My teen has been gone for eight days and it feels like months. She arrives home tonight by train and it can't come fast enough for me. I miss her. I truly do.
This is the same child who wouldn't leave my side just two years ago. Now she is venturing off with confidence and joy.
If we let children be who they are, and allow them to grow in their own way and in their own time, they become filled with self-assurance and are not afraid to take risks.
She went by train to Washington D.C. and Virginia with her friend, the older brother and the dad. She had a fantastic time. We texted, we talked and I always got that beep on my phone late at night just before I went to sleep saying good night, love you :)
This house isn't the same. And my other teen has been gone a day here, two days there and this house is way too quiet and my life seems to be in limbo.
Believe me, I love having my own time, and I like quiet now and then, but I find I can have that anyway WITH them HERE.
I LOVE my teens.
My thoughts go to those parents who constantly complain about their teens and who don't *know* them and who treat them with negative energy. Those parents who have no relationship at all with their teens and tell them "at 18 you're outta here!"
It makes me sad. It makes me sad to know what they are missing. . . how life with teens *can* be if only they would give it a chance.
Nothing is more important to me than the relationship with my children. Once you focus on the relationship, all of life falls into place . . . with peace and joy and love.
How to have a real relationship with a teen:
~Respect them for the unique individual that they are. Respect their person, their thoughts, their space, their actions, etc. Do not say something to them you would not say to another adult or friend. They deserve the same
~ Find one on one time, even if it's a short drive to the store, out for an ice cream, or pulling up a chair in their room. They still need us and want us and it is valuable to keep communication open for all.
~ Ask questions about their interests, even if you think you are not that interested. There is good in everything. Your child is interested,and you care about your child, right? Becoming interested in how they fill their times makes them feel more valued ,more worthwhile. You are showing you do care. And you will learn something yourself
~ Trust that they do know what they are doing. Bite your tongue. and let them fail. You are letting them know it is OK to take risks. We learn from every mistake. Tell them you are always here for them, no matter what., and will always offer guidance should they need it.
~ Tell them you love them often. . via words, a text, a smile, a hug, etc. Sure they know you love them. . .but do they really??? They need to hear it and hear it often.
~ Say yes or be positive as much as possible. Yes you can have that, yes you can do that., yes I will give you a ride, yes they can come over, Well we can't afford that right now but let's see what we can do about it? It models positive living and problem solving that can last a lifetime.
~ Saying things like" I miss you, will you be finished with that game soon? I'd like us to spend some time together, will you be off the computer soon?" instead of an authoritative "Get off right now!" or limit their time doing what they love. How would you like controls on your likes and creativity?
~ Do not compare them to anyone else. They are who they are. Rejoice in them and love them unconditionally. Search for all their goodness.
~ Realize that they are at a tough time in their lives, an in between a child and adult, on their journey to adulthood. Go against the bad rap society gives to the teenage years and trust them and allow free expression to let them find their place in the world. Help them to be the best they can be with freedom and choice and respect.