Editor’s Note: *This is a tongue-in-cheek post about raising teens because this is hard
I have no idea why people say raising teenagers is so hard. It’s really quite simple.
You just need to make sure you let them have their independence but also have a strong set of rules and boundaries.
You need to supervise their education but don’t interfere too much. Check the parent portal, but not too much. Ensure your child is doing their school work, but not too much. Grades aren’t that important, but make sure they are trying their best.
Monitor what your teen is doing online, but don’t invade their privacy. Keep up with all the latest trends on YouTube and TikTok and Snapchat and every app that comes out each day. Set appropriate screen time limits even though most of their school work is now online.
Stay involved with your teen but let them fail.
Pick and choose your battles, but not that battle. Not that one, either. Maybe that battle, but you won’t know until later if you picked the right one.
Spend quality time with your teenager, but don’t force them to spend time with you. Don’t worry if they never want to spend time with you. That’s normal.
Teenagers absolutely need their sleep. Good luck getting them to go to bed. Or getting them out of bed in the morning. Also note, teens need to learn to get themselves out of bed in the morning and put themselves to bed at night.
Nutrition is super important, so make sure your teen has access to fruits and vegetables, but also don’t make what they eat a big deal. Ignore the 47 empty bags of Takis you found in their backpack and encourage healthy choices. Sour Patch Kids are practically a fruit.
Give your teen loads of grace, but also hold them accountable. Just make sure you are picking and choosing the right battles.
Keep talking to your kids about sex, drugs, social issues, online dangers, what to do in an active shooter situation, consent, their future, the environment, etc. Let them do the talking.
Make sure they are kind but know how to stand up for themselves. Teach them to respect authority but not succumb to it. Raise independent thinkers but don’t let them get too extreme. Learn how to fight for causes they believe in but don’t ruffle too many feathers.
Make sure they are well-rounded by participating in activities but also ensure they have plenty of downtime.
Don’t take your teen’s attitude personally. Remember you’re the grown-up. But don’t beat yourself up when you don’t act like the grown-up. You’re only human. Give yourself grace.
Love your kid exactly as they are, but make sure not to raise a jerk. Model good behavior even when your kid never wants to come out of their room. Make sure to spend quality time, but respect their privacy.
Encourage them to discover who they are but never comment on their clothing, hair, significant other, friends, activities, or any choice you disagree with at any time.
Try to enjoy every moment, even when your teen makes it hard. Why does it always feel hard when it looks so easy for everyone else?
Oh yeah, don’t forget to pick and choose your battles, but after you pick one you’ll probably realize you chose the wrong one. Again.
Don’t worry too much.
The kids will be fine as long as you do your best. Stay available and on their terms, but not too available. Don’t let them walk all over you.
All they need is love. And rules. And independence. And boundaries. And resilience. And confidence. And humility. And manners. And money.
And an education, unless they don’t want an education. Then they should find a trade but make sure you don’t push them in a certain direction. Make sure you let them chase their dreams but in a realistic way. Don’t worry if they don’t know what they want to do with their life but make sure they get a job out of college.
Help them, but don’t enable them. Support them but don’t coddle them. Be there, but make sure you’re not there too much.
Love them through it all.
See? I told you raising teenagers is easy.