Photo credit: woodleywonderworks / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Life is tough, parenting is tougher. And having teenagers might be the toughest. Well, I can say that in my own experience at least. Lately, having boys ages 16 and 13 has been more than most of us bargained for or expected, and it brings about a wide range of emotional responses.
When your kids mess up, I think one of the first things we do is blame ourselves. We think, ‘what could we have done as parents to prevent this from happening’ or ‘this must be the result of me being a bad parent in some way.’ Even if there isn’t much justification for feeling this way, it’s normal and isn’t easy to deal with.
And part of the cycle can also include how you think other parents perceive you. If your kid gets in trouble at school, it’s pretty easy to feel like the teachers are quietly judging your parenting skills in their spare time. There is no easy remedy for this vicious cycle, as a parent you try to be better, while at the same time realize that the older your kids get, the more difficult it is to control and influence their behavior.
But I will say that there is a solution. It’s not something that will make you completely immune to the cycle and the feelings I’ve described above, and it certainly won’t make your kids behave better, but it’s one that helps, trust me.
During the past week, I’ve had two different people, that know our family in totally different capacities go out of their way to compliment our children and our parenting skills. Each one was after spending a couple hours around us all, when our kids were really just being themselves. We know they have it in them, but it’s incredibly encouraging to hear it from others, especially when they don’t know the tough things that we are going through.
So what I want to get across here is that it’s never a bad time to encourage other parents. If you see them doing something right, or just recognize that their kids are easy to be around, tell them, sometimes the timing can be perfect.