My JJ is now 13 and as tall as many kids 2 or 3 years older than him. He is also very intelligent, quite wise and great fun to be around. Yes there are the odd 'Kevin' (of Kevin and Perry fame) moments but generally he is a sound lad and will do what is asked of him.
Who knows if we have all the troublesome years ahead of us, maybe we are just getting away with it easy now and the future will be a nightmare but I won't start worrying about that just yet.
This morning I was musing on how cool JJ is and how much my husband and I like spending time with him, be that together or separately and it struck me that we must be doing OK in our parenting with JJ as we have far more laughs than arguments.
I bet you are doing a far better job of parenting your teen than you think as well. As parents we always seem to be tough on ourselves and it is often unjustified, so here is a list of twelve signs that you are doing great at parenting your teenager.
- They let you in their bedroom when you respect their privacy and set boundaries. It's so important to chat to your teen and agree how you will allow them to have privacy and what you need full access to to keep them safe.
- You want to spend time with them. I think my husband is overjoyed now JJ is old enough to go to the cinema on the evening, as it means if we don't have a babysitter then he can still get out after a hard weeks work.
- You share more laughter than arguments. Yes I am sure JJ finds me completely embarrassing as I do come out with some stupid stuff but I know to keep my silly antics for inside our house as he can then still enjoy them and laugh along with me without being embarrassed in front of his friends.
- They talk to you. It doesn't matter what your teen talks about but the fact they are willing to start a conversation and that you are listening is so important to them.
- They listen. When you need to talk to them about something serious they listen and know that you have their best interests at heart
- They choose to come into the lounge or kitchen and spend time with you. I have to be honest and say it is often at the moment inconvenient times that JJ comes to see me. I'm in the kitchen cutting raw chicken and all of a sudden he is there telling me about something that happened at school. Or it gets to 9pm and I am dead tired and about to have a quiet hours TV before bed and he brings his duvet down and sits next to me and proceeds to talk the whole way through the programme. I have to take myself in check and remember this is golden and may not happen forever.
- When you are in the car together, there is chatter and they are not just constantly on their phone. The car is my key place to bring up embarrassing or difficult conversations as they can't escape. Just the other day we had a good conversation about sexting and how the laws around child pornography have changed.
- They choose to help you. It might be at first that they resist when you ask them to undertake chores but we've found that with time JJ actually loves some of the things he does, like cooking dinner. Of course it also helps that he earns tech time with his efforts.
- They do (most) of their homework without being asked or chased by you
- They are happy to come and eat dinner with you as a family. Dinner at our house is always without gadgets, its only 30 minutes or so after all and we chat about our days. The kids even know what I might ask now and start the conversation. 'What was the best part of your day?', 'How where you kind?' etc
- They are willing to do something selfless. As I've already mentioned JJ earns time for many jobs he does, so when he helps his sisters with their homework he knows here is something in it for him but when he volunteers (fortnightly) at the local Food Bank warehouse this is purely because he wants to help someone else.
- They are planning for their future. Research shows that when a teenager has plans for the future they are less likely to engage in risky behaviour that might jeopardise those plans. So encourage your children to dream big.
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