Stay Close to Your Tween/Teen by Being Direct

lightning flash against purple sky

Even though no one here is officially an adolescent, Hubby and I are already seeing some of the emotional storms that are common to that age. I’ll be the first to say that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing here…I think “winging it” is going to be the order of the decade.

I read a book a long time ago about preparing your kids for adulthood by arming them with as many facts as possible about the world and how it works. We’re cautious in what we say so as not to burden the boys with too many stresses, but we are direct and honest in our conversations. We want them to understand as much as possible so they make informed decisions as they grow and take over responsibility.

Since arming the boys with facts is helpful, I figure that telling them what to expect emotionally is a good idea too. So, when I get the opportunity, I make sure to tell them as clearly as possible things like:

  • many teens feel like their parents are stupid and don’t understand what they’re going through
  • adolescence is a time of idealism when the world seems really unfair
  • emotions are stronger now; it’s a normal part of development
  • you’re normal, you’re not alone, you’re normal

Is this working? Time will tell. We had family visiting all week and they just left yesterday. A few hours later, TechnoBoy was wandering the house complaining that there was nothing fun to do and no one fun to play with. I told him that he was feeling the “holiday letdown”, which happens when you have lots of fun and excitement for the holidays, then it ends, and you feel let down. Totally normal, not to worry.

The complaining and wandering stopped; I’m taking that as a good sign.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of tweens and teens.

Image courtesy of Blyzz via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Ajit March 24, 2010, 4:31 pm

    “many teens feel like their parents are stupid and don’t understand what they’re going through”

    This could be true and also not true. There are many parents out there that live with old values, and didn’t grow up the same way their kids are. They didn’t experience or have to deal with the same life they’re kids did. Without being out in the current real world they don’t know what’s normal and what’s old fashioned.

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    • Amy March 29, 2010, 12:06 am

      Ajit, Is it ever possible for kids and parents to have the same experiences anymore? I look at people in college today and am just awed at the extreme changes in the world over just the past 20 years. There’s no comparison between what I lived and what happens nowadays. At the same time, I do remember how certain situations felt and in those cases I can and do relate. So while my values are old-fashioned by current standards, I can still connect at the emotional level. I remember what rejection and insecurity feel like, for example. At the very least, we can meet there.

      Reply