parents and children sillouette“Thanks Mom!”  “You’re the best!”  “Great idea, Mom!”  “Can I help you?”

I’m sure these are things you hear your teens say to you ALL THE TIME, right? After all, teenagers are known for their selfless awareness of others’ feelings and their intuitive ability to meet others’ needs. Not to mention their great judgment and wisdom.

In case you didn’t catch the sarcasm, it’s rare (but not unheard of) for teenagers to realize that parents, moms in particular, have feelings.  So, for those of us who aren’t blessed with the unusually altruistic high schooler, how do we survive these years when our efforts and emotions don’t seem to be noticed?

Since I’m trying to answer that question myself.  I can’t say that I have the answer.  But, I have a few strategies that have been given to me that I thought I’d share.

Don’t Forget To Keep Teaching-Sometimes as our children grow and change into teens we forget that they still need us to teach them.  Teaching your children how to behave with each other is important but so is teaching them how to behave with you!  For example, I’ve been known to say to my kids, “This is when you say, ‘Thanks Mom!  You’re the greatest mom in the world!’”  It puts a humorous twist on a reprimand but makes the point all the same.

Don’t Forget Boundaries-That goes for their boundaries as well as yours.  Just because you changed their diapers doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a little privacy.   Be aware of how and where you offer your guidance or reprimands.  In other words, don’t reprimand your kids about their behavior (or their rash!) in front of the world.  Give them a chance to save face by finding a private moment to talk to them.  In the same way, remember to communicate your boundaries with your teen.  Let them know when a comment goes too far or what level of privacy you expect.

Don’t Forget to Communicate-Sometimes teens are thoughtless and don’t know that their words or actions are hurtful.  Tell them (without yelling) that they hurt your feelings and explain why.  If their behavior isn’t what you’d like it to be, communicate it to them in specific ways.  “It hurts my feelings when you don’t acknowledge me when I speak to you.  It makes me feel unimportant. Please say ‘Hi Mom ‘and look up when I walk in.” Make sure you stick to one issue at a time, though.  No need to overwhelm them!

Don’t Give Up-Parenting teens is a time of transition for both parent and teen.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the changes that are going on under your roof.  Hang in there and keep trying.  Even a failed attempt is better than no attempt at all.

How do you approach challenges with your teen?

Copyright 2014 Laura B Nelson