This post: Why I’m Vowing to Say “Yes” to My Teenager More This Summer
Written by: Marybeth Bock
“Hey Mom, can I spend the weekend at Kaylee’s house?” Sorry, no – we have your cousin’s birthday this Saturday.
“Is it okay if I drive some friends to the movies tomorrow night?” No, you still have another month before you can have that many people in the car with you.
“My friends and I want to drive to the beach over the long weekend. It’s not that far and I promise to be safe. Can I go?” No. You promised your dad you’d help him clean out the garage and I’d worry too much.”
No, no, no… always “no.”
Why I’m Vowing to Say “Yes” to My Teenager More This Summer
It rolls off our tongue almost too easily – especially during the school year when we’re trying to help our kids balance everything they have going on in their lives and keep them on the right track.
The worst part of it all is that our kids don’t realize that with EVERY decision we make, we have their very best interest at heart. That’s why it’s so hard when we hear them spout comments like, “You never let me do anything!” “You’re so controlling!” “All my friends get to do these things. Why won’t you let me?” or the worst one yet… “You’re ruining my life!”
While some things should never be up for negotiation, (including when our kid’s safety or the safety of someone else is at stake), there’s a whole lot we probably could say “yes” to but we don’t because we’re tired, frustrated, it’s just too much work, we haven’t given it enough thought or we let our own parenting fears or anxieties get in the way of loosening our grip on our kids. (Wouldn’t we all like to bubble-wrap our kids and keep them safe forever?)
Sure, we’re coming from a place of love and concern when we say, “no,” but it’s not doing our teens or our relationship with them much good. They need to hear us say “yes” far more often. That’s why this summer, I’m vowing to be a “yes” mom. (I mean within reason, of course.) Here are 5 reasons why I’m vowing to say “yes” to my kids a whole lot more this summer.
I Want to Encourage Their Independence
Has your son shown interest in traveling abroad? Has your daughter been dying to join a hiking club that travels to different states or has she asked you a million times if she can visit her grandparents across the country… alone? Well, summer is the perfect time for teenagers to stretch their legs a bit (age-appropriately, of course) and practice developing their independence and “adulting.”
Plus, you never know what that healthy dose of independence might spark in them. Maybe it will set your teen on a career path they never thought of or trigger a passion they never knew they had. So, give your teen the greenlight they crave to try a few new things this summer – you might be surprised to see how much they grow up right before your very eyes.
I Want Them to Feel as Though They Have More Control in Their Life
I remember being hesitant to let my daughter take on a summer job when she was in high school. The job she wanted to take was downtown, she was a new driver, and I knew the commute could be a little scary. I never voiced my fears. I simply prepared her the best I could and watched her grow up a whole lot that summer.
Sometimes, what teens really need is a chance to make their own decisions, to feel more in control of their life, and prove to themselves that they hold the power within to do things solo. Granting them more freedom and responsibility helps them not only build self-confidence but also important life skills they’ll carry with them forever.
I Want Them to “DO” Far More Than They “WATCH”
Who among us isn’t worried that our teens spend far too much time watching instead of actually doing? Kids today spend SO much time gaming, scrolling, and looking at quotes, videos, memes, and texts. Sure, it’s fine up to a point, but they’re missing out on so much. And, I think we can all agree it’s taking a toll on their social skills.
It’s harder during the school year, but summer brings our kids so many social opportunities. We need to be saying “yes” to parties, sleepovers, road trips, concerts, movie nights with friends, and camps. (It might even require a gentle shove to get them moving.) Not only will they be honing in on their (sometimes weak) social and communication skills, but they’ll be making precious memories they’ll cherish forever.
I Want Them To Go on Adventures, Explore, Travel, and Grow as a Person
Let’s give our teens the freedom to go and try and travel and explore and be adventurous and take (calculated) risks and, yep… fail miserably and learn from the consequences.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you let your teen do something reckless. Rather, just encourage them to step outside their comfort zone and try something new that might even be a little “crazy” for them.
Let them sign up for a summer away camp, hike a mountain with friends, take a cooking class, build a treehouse, foster a kitten, take a road trip with their uncle, or try out for a community theater group – anything that’s new and exciting and different!
I Know Saying “Yes” Will Strengthen Our Bond
When you’ve had to say “no” almost the entire school year, it really feels good to finally say” yes,” AND, all those yeses can really strengthen your bond with your teen. Plus, it opens the door to more communication with them. “Sure, you can do that, but here are a few things I need you to remember.” Or, “I love that you want to try that. What sparked your interest?” “Before I say yes to that, we need to agree on a few rules.”
Let’s vow to treat our kids like the adult they’re becoming, not the child they’re leaving behind – with respect, honesty, and (age-appropriate) freedom.
It can be downright scary saying yes, especially when it comes to things we think our kids aren’t quite ready for or that we have doubts about. But sometimes, we have to have faith that we’ve taught them well, that they’ll listen to our whispers of wisdom when the chips are down, and that everything really will be okay… because watching them soar is a beautiful thing!
Marybeth Bock, MPH, is Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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Why I’m vowing to say “yes” this summer… share your thoughts in our comments section below! What are YOU saying “yes” to this summer?