This post: Don’t Worry Parents, Your Teen Will Thank You One Day
Can we all agree that parenting teenagers is damn hard? Not to negate the difficulty of parenting kids at any other stage of their lives, but parenting teenagers brings a whole new level of difficulty that throws most parents for a loop.
Suddenly, the sweet, accommodating child you thought you once knew is now moody, sensitive, sassy and sometimes, rebellious.
Suddenly, the stakes are much higher and the decisions they make have potentially life-altering implications.
Suddenly, they’re fighting for more independence while you’re clinging to any hint of parental control.
Suddenly, your parenting skills are put to the ultimate test.
What makes it particularly hard is that, despite how much effort you’re putting in to keep your kids safe and on the right path in life, (not to mention the long days, sleepless nights and endless worries), oftentimes, they just don’t “get it.”
Despite the structure you’ve tried so hard to put in their lives and the endless nuggets of parental wisdom you share to help them become kind, compassionate, decent, hard-working human beings who can actually make a contribution to this world, you never get a pat on the back.
No “Hey mom, I just want to thank you for helping me be responsible by giving me chores.” Or “I really want to thank you for giving me a curfew. It’s keeping me out of trouble.” Or maybe even an “I’m glad you’re keeping such close tabs on me, Dad. I need that direction in my life right now.”
The bottom line is, parenting is a thankless job.
But, coming from a parent who muddled through (most of) the sometimes unrewarding, thankless teen years with my kids, (don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of good along the way, too) have faith in knowing that your efforts will pay off. You will see the fruits of your labor. And, your teen will thank you one day. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not even next year, but one day, when you least expect it, your child will look you in the eye and say, “thank you.”
Don’t Worry Parents, Your Teen Will Thank You One Day
#1 For Setting Boundaries (Even When They Fought You)
Limiting screen time, giving them a curfew or making them do chores on a Saturday afternoon – regardless of the boundaries you’re setting, take comfort in knowing that one day every boundary you’ve set will one day make perfect sense to your teen.
Not only are those boundaries building a foundation, keeping your child safe and teaching them the value of responsibility and accountability, but those boundaries will also one day help your teen take their place in society knowing that there are consequences to their words, behavior and actions.
#2 Giving Them the Freedom to Figure Out a Few Things on Their Own
One of the toughest things you’ve likely done as a parent is to let your kids stumble (from time to time) and learn to figure out a few things on their own. Even when your kids were pleading with you to help them out, deep down inside you knew the value of them learning how to fend for themselves.
Seeing our kids struggle isn’t easy, but your teen will thank you one day or pushing them out of their comfort zone, helping them build confidence in themselves by doing things they didn’t think they were capable of and for helping them realize the “high” of working toward something and achieving it completely on their own.
#3 Teaching Them Manners
Since your kids were toddlers, you’ve been teaching them to chew with their mouths closed and reminding them to say “please” and “thank you.” And, now that they’re teenagers, you’ve stepped up your manners game and you’re reminding them to look people in the eye, the importance of a firm handshake and the value of conducting proper introductions.
Even though they may roll their eyes when you toss out those reminders, one day, when they’re in an interview for a big job, out to lunch with their boss or meeting their girlfriend or boyfriend’s parents for the first time, they’re going to thank you for teaching them a few important mannerly skills on how to conduct themselves and make a great impression.
#4 Not Losing Site of Your Family Values
Whether you have a few annual family traditions your family loves, you’ve put a high priority on family dinners, or you’ve made a steadfast commitment to attend church together every week, those family values are not only articulating the priorities and belief system your family holds dear, they’re also serving as a moral compass for your kids.
No… your kids may not always act eager to do things with the family. In fact, there might be times they fight you and act hopelessly miserable when you’re together. But, when they get older and look back on the effort you put into keeping your family close and the many memories you’ve shared, they’ll not only thank you, they’ll likely carry those same values and traditions over to their own family when they become a parent.
#5 Being Present in Their Lives
You’ve been at every game, every recital and every tournament. You’ve been there on their good days, their bad days and every day in between. You’ve been part of their lives when it’s been easy and even when it’s been hard. You’ve been their biggest cheerleader, their biggest supporter and a shoulder to lean on when life got hard.
Even though it seems as though they’re taking your unwavering, day-in-and-day-out presence for granted, one day they’ll look you in the eye and thank you for never leaving their side.
#6 How to Bounce Back When Life Gets Hard
Life is sometimes just plain hard. Failing an exam they studied hard for, being passed over for a job or losing a game their team fought hard to win are huge letdowns for your teen. Rather than allowing them to wallow in their hardship and blame others for life’s many pitfalls, you’re teaching them that rejection, failure and unfairness are part of life.
While there’s a good chance you may not get a pat on the back for this one anytime soon, there will eventually come a day when they realize you taught them a thing or two about resilience and the art of continuing to swing when life throws them curveballs.
#7 How to Speak Their Mind (The Right Way)
Having the confidence to speak their mind. Having the guts to take a stance when they see wrong. How to manage an argument with respect, humility and grace. Knowing what to say, when to say it, how to say it and to whom to say it is something that doesn’t always come easy (in fact, a lot of adults haven’t mastered this).
But, trust me on this one, your commitment to teaching your teen how to communicate and speak their mind (the right way) will pay off in the long run – even if your teen doesn’t recognize this for a few years to come.
#8 How to Build Meaningful Relationships
How to be a good friend, how to be a great girlfriend or boyfriend, how to give and take, listen, apologize, empathize and build meaningful close relationships in life is something you’ve been teaching your kids since they were toddlers.
The ability to develop real connections with human beings isn’t something our kids are necessarily born with. It’s a skill that must be taught. Take stock in knowing that one day your child will thank you for teaching them the value of caring enough to commit to a relationship and holding themselves accountable to cultivate and nurture long-lasting relationships.
#9 Teaching Them the Value of a Dollar
Whether it’s a new bicycle, a new cellphone or a down payment on a new car – encouraging your child to set their sites on something they want, working hard for it, saving for it and finally purchasing it is teaching them an important life skill.
Even though they would much rather you make it easy and fork out the money for them, learning the value of a dollar (along with a few financial and investment tips) is a skill they’ll carry with them the rest of their life – even if they don’t appreciate your reasoning or rationale, just yet.
Parenting your teenager may be the most challenging job you’ve ever had in your life. But, your teen will thank you one day and it will make everything you’ve done, every decision you’ve made, every boundary you’ve set and every battle you’ve endured so very well worth it.
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