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 our ‘parenting my teens’ Q&A series is designed to help fill the gap and inspire parents of teens everywhere.
A massive thank you to Vicky for her entertaining ‘parenting my teens’ story.
Tell us a little bit about you and your teen/s:
When it comes to our relationship my Teen and I are a bit like the Gilmore Girls, but not as polished or famous… and definitely not so much takeaway food, although I could probably keep up with Lorelai when it comes to drinking coffee! We talk a lot about everything and her wellbeing is one of my top priorities (along with my own wellbeing) … she knows she can come to me with any problems (and she does). We are friends, but we also both understand that I’m her parent first and friend second… there is a line, there are rules and I will occasionally disagree with her ?
Describe your parenting style in three words:
Fair, Mindful and Encouraging
I feel that I’m fair, but can be firm if needed. Also, I try to live in the now as much as possible, being mindful of and grateful for each moment I get to spend with my daughter. I encourage her and I really believe she is capable of anything she puts her mind to.
Now ask your teen/s to describe your parenting style in three words!
Relatable, Understanding and Cool!
I’m glad my Teen thinks I’m relatable, I do try to be, that’s not always easy with a 32-year age gap! I do agree with her that I’m understanding, but I never thought she’d describe me as cool!
How is parenting your teen/s now compared to when they were toddlers?
Easier, a lot easier in some respects, I was a bit of a helicopter parent when she was younger, I worried a lot that she’d hurt herself so I was constantly chasing around after her. Of course, I still want to protect her now she’s older, but I tend to go with the flow more. The harder part comes with co-parenting; my Teen’s Dad and I divorced a few years back and we’ve never agreed when it comes to parenting styles, so it can be difficult finding a balance at times.
What is your biggest parenting fail? Make us all feel better!
Making sure I have time and the energy to do proper activities with her and not just mooch in front of the TV, with her on her phone.
And what are you most proud of as a parent?
How caring my daughter is, she won’t put up with people mistreating herself or others. She also knows her own mind and is able to confidently express her opinions without invalidating other people’s.
What has surprised you most about your teen/s?
How good she is at cooking! I was a total microwave queen up until the age of about 16, but she definitely enjoys creating new dishes for people to try.
What’s your best trick to starting a conversation with your teen/s?
I’m lucky, because I don’t use any tricks as such. My teen and I chat every day, sometimes about our day, about movies, books, art, boys! I’m not sure how long that will last, she’s 14 at the moment, but I’m really hoping we always feel able to talk to each other.
What do your teen/s say you do that embarrasses them most?
She absolutely hates it if I start singing in public, she says it’s ok for me to do that when she’s not around… but where’s the fun in that?!
And what do they think you say that either annoys them or encourages them the most – your choice!
Annoys: when I tell her to do her homework… especially homework that she doesn’t enjoy!
Encourages: when I tell her she is capable of anything she puts her mind too.
How did you approach the hard conversations – sex, porn, drugs and social media?
We always talk about topics when they become relevant, so it’s not always me approaching her, she also approaches me with questions that she has or when something is mentioned in the news or a TV show; we discuss it then. I’m a strong believer that good communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship, so I always try to be as open and honest as I can be, share my opinion and listen to her perspective… you don’t always have to agree to communicate well, the key is to keep that avenue open.
What/who has been the biggest influence on your parenting style?
I’ve always tried to parent her as I would like to be parented… I try to think back to how I was as a teenager; what would’ve influenced me and how I would have liked to have been spoken to and go from there.
Where do you think your teens will be in 10 years’ time?
I’m not sure where she’ll be… but I know she will be successful and hopefully happy in whatever she chooses to do.
Given what you know now, what would you do differently?
Nothing, if things hadn’t gone exactly as they did then I wouldn’t be who I am today and neither would my Teen. I’m a strong believer that any lessons we learn along the way support our growth.
Thank you so much, Vicky! Vicky is an illustrator and CR8FLness Guide. Follow her on Instagram here.
You can find the earlier blogs from this series in the Parenting Teens section of our blog.
Louise & Anna x