We all love a peek into other people’s parenting. It can be much harder to find relatable stories when you have teens, though. We get that teens aren’t always quite so overjoyed to see their lives shared online, but there’s so much that’s positive, funny and wonderful about parenting teens. So we’ve decided to shout it out in this new series – we hope you really enjoy the answers to our ‘parenting teens Q&A’.
A huge thank you to Alex for our first ‘parenting my teens’ story.
Tell us a little bit about you and your teen/s:
I’m Alex, I’m an experienced florist and own Petalhead, making couture floral pieces for weddings and everyday life. My boys are 12 and 15 and have completely different characters! As an only child, I have found sibling dynamics through the years fascinating, tricky to manage and understand. My husband and I combine parenting and household chores fairly well – so our answers are the combination of our thoughts.
Describe your parenting style in three words:
Involved — relaxed — active
We like to travel to fun places such as the Canadian Rockies, India, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica, and have spent a lot of time just as the four of us on the road or at festivals. We tackle activities head on as a group even if I’m trailing them downhill on a mountain bike or skis, or not as far out the back on the surfboard!
Now ask your teen/s to describe your parenting style in three words!
When we asked the boys to describe our style, they said:
Balanced — capable — suspicious!
It’s true – we don’t tend to freak out much at their behaviour but haven’t had a reason to yet really and try to discuss any hiccups as they happen – perhaps this’ll change, and maybe that’s why I’m suspicious!
How is parenting your teen/s now compared to when they were toddlers?
So perhaps not as relaxed as we first thought… certainly I am much more relaxed than when they were little, I used to feel like I had to micro-manage things for them and, let’s face it, when you have toddlers you feel you need eyes in the back of your head and four arms. As my husband says, nowadays it’s much easier to parent from a practical point of view – we now just feel like umpires a lot of the time. We also find ourselves over-empathising with them over every similar incident that happened to us when we were teenagers!
What is your biggest parenting fail? Make us all feel better!
Aside from a few trips to A&E for the younger one (never for the older!), we haven’t had any massive parenting fails. In hindsight though, we should have got them helping with chores round the house at a younger age. We often felt it was quicker and more efficient to do it ourselves, and now its certainly hard to drum up enthusiasm for these things in teenagers! They do get a bit fed up of me labelling certain tasks as a ‘life skill’, but we now have a sort of mental family list of life skills developing – from scrambling eggs and making bolognese, to reversing a mini tractor and trailer.
And what are you most proud of as a parent?
We are proud of both boys – they are both extremely well-rounded and willing to try anything. They put the effort in (most of the time). They seem to attract great friendships and respect from their peers and teachers.
What has surprised you most about your teen/s?
What has surprised us is that how like us they are – and in equal measures, how unlike us they are!! It also constantly amazes me how long our youngest can spend in a onesie….
What do your teen/s say you do that embarrasses them most?
We are particularly embarrassing to them at the moment. Most things we do, from watching them at sporting fixtures to impromptu Vanilla Ice raps to simply dancing at festival, are frowned upon. However it doesn’t tend to stop us. We know that time goes quickly and we want them to realise that you can make a fool out of yourself and still be the same person and have the same respect from your friends. F also pointed out that he hates it when I ‘fake laugh’ when a photo is being taken of me – I’ve now realised I do that to make myself smile more attractively – at least it’s better than his grimace!
What/who has been the biggest influence on your parenting style?
Our own parents have been our biggest influence on our parenting style. Both sets of grandparents were born during or just after the World War II and while they are fairly well off, we have both inherited a good balance of living comfortably but not wasting anything, without the need to ‘flash the cash’. It’s most frustrating to the boys when they want the designer trainers or the newest games console, but there is a glimmer of ‘do I really need this?’ developing in them, and if they decide they do, they know they will have to wait until a birthday or earn it themselves.
Where do you think your teens will be in 10 years’ time?
We have no more idea where they will be in 10 years time than they do, although the eldest is enjoying Army CCF at the moment. The youngest would enjoy being a sports teacher. We will of course be happy to support them in whichever direction they take. As long as they wait for us at the bar at the bottom of the ski slope!
Thank you so much, Alex! We highly recommend that you give Alex a follow on Instagram. Her account is a wonderful mixture of beautiful flower images, fun and inspiration. You can find her at @petalheadflowers
Louise & Anna x