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. 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 Jen for sharing her ‘parenting my teens’ story.
Tell us a little bit about you and your teen/s:
I’m Jen, a lettering artist from Hertfordshire. I have 2 teen boys only 18 months apart who couldn’t be more different than one another!
Describe your parenting style in three words:
Always in (a) rush!
Now ask your teen/s to describe your parenting style in three words!
Sorry, I couldn’t make out their muffled grumbles…
How is parenting your teen/s now compared to when they were toddlers?
Physically easier – mentally waaaaay tougher.
What is your biggest parenting fail? Make us all feel better!
Leisurely picking my son up from school for a long awaited dentist appointment at the actual time we had the appointment. And not realising until that actual moment.
I had to (ahem) blame heavy traffic for our delay.
Teen was most unimpressed at my utter disorganisation.
And what are you most proud of as a parent?
When the boys do something, achieve something, enjoy something they’ve worked really hard at doing, and when they show utter empathy for others.
What has surprised you most about your teen/s?
How uninterested in clothes they are. Most disappointing. I loved clothes shopping and finding my style when I was a teen.
What’s your best trick to starting a conversation with your teen/s?
Offer food/sweets/hot chocolate etc etc… they’ll succumb to most conversations with the lure (bribe) of that on offer. Except perhaps ‘how would you describe my parenting style…?!’
What do your teen/s say you do that embarrasses them most?
Probably if I ‘have to have words’ with them in ear-shot of anyone else. (Obviously I try not to do this, but there are times when its absolutely necessary!)
And what do they think you say that either annoys them or encourages them the most – your choice!
Every September at the start of the school year, I send them a card with one of my positive calligraphy quotes on the front. This year’s was ‘you are capable of wonderful things’.
I think they find it mildly embarrassing to be honest, but they do both still have the cards up on their shelves – and it’s way beyond September – so I like to think they do actually find my little messages encouraging too.
How did you approach the hard conversations – sex, porn, drugs and social media?
Always whilst doing something else! Driving, walking or cycling are great distractions!
What/who has been the biggest influence on your parenting style?
It must be my parents I guess, as it’s all I know!
Where do you think your teens will be in 10 years’ time?
Who knows, but hopefully happy in a more peaceful, less turbulent world than today.
Given what you know now, what would you do differently? Get a dog instead?!
Not fritter my money on swimming lessons – it’s much more fun learning together on holiday than schlepping to the pool every week on a wet, wintery Sunday morning.
And yeah, dogs are cute, but they never leave home – so definitely NOT!!!!
Thank you so much, Jen! Jen is a print and lettering artist specialising in modern brush calligraphy. We absolutely LOVE her calligraphy kits and often recommend them in our gift guides – they’re perfect for teens. We asked her to tell you all a little bit about her business:
“Using a variety to tools, from brushes and pens to dip-pen and digital, I sell my hand-lettered maps, calligraphy kits and vintage plates commercially through high street and online stores, as well as creating hand-lettered signage for weddings, events, and work on private commissions. I’m delighted to say have the pleasure of teaching a monthly brush calligraphy workshop in St Albans, Hertfordshire, as well as offering corporate online workshops and special calligraphy events at Christmas and throughout the year.”
If you’d like to read the earlier blogs from this series, you’ll find them all in the Parenting Teens section of our blog.
Louise & Anna x