I have arrived...
No one ever shares the experiences of parenting a teen in depth...only that it gets one star and is a "do not recommend", lol.
My goals have consistently been to reduce the amount of stress on my kids, always aiming to allow them enjoyment in the simplicities of childhood and putting effort in understanding how each of their persons are wired. While these have been beautiful initiatives as I see so much positive from the differences, I also see where I should've made some sharp turns but didn't because I feared the outcome of me and my children's relationships. Up to this point, so many choices have been made that directly reflect how I feel/felt about my upbringing.
What I've learned: Some things are just cut and dry AND they are evident when you become a teen parent!
I intend to conquer this uncharted territory and grow exponentially as a result! I have two more teens upcoming...send help, lol! Three initiatives we are hitting hard:
Back to basics
We are starting over!!! What is expected and required is going to be an intense round table discussion. Consistency in handling responsibilities will be a big bullet point. I find it helpful to remind your kids of the cause/effect of choices, the meaning behind processes and how these aid progressively in daily life. It's also important, during this time, that we remind our children WHO THEY ARE IN CHARACTER and HOW UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED THEY ARE by us. I consistently tell my children that I've been entrusted with the responsibility of cultivating 3 amazing human beings that will one day lead. I can't fail the World by failing them. (Nope, NOT gon' happen, NOT on purpose and NOT on my watch! -in "New-New, Celie, Iyanla" dialect ha, ha.) And right now, in these tender years, THEY ARE MY WORLD. I strongly desire to get it right.
One thing that I have always felt great about in my childhood is that my mother always made me accountable not only to her, but to God. Having accountability for my actions and how I treated others took her out of the equation as my main focus was to glorify him and ensure my beliefs lined up with my example. "Just because mom or dad said" won't be enough for every instance. God will carry them through adulthood and once you're no longer around, so initiating that relationship with accountability is a vital key that made a huge difference in my life.
CONSISTENCY FOLKS. Consequences require consistency!!! Don't talk unedifying smack about what you're "going to do". Strategize and plan effective ways to discipline. If you gave the consequence and it spans for a duration of time, DON'T give them time served for good behavior...follow it all the way out. I have been guilty of this and it has done nothing but shoot me in the foot at times. I learned that keeping my word, even in unfavorable times matters just as much as me keeping my promises. REMEMBER: This is all for their good so there's not separation of actions needed.
I'm in the trenches and learning so much. These three initiatives are really helping us navigate this new adventure. I hope this propels you forward and encourages you to survive "teen tings" one more day! Lol. We're all in this together!