Family therapy for teensI’m the proud mother of two incredible kids who are now ten and fourteen years old.  I like to share with you some of the parenting strategies that have gotten me through those infuriating moments as a parent.

Let Your Kids Have Their Feelings

The first lesson that I learned as a parent is that I had to get more comfortable with letting my kids have their feelings. Even when it’s messy or inconvenient, I had to learn to resist any urges that I might have to downplay or dismiss their complaints. And instead, just to let them have their feelings, make sure that I wasn’t taking them personally, and just roll with it. That is sometimes easier said than done. The last time that my fourteen-year-old, Oriel, was grounded, she refused to talk to me for three full days. It felt like three full months! But I recognized that her silent treatment was her way of letting me know that she was angry.  She was protesting her punishment and she was expressing herself in a very respectful, non-harmful way. So, I had to just let it run its course.

It Does Take a Village to Raise a Child

My second survival strategy is to utilize my village. I believe it takes a village to raise a child and I don’t have family that lives nearby. However, because I do spend more time with the kids than my husband does during the workweek, sometimes there will be friction going on between my daughter and I.  When that happens, I will intentionally “tag in” my parenting partner, my husband, and send him in to intervene with Oriel if there’s something that needs to be addressed.  That allows my relationship with her to cool off for a moment, while he has things covered. I also have a habit of keeping in touch with the parents of my children’s friends.  I’ve found it tremendously helpful over the years to get updates from them about things involving my kids, as well as to be able to contact them when there’s something concerning that the whole circle of friends is struggling with.  Mostly, just to have more eyes and ears watching out for the kids has been a really wonderful thing.

Therapy for Your Adolescent Can Help Immensely

It is, however, easier to raise kids that are happy and content, and more difficult to parent kids that are stressed out and struggling. It’s those stressed-out kiddos who tend to act out the most, so don’t forget about the part of your village that might involve therapy for your teen or your family, or some coaching for you as a parent.