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Parents of Teens, Past and Present. I have a question.

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XNASA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:30 PM
Original message
Parents of Teens, Past and Present. I have a question.
We have two teens in the house. They take up a lot of our energy. Here's my question:

Did you find that you really had to recommit yourselves to your teens those last couple of years? You know, make that final 'push' to help them over the top. Or did it all just evolve rather gracefully?

Let me explain. I think that we've always been committed to the boys, but for a few years was easy. They were independent and curious, but not old enough to really get into much trouble. But now that they're older and the issues are more mature in nature....I find that I really have to put a lot of time and effort into our relationships. Not that I mind, in fact I enjoy it a lot. But, I've had to put a lot of other things on hold. Our own social agenda, for example.

Any thoughts? Things are going great, I'm just curious.

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22181 Donating Member (215 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. How old are they?
If they're not actively getting into trouble, you may just need to sit them down and explain that it's getting to a point where you are going to have to trust them more. Set new boundaries with them, but start building your relationship on mutual adult-style trust. Not fully, but begin that transition.

Soon enough they'll be interacting with you more as adults/peers than as your children, especially after they leave home and truly gain a sense of independence, be it at college or elsewhere.

Explain to them that the new troubles they can get in have longer and more lasting consequences (drugs, sex, etc.) Make sure they know the longevity of those consequences too. Then at some point you have to kind of loosen up the reigns and see if they fly or just fall flat.

I might be totally on a different track than you're talking about, but just my 2 cents.
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XNASA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Our relationships are good, and we've done the things you suggest.
I just meant that, it seems like they need more guidance now than they did at anytime since they were about 7 or so. I didn't think that teens would require almost as much energy as toddlers did. I've loosened the reigns plenty, and am there to catch them if they fall, but find that I've also had to redouble my efforts. I was hoping that by this point, I'd be able to kick back a little. But I'm finding that it's still a lot of work.
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Divernan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Also, pick your battles.
As a dad with two sons, you're going to see a lot of them disagreeing with you for the sake of demonstrating their independence. I have a widower friend with two boys now 18 and 21. Starting at about age15, there was a lot of challenging by the boys of his authority and it is still going on. Having lost his wife, he seems to be trying to really hold on to the boys - to the extent of having them attend the local state college and live at home during their college years, even though their Mom left them $100,000 each for their college expenses. With three males the testosterone level can get lethal at times.

My kids (all now grown) rebelled with hair styles, clothes, and music. They all went through puberty before tatoos became so popular, of which I'm glad. One thing I did with my kids was tell them if they were ever somewhere/party/whatever and faced getting a ride home with a drunk driver, they could call me at any hour and get a ride home with no questions asked and no I-told-you-so's. That did happen a few times and I kept my word and told them I was really glad they called me and otherwise kept my mouth shut.

Make sure they know the health and legal consequences of unprotected sex; & drugs and alcohol; or what having a criminal record for shoplifting or other crimes kids can do to stop colleges from admitting them, or getting employment.

All that being said, kids are going to make mistakes - growing up is a learning experience - so give them some leeway and be there to pick up the pieces when necessary. Best of luck!
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ihaveaquestion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yes, mine did seem to need more attention
as they neared their "final" flight from the home nest. They needed more guidance and sometimes intervention than their early teen years. It was, however, less than their pre-teen period, which is when I discovered why some animals eat their young!

They are both gone to jobs and college and still needing some support, but these days they actually ask for my advice - sometimes. I must have done something right!
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MissMillie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:54 PM
Response to Original message
5. A misfortune brought about changes w/ my son & I
My son's dad died in January. Not that his dad ever saw him... in fact, the last time the two were together was almost 15 years ago.

But I think that Tim felt that all opportunities (for either reconcilliation or for the chance to tell his dad to go to hell, or whatever) were lost.

So I think my son has made a big push to make sure he didn't lose ANYTHING with me.

And as for me, I feel as though I only have the next 2 years with him (he'll be off to college, or the service, or whatever) so I don't mind putting other stuff off for now. There will be plenty of time for me after he's moved away.

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readmylips Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
6. As a single Mom, I kept my kids tremendously busy....
They participated in sports, extra school programs, community volunteering. When they got home from their activities, we only had time to eat (always at the table), discuss the day's events, homework, shower and sleep. It was the greatest time of my life. I may have put my adult social life on hold, but I never thought about it. I used my time to finish my college education, and spent endless fun hours at the library as a family. Our priorities for the future were very high. We only had ourselves to depend on. I always stressed self-respect above all. Think before you act. I also stressed that the consequences of our actions, good or bad, affected the whole family, our community and country, and to choose our actions wisely for the good of self and humanity.

My daughter went through wanting the Madonna look for a while. It didn't work for her. My son went through drinking himself silly. It was not fun cleaning up after himself.

Both my kids are lawyers. One in banking, one in civil law.

Damn...I was Damn Good.
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XNASA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I'm beginning to sense that those final few years do require...
A lot of time and effort. Fun time and effort well spent....but time and effort nonetheless.

Thanks. This has been very enlightening.
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
8. Yes
I have a 14 and 17 year old. I'm realizing that they actually do listen and this is close to my final chance to parent. I was ready to let go and focus on my own life but they need me right now.
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XNASA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Exactly.
This is what I'm finding too.

So close.......but yet, so far.
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
9. my 16-year-old daughter is great
and is very "low maintenance"

so far.

She'll start driving soon, so things may change a bit, but she is very thoughtful and a really good kid. easy to talk to.

My 10-year-old, on the other hand, thinks I'm a complete idiot and requires much mor effort to stay engaged with.
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