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 Ann for her very relatable ‘parenting my teens’ story.
Tell us a little bit about you and your teen/s:
I have three children, two now in their twenties and one teen. Two girls and a boy – definitely a huge difference between the sexes. My girls never stop talking and singing whereas my son has spoken mainly in monosyllables since age 10 (he’s now 17!). He wouldn’t pass the toddler speech assessment…
Describe your parenting style in three words:
Nourishment, nurture, neglect
Now ask your teen/s to describe your parenting style in three words!
Annoying, strict, supportive
How is parenting your teen/s now compared to when they were toddlers?
Similar in lots of ways – sleepless nights wondering when they will be home, are they ok, where are they? Better in lots of ways – they can say what they feel, if they feel like saying it. They like some of the things I do and I share a love of books and gossip with the girls.
What is your biggest parenting fail? Make us all feel better!
Wrong primary school for my eldest. She got over it and might forgive me one day…
And what are you most proud of as a parent?
Their achievements, them getting part time jobs, not going off the rails (that I know of!).
What has surprised you most about your teen/s?
They seem to like being with us (some of the time).
What’s your best trick to starting a conversation with your teen/s?
What would you like from Waitrose?
What do your teen/s say you do that embarrasses them most?
Texting – using emojis inappropriately. Asking questions at school events. Even thinking about complaining to the school/ teacher on their behalf.
And what do they think you say that either annoys them or encourages them the most – your choice!
Happiness is overrated! My favourite statement when I am saying no.
How did you approach the hard conversations – sex, porn, drugs and social media?
Don’t go there. They know my views. I have never followed / friended them on social media and don’t track them. I respect their privacy. We have general conversations when issues come up and have used diversionary tactics over the years. Had very rigid bedtimes, very strictly no devices ever in bedrooms, no tv’s in bedrooms, lots of boring country walks, sport, activities, trips, involved in the Church as children, which I think gave them a good moral template.
What/who has been the biggest influence on your parenting style?
My own parents. They were very strict early on, very liberal when we were older teenagers. I think it gives a good foundation for them to make sensible choices (most of the time).
Where do you think your teens will be in 10 years’ time?
Hopefully happily settled in healthy relationships and thinking of families of their own. Doesn’t matter where they are as long as we can keep in touch and they are ok.
Given what you know now, what would you do differently? Get a dog instead?!
Overall would probably do the same things, that have been hardwired into me. A dog would be nice as well, not instead.
We loved this! And we hope you did too.
You can find the earlier blogs from this series in the Parenting Teens section of our blog.
Louise & Anna x