive parenting. Not all is lost just because they slam a door or sometimes have an attitude, we still get that all the time but the way you deal with those outbursts from the start will define your relationship. Totally irrational behaviour is natural when you think of the amount of hormones racing though their bodies, even with the strongest of supports in place they will still make mistakes, it's not the end of the world and it's certainly not a reflection of your parenting.
I can honestly say, I love having a teenager, her views of the world are passionate, her belief is strong and when she's not in the mirror or slamming a door she's got some good banter. Young people are to be celebrated, encouraged and guided. If you're having a few problems take the time to be interested in something they love, you might find yourself out of your comfort zone but really enjoying it. You're making a wonderful adult, be proud, they are so worth it.