Teenage years can be the hardest part of being a parent. When your kids are younger, you’ve got a few years to learn the ropes before they can express how they feel about your choices!

Then there are a bunch of years that hopefully you allow them to have a say in how they spend their time, what they wear and who they hang out with, even though you still get to step in and guide them.

Then… the teenage years, starting about 12 perhaps, kick in and everyone is thrown through the loop!

All of a sudden you have your changing and growing ‘child’ to work with. They are more opinionated, more dismissive, more vocal (or not) about their feelings and all of a sudden, the once level playing field resembles a mine field!

Any of this sound familiar?

I wanted to give you a different take on things as the advice that I’ve been reading and hearing fills me with a certain level of doom and gloom.

When your outlook feels like you’ve lost the battle already, then quite frankly, nobody stands a chance – and then throw in some covid confinement and messed up school schedule too just for fun and we’re all looking at a destiny of mental health worries and big therapy bills.

I wanted to give you a new alternative. Some of this may be obvious, but it isn’t standard or accepted practise – I assure you. You’ll still be in a small minority if you can adopt any of these parenting methods.

Here goes… 5 ways you can skip through the teenage years instead of kicking and screaming all the way to University (or not depending on your child and the future of University!)

  1. Remember how sweet your teenager, who may be as tall or taller than you now, used to be. They are still the same person. Love them as much as you did when they were tiny and cute – and show them that too. When they speak back to you, or object to something, or just grunt (lol) listen to them as you would have done when they were tiny and had a squeakier voice!
  2. Drop or at least hold and suspend your judgement. No one wants to be judged – especially by people they need to be able to rely on. If their shorts are too short, or shirts to tight, or hair too long – they’ll live. What will damage them more is your criticism. Look back to your teenage photos. I guarantee you’re not going to be proud of all of them!
  3. Let them have a little more responsibility and freedom. Not because they’ve fought for it, but because you believe they are responsible enough to handle it. They have so many limits and restrictions on them now because of covid that they probably have never been more limited. It must be really hard being a teenager and living through 2020. Ease up and take some pressure off them.
  4. Realise that this year may be the perfect time to try a more relaxed style of parenting, letting a few standards or expectations relax. We are going through a monumental shift in society. Think how many industrialized ways of being are breaking down – University being online, working from home, home schooling being adopted as an acceptable option and even outdoor sport with no spectators to mention a few.
  5. See your children as the future – your teachers. What can you learn from your kids? Any teenager in your house is probably quicker to adopt technology than you, or able to help you with a phone issue, maybe to install a new printer or software in half the time it would take you.

Working with these tips has helped many of my clients over the last few years to build bridges with their kids through difficult times. It has allowed their kids to blossom through the teenage years and become thriving young adults and ultimately great friends.

Our kids are wired differently than our generation. See it as evolution if you like and let them take more of a lead role. It’s only us who are expecting everything to be the same. It isn’t. It likely never will be again.

If you like these philosophies of parenting, please consider joining my new monthly group for mums. You’ll get support through these changing times and be able to adapt and even benefit from the roller coaster of 2020!


Lindsay de Swart
Lindsay de Swart

Lindsay de Swart helps busy, professional mums to rediscover happiness and fun beyond their career and family. She helps them tune into who they used to be before they got so busy and needed that they got lost in it all! Lindsay is a Mum of 3 teenagers, owns 2 dogs, a horse and loves to run, ski, ride and most things outside!

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