Let It Be


Understanding some tips to giving your kids space as they become teenagers.


Trust your kids.

This sounds easy, right.  When asked, “ do you trust your kids?”,  we are all quick to answer, “of course I do..  Then we stop and think about what we were doing between the ages of 14-17, and it probably makes most of you think twice. about being so trusting.   I know it does so for me.  I have good kids, I too was a good kids, but I definitely did my share of dumb things. Instead of not letting them out of my sight or wanting to keep them in a bubble, I try and remember that at the end of the day, they have good heads on their shoulders, just like I did, and I remind myself to trust them.  I make that statement with my eyes wide open, knowing that they will also do their share of stupid things, it is the teenagers’ right of passage.  As long as I can trust them, and they know this, things work fairly smooth in our home. 

Stop talking and listen.

This does not come very natural to me.  I am a talker by nature and especially with my kids, I want to know what is going on with them.  I want to know about their day, their friends, their classes, and everything else that they absolutely DO NOT want to tell me anymore.  This hurts as a mom, but I  to realize (with a lot of help from other mom’s in the same boat), it has nothing to do with me.  This is normal, and my kids still love me and they will come back around!  Now that I have accepted that, it is easier to ask fewer questions, and when I do this, they actually talk a little more.  Not  a lot, but I will take what i can get.  When I think back to being in middle school and high school the last thing I felt like doing was having a long conversation with my mom!   Now, we talk multiple times a day.  I know that isn’t true for everyone, but chatting it up with your parent’s during the high school year’s most certainly isn’t the norm.

Give them space.

I am probably speaking for most teenager’s when I say they live in their bedroom.  In my house it seemed to have happened overnight.  We all used to hang out on the couch, and then one day, I looked around, and there I was, alone on the couch.  Luckily, we still have some shows that we like to watch together so we do spend a little quality  time, but I think it is hard for parent’s, myself included, especially when you are a single parent and have limited time with your children.  But, this is what they are supposed to be doing.   They are supposed to separate from us in this way, find their own space, under the comfort of our roof.  It doesn’t matter that we have limited time with them, our divorce isn’t “their issue”, they are living their teenage years and this is what the majority of kids do.  They ignore us.  It isn’t to be mean, but they are growing as individuals, in a secure and safe space.  At times, it can come off as if all they want from us is food and shelter, but if we give them space, again, I believe they do come back around.  

Don’t  stoop to their adolescent level of communication.

When my teenagers roll their eyes at me, or snap back with a rude, condescending response, it takes everything I have to not rebuke with a “adolescent” quip of my own.  It has taken me a bit of work and some patience to stop myself and remember, I am the parent, I need to act like it, even in those moments when I feel like snapping back.  Sometimes my feeling get hurt and I regress to the wounded child of my middle school years who is getting made fun of.  I literally laugh in my own head lately and remind myself that I gave birth to these teenagers who are speaking their own language and I cannot take it personally or stoop the their level of badgering.

Don’t take their comments personally.

See the paragraph above.  This is the same concept.  Whatever mean comment they decide to make, or clothing or hairstyle they decide to make fun of, that comes with the territory.  It will pass, these teenagers will come back to us and be the sweet kids we have always known.  But, for now, we can’t take their rude comments personally.  This one is still a work in progress for me.

Let them be...

What does this mean?  Let them be?  How do we do that?  We have to worry about them, hover over them, manage their plans, give our opinions, etc.  Well, actually, I have been advised, and actually been putting it into practice that the more we let them be, the greater their self esteem will sore.  It seems counter-intutive and extremely difficult, especially for us  “mom’s”, but I challenge you to try it and your teenagers will appreciate it and appreciate you!

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My name is Lori Cooper.  I am a life coach specializiing in divorce.  Please visit my website at loricoopercoaching.com to learn more about me or email me at loricoopercoaching@gmail.com for a free consultation.