Parent corner: Being patient with teens

Not to steal from the great Bill Simmons, but I wanted to start my own parent corner of sorts. This blog started over 10 years ago based on the day-to-day of having little kids. Well, those kids got bigger and the entire parenting landscape changes once they are over 10.

It especially changes once they hit the teen years and for myself (and wife), this land of having a young adult is all very new.

And after a few years in, one thing for me anyways, is that I am learning to be patient. I am learning to ignore the voice in my head to help them figure it all out. I’m ignoring that skill you developed as a parent of young kids – you know, trying to stay ahead of any and all problems.

When your kid is little, you of course are going to use that Matrix like skill of seeing the future to stop any falls, bonks, or crushed feelings. That’s the job.

But as the kids get older, that same skill starts to work against you. Your teen does not appreciate it first and second, you are taking away the opportunity for the teen to figure it out and learn to deal.

It has been super hard for me to sit back and just let things happen. I want to help. I want to save the day. I want to avoid even the smallest disaster.

But I don’t. I bite my tongue when they leave for the day not dressed quite warm enough. I look the other way when they can’t figure out how to fit something in the freezer.

It’s very hard to do, but I am getting better at it.

Our 14 year old in particular is at the age of finding his way on a number of things, and for the most part, he’s doing a great job. He’s found his wings and in a few ways has left the nest.

As parents, it feels like we have moved into the feedback stage and problem solver when asked. They do still ask. Probably a last resort. But they ask.

Instead of giving our opinions and thoughts ahead of time, it has moved to giving opinions and feedback after the fact.

It’s different, but I think that’s how it goes now. It’s how independence is built. It’s how problem solving skills are built.

But I am pretty happy when they do come to me with a problem. I jump right on it and am way too excited to help. I think that’s when they say I’m too thirsty.

I also am finding this new period of sitting back and not being so involved hard because it gives me back a lot of time. Time I am still figuring out what to do with. For over a decade your brain is working around the clock to keep these little people safe, fed and happy. Then they don’t need it as much anymore.

So that is what I am working on. Flipping it back to how it was many, many years ago. My time.

So to summarize, I am learning to be patient with our teen and pre teen. They need to learn how to figure many things out without my bias or opinions. That’s how I recall childhood and I feel like that all worked out.

So when I suggest wearing a hat because it’s cold and I get a side eyed look of not a chance, I am not going to push it. I instead will do what all parents do. Wait for the teen to come home and complain how cold it was and circle back to the idea that maybe they wear a hat but will do their best not to give their parent a moment of told you so satisfaction.

Also, another key of being patient with your teen is finding the little things to laugh at.

I leave you with this.