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The Struggle Of Parenting Teens: I Am An Adult Now! Where’s My Easter Basket?

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

Sassy teen
Middle school can turn your sweet pumpkin pie into a big slice of hormonal sassiness that you DO NOT recognize.

Those of us with tweens and teens know what it's like to feel like you are not needed for anything more than a ride to a friend’s house or to make sure that their favorite pair of jeans are ready for the big game on Friday night.

The tug and pull of this time can leave parents feeling like we have a horrific case of whiplash. That tug of war game is even more confusing when parents try to navigate the world of the school system with their young adults. This post will help you to set boundaries for both your children and yourself.

It's important that you get involved with your child’s education long before the first day of preschool and stay involved throughout their high school years.

During the middle and high school years it may seem like our children have blossomed into young adults and do not need our guidance anymore. These years of development are actually crucial and it's during these time our blossoming young adults need us most.

They will be coming up on some hard decisions. New friendships, driving, dating, sex, drugs, alcohol, college, career choices, are some life changing decisions that they will be faced with.

If parents are not there to help guide them, someone else will! That someone else may not have your child’s best interest in mind.

What is a parent to do when their child is screaming “I don’t want you at the dance” but all you want to do is make sure they are safe and protected?

I hope that the ideas below will help ease your mind that you can do this and you and your precious princess/ prince will survive yet another day to argue over dirty socks.

Teenager with dirty laundry
Cartoon created by Scott and Borgman

The middle school aliens

Yep middle school can turn your sweet pumpkin pie into a big slice of hormonal sassiness that you do not recognize.

One day they are hugging you and so proud of you, then without notice, you have to drop them off a mile from their friend’s house so you do not embarrass them.

Yes our young adults go from someone we know everything about to aliens in a matter of mere minutes.

It may not be much comfort but it's natural and normal. As parents, we need to not give in to the urge to run screaming for our lives and dig in and be the strong guiding force that they can depend on. Regardless they admit it or not, this is what they need during this time.

The hard work

• Always remember to include your young adult in on major decisions that affect them. Sit down at the table (no phones, no television) and talk to them about updating the rules. This is a perfect time to update bedtime, curfew times, social media time limits, whether they are allowed to have their own accounts (if so you should have complete access to them and all passwords). By including your child in this process gives them a sense of power over their lives. It shows them that you trust them, and that you want their input. That you value them and who they are becoming.

• Go into the school. Meet the teachers and the administration. Make sure you have emails to stay in contact with each of them. They will be your ears and eyes for seven hours a day and knowing the staff will help if problems arise. You want to have an open dialog with them. Attend PTSA meetings, join your schools Student Based Decision Making team, if you are able go on at least one field trip a year, or Chaperon one dance a year. This will give you a whole new insight to who their friends are and what they face every day at school.

• Do not give in to the temper tantrums. Like when they were two and three and would throw themselves down because they wanted candy at Walmart, your middle and high school student will throw major tantrums such as “I hate you” “you are running my life” "I wish you weren’t my mom/dad " and then SLAM goes the door. Or the silent treatment is more their style and freeze you out of their lives. As parents, we tend to forget that teens are not the only ones who throw such tantrums. UM!? Road rage! Or how about the person who has been waiting in the store line longer than they think is reasonable.

It's important that parents keep some semblance of control and deal with each problem as it arises, with love, structure and with the intention of helping your teen grow.

• BE THERE!! There's no better way to parent than to be present. At home, at school, with hobbies, sports, friends, social media, etc.… be there and be present. Learn to be in the moment with your child and you will get to watch that child grow into a strong adult.

Please know that you are not alone in this!

Please remember that we are always here to help you through whatever life throws at you.

Thank you for the privilege being a part of your day.


Cheryl Gilbert is a LMFT in the state of Kentucky. To find out all about her click here.

Live. Life. Balanced.Today is a blog written by licensed marriage and family therapists.

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