Feb 122017

If you are a parent you’ve either been there, are going through it now, or will someday experience the joy (please note the sarcasm) of raising a teenager. Let me start off by saying that I love my son with all my heart and cannot imagine my life without him. It’s been just the 2 of us taking on the world for the last 12 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some days I just don’t like him very much. He is very much a typical 14-year-old boy. He’s a good kid and doesn’t get into trouble, but the mouth, the sighs, the eyerolls, and the general “mom, you are the dumbest person alive” attitude are enough to put me over the edge. I know that I’m not the first parent to experience this, and I certainly won’t be the last, so I decided to do a little bit of research on parenting teenagers and here is what I came up with.

Choose your battles – As much as they do little things that make us crazy, we have to learn not to sweat the small stuff. My son has this annoying habit of leaving the wet bath mat on the bathroom floor despite me asking him 7,678,346 times to hang it up to dry when he’s done. Rather than yell at him every single time I find it on the floor, most nights I end up hanging it up to dry myself, particularly if I am already in a bad mood or annoyed by something else. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t that big a deal. Save the yelling and lectures for the big stuff.

Let them establish their own identity – this may mean that you hate the way they dress or talk, but they are learning who they are. If they aren’t putting themselves or others in danger, let them explore who they are. My one deal breaker on this, though, is disrespect. My son can use the “it” words, but if it is disrespectful, I will not allow it.

Don’t be their friend – We all want our kids to like us; some of want to be the “cool” parent. The reality is that our job as parents is to raise respectful, productive members of society who can function on their own. Make rules and make their consequences known. If rules are broken, follow through on the consequences you have set, no matter how hard that may be. A rule in my house is that the phone gets put away at bedtime (i.e. charging in the kitchen so as not to tempt him to use it when he should be sleeping) but I kept finding it in his bed the next morning. I told him if I found it in his bed again, the phone, tablet, and Xbox would be taken away for two weeks. Two days later it was in his bed again, so I took it all away. Let me tell you, it was probably harder on me than it was on him. I really think it was the longest two weeks of my life, but it showed him that I meant what I said.

Talk about risks with them – this could be drugs, sex, driving, or anything. Have open discussions with them and let them ask questions. They may be hard conversations to have, but they need to know they can talk to you.

Keep the lines of communication open – They may not always want to talk to you, but let them know that they can. When we are home my son spends most of his time in his bedroom, but I honestly find that some of our best conversations take place while we are driving. He and I are close and talk about a lot of things. He recently went through his first teenage heartbreak, and I wasn’t home (believe me, I felt awful that I wasn’t there). He called me upset, we talked through it, and then he called his dad to talk. My ex-husband and I co-parent very well together, and my son knows that he has two parents who love him and that he can talk to us about anything.

Teach them life skills – I will be the first to admit that I am not great at this, but cooking, cleaning, laundry, and money management are all important for them to learn. My son is my only child, so I tend to baby him a bit, but I am trying to get better at this and make him more independent. I know his future wife will appreciate it.

And finally, be a role model – I feel like this goes without saying yet still needs to be said. They learn from us, so set the example. Show them that nothing is accomplished without hard work and determination.

I keep reminding myself that the teenage years are just a short period comparatively, so to just keep on doing what I’m doing. I know someday that sweet boy I raised will be back but until then it’s going to be tough. All I can do is love him, discipline him, and teach him.

About Rachel

My name is Rachel and I'm the single mom of a 14 year old boy. I am a Registered Nurse nurse caring for our nation's veterans. I'm a amateur photographer and a self-proclaimed "adventurer"; I am always looking for for free and inexpensive ways to enjoy life.

  102 Responses to “Raising Teenagers”

  1. I love this post. We are parents first and everything else second. The only thing I would say is that it’s possible to be a parent and a friend. Many parents mistake being “cool” for being a friend.

  2. Teenagers. I remember being one. I remember hanging with all my teenage friends. Thank God, I still have some time before those years hit. For everyone else parenting teens out there, God be with you.

  3. Great tips, as a parent of two one 15 and the other 11 I can relate to all of these and will keep them all in mind. I try but it is hard not to want to be liked but sometimes tough love is necessary.

  4. Excellent points. I think these realistically can be applied at all stages of parenting.

  5. I basically kept it simple. If they were going to school, not thugging, not drugging, not drinking and nobody was pregnant or got someone pregnant I pretty much left them alone. They knew enough that if they did something stupid that they had to accountable and responsible for their actions. Those were my biggies-being responsible and accountable for what they did. And I told them about themselves.

    Here is an example: My daughter flunked a class in high school, mostly due to her sleeping and texting in class. I told her that F means you F-up and that you get a D- if you do minimal work, show up and pay attention in class that she could have stayed at home and got a F. When that summer came, she had to miss things because she had to repeat the class during the summer, I told her that is what happens to the F-up’s who flunk classes and that you are responsible for repeating the class. Well, after that he basically got all A’s and B’s after that. Her brother got the message through her. They are 21 and 19 now and are doing well in college and have stayed away from a lot of pitfalls.

  6. Excellent article on teenagers, have one my self and is great to know someone else’s ideas on teens issues. I might subscribe to your content. love your blog!

  7. Yes – be a role model for your kids! When my kids were growing up, I always taught them that they could talk about anything with me. Now that the kids are all grown up, I’m so proud of them. It sometimes brings tears to my eyes knowing that I played such an important part in helping to shape the kind and caring adults they’ve become. Teen years can be tough at times, but you’re right, it will be over before you know it. Great words of wisdom!

  8. totally agree with so many of these especially NOT being their friend. my mom would always say, “you don’t like me right now, GOOD! that means I am doing my job.” now I get it.

  9. Love how you start off with choose your battles and don’t be a friend. These are words we lived by when raising our children. They all turned out to be great adults, citizens and parents.

  10. Teenagers can really be a confusing stage. It’s important that we remain there to guide them and be more of a parent than a cool friend.

  11. Raising teenagers can definitely be challenging. I have three, 16,18, and 19. No two are alike. They each have their own personalities with separate parenting issues. However, at the end of the day I have loved every minute of being their mom.

  12. I have a little ways to go before I get there but these are all awesome tips that I’m definitely going to keep in mind. I’m always hoping that my son and I stay close through out out lives.

  13. It’s so important to talk to teens about all the risky stuff. It’s also important to start those conversations when they are little. I’m always so amazed when parents tell me they are uncomfortable and just won’t talk to their kids about sex and drugs.

  14. I actually agree with almost everything except the be their friend part…. my kids are my best friends, but we still have rules. xoxo Robin

  15. I have been right where you are now. My daughter, who turns 20 in a few weeks, gave me those same looks and attitude. It grates on your nerves quite a bit. Glad to see you have discovered a way to cope with it with this research.

  16. I love teenagers. They are totally figuring out who they want to be, and it’s great.

  17. My oldest is only 4, but I feellike some of this applies even to her age. I have to pick my battles for sure…so some days we leave the house in miss-matched clothes and a princess crown lol

  18. Been there, done that! I am so relieved I am over that phase of raising children. I can relate to all these tips, especially the “don’t be their friend.” When I was going through the difficult time of all three of my children were in their teenage years, my mom told me, “You are a parent first, a friend second.”

  19. I have been very blessed with my kids! They’re 19 and 22, and we get along amazingly. They’re so much fun!

  20. Yasss to choosing your battles. You have to determine which ones are ones you need to intervene on and which ones they can manage. Great life lessons, too!

  21. Those teen years are probably the hardest on a person. I wouldn’t go back to being a teen for anything. The pressures they face these days are so different. It’s important to be a good listener. Sometimes they don’t want advice, they just want to talk. The years pass by quickly. He will be grown so fast!

  22. A great post. We have twin girls that are almost 13… two at a time is quite the adventure. This weekend was a tough one but today is a new day and hoping for a better week.

  23. Great tips for parents of teens. Choosing your battles is key.

  24. Teaching them life skills is so important! The life skills my parents taught me during my teenage years totally helped me in my life right now! I have two boys and they are under 5 so this is a little bit of a wait for me but I loved reading this!

  25. These are great tips! Too often I find parents befriending their teen and giving up. Then boundaries are all messy and respect is lost for the parent. Teens hunger for a parent to be the parent not a friend. You are most definitely right be the role model. Love them and live out how you want them to be.

  26. I definitely agree with these! My son is 3, but we call him the threenager lol! I can’t imagine what he will be like as an actual teenager

  27. These are fantastic tips. My older is only 5 and I am dreading the teenage stage. I love that you have being an example on the list. I think that is vital for raising children.

  28. I think teen years are hard both for parents and the kid. I agree with make rules and make their consequences known. Discipline is one the best element to help children aware of their right and their obligation.

  29. I’m saving this post for later, because my little dude is only a year and a half right now. I’ve always heard ‘Don’t be there friend,’ but I never quite understood why until you explained it! Thank you!

  30. Well written article about parenting. We have our first tween, and it’s a little scary to think how quickly it is all going. A lot of what you wrote I feel applies to the years leading up to the teenage years too. Thanks for this reminder about the open communication lines, and the let them figure out who they are.

  31. These are great tips! Oddly, they work for toddlers, too! haha I am currently struggling to choose my battles with them.

  32. Love this post! My son is 10 years and a half now and I have to get myself ready for that :). I know things can be complicated and I need to make sure that we communicate better and better 🙂

  33. This is really great information. My sister is turning 15 this weekend and I cannot wait until it’s over. Thanks for sharing.

  34. I love your honesty! Sometimes I don’t like my teen much either – and I’m not shy about telling her! I’ll say, “You know, I love you with all my heart, and I’d die for you at any given moment, for any reason. But right now, I’m not sure I like you at all. Is this really who you want to be?”

    Usually that’s about all it takes to get her to realize she’s being a butt, and then she’ll turn it around on her own. We have our moments, like you and your son – but I like to think that my closeness with my daughter is a testament. I’m doing something right. And so are you.

  35. Awesome post! I have a 17 year old daughter…I completely agree. I choose my battles. I let a lot of things just go. Then there are some that I can’t, because I have OCD. (cleaning the bedroom, wearing dirty clothes, moldy bathroom) She can wear what she wants, as long as it’s not trashy (too short, cleavage showing) I also won’t allow her to cuss. I know she does it but not in my house in front of me.

  36. My oldest was a breeze through her teens. My youngest just turned 13 and is a friggin’ nightmare. Not really. She’s a good kid, but we do have those typical teen drama days that make me long for the days I’ll be sending her off to college.

  37. My mother was not a ‘hands on’ mom. She was very much a ‘make your own decisions’ mom. I can appreciate her for that because it forced me to stop and think about things before I made the choice. If I made the wrong choice, I had to suffer and deal with those consequences.

  38. I am a long way from thinking about parenting – especially teenagers! I was a pretty good kid so hoping I am as lucky as my parents. 😉

  39. Cannot agree more with your post especially about the damn bath mat and any other similar situation (like why you need to help me wash the dishes or walk the dog…). Feels good to remind ourself we are not alone there.

  40. These are really helpful tips! Such great things to think about before kids reach teenage years.

  41. Raising teenagers is a whole different ballgame to raising kids. These are great tips for raising teenagers.

  42. loved this post and fact that you are so friendly with him <3

  43. These are all great tips to raising teenagers. I have not made it to this stage yet but these are such helpful tips.

  44. Talking about risks with your children is so important. They need to know what is out there.

  45. I don’t have any kids but I have friends that have children this age. These are such great reminders.

  46. I think you have some great strategies! I definitely had to let my kids know they were able to talk to me about anything!

  47. I love this, where was it when my kids were teenagers. I had to learn the hard way, lol. But the one I like the most and agree with is you can’t be their friend.

  48. I am raising two teenagers and there are times when you have to be their friend to get them to open up. But mostly the parent and disciplinarian

  49. My kids are on the verge on the teenaged years. It’s great to have a road map for how to deal with what can be difficult years. I know how important it was when I was a teen to have independence.

  50. I’m really not ready for my kids to be teenagers. My oldest will be eight in March. Honestly it’s not that soon before she will be a teen. The years fly by so quick.

  51. Keeping the lines of communication open is huge, and you can never downplay the value of allowing them to learn that there are consequences for their actions.

  52. I can surely relate. Teen years are so difficult for both boys and girls. Sometimes I remember wanting to pull my hair out. My 2 are now 22 and 24 and they are young adults. It can still be difficult at times but such a difference from those younger years,

  53. This whole teenage thing is so new to me, I felt like I did toddlers very well but teens I am at a loss. I do try really hard not to sweat the small stuff! Thanks

  54. The teenage years were the worst. I have a boy and a girl so I got to experience adolescence from both sides. Now the kids are in their twenty’s and it is so much easier.

  55. I am not looking forward to the teenage years. I have three girls and it is just beginning. It is going to be fun when they all start dating lol.

  56. It’s never easy. I am so glad it’s all over and my twins are now twenty years old. There will good and bad days and sometimes it feels like you’re so helpless. I think these are very good tips for parents.

  57. Great article! As someone who feels like teenage-hood was just yesterday, I can say these are spot on! Wish all parents could read this.

  58. As the mother of a nearly 17 year old I completely agree with everything you have written here. It doesn’t get any easier over the next few years, lol, they just get bigger and more hormonal!

  59. Amen to that. Be open with your communication, be a good role model but above all let them be free to express themselves. Even if like you said you don’t agree with it.

  60. My kids are small yet but I think this would be a great time I should be thinking about these matter. It’s always best to get ready!

  61. Raising teens are not always easy, glad you shared it, I have two teens now and I’m really happy and proud raised them good teens

  62. I admire you my dear, indeed raising kids especially teens are not as easy as one, two, three. Seeing them growing up as good persons is your reward.

  63. I’m entering this stage with my son now. He is 12 and everything is changing. The attitude appeared a year ago. Each summer I teach him a new life skill. So far he can iron, do laundry, household chores and cook with the oven. This adjustment has been killer.

  64. My daughter is 18 and I know exactly what you mean about the eye rolls and the attitude that we don’t know anything as parents. I have learned over the years to not sweat the small stuff. There is no point in arguing about the small things.

  65. I imagine it is a whole new arena of parenting once your children become teenagers!
    I like that you include discussing some of life’s complicated issues with your children.

  66. I have a few years, but if the next couple of years go as fast as the last few, then not too much longer. There is so much to learn when the kids become teens, thank you!

  67. Great tips! My oldest just turned 9 and I can see the teenager years coming at me fast. I hope to keep the communication open and that we can remain as close as we are now. They grow up way too fast!

  68. Love this list. Especially being a role model. Too many parents are teaching double standards to their kids. Don’t do XYZ, when they then do those exact things. Works when kids are little but as they to teen years they become younger versions of you. Leading by example is always the best option!

  69. Great post from Rachel! I totally agree that you shouldn’t try to be your children’s friend – I see that happening very often around me and don’t think it’s the best way to go. You must be their parent first and foremost. xx

  70. Oh I hear ya! The ‘teen attitude’ is something that was not tolerated by my traditional parents and relatives while I was growing up so all this sassinest is getting in my nerves. But yes, I have long learned to choose my battles. 🙂

  71. It really must be tough since I’ve been a teenager and I can honestly say that I was pain in the a**. I will definitely be bookmarking this for future use. Thank God I won’t have to deal with this until after 11 years.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  72. I love this! This is really helpful. I have a teenage niece who stays with us and I know it’s just hard.

  73. I have two teens in my house, so these tips come at a great time. I think keeping the lines of communication open is so important.

  74. My kids are really small..I have a 4 year old and a 5 month old. But I am having a tough time dealing with my feisty 4 year old daughter. I absolutely love my kids but sometimes I don’t really know how to deal with her tantrums….I agree I need to follow through if I take away a favour for breaking house rules…a lil difficult for me to not give in….I loved reading this post!

  75. This is such a great post, I am only a few years away from my first teenager and I am so afraid! I love your advice to not be their friend, I feel like this happens too often….

  76. I love that you put choose your battles as the number one tip. I can agree with this one a million times over.

  77. I really love this post because it is so important. I like how you say that we need to establish an open line of communication with our kiddos. I feel like I didn’t have this growing up with my parents and it is so important for me to do this with my kids. I pray that I can as they grow up!


  78. I had two teens in the house last year (with a foreign exchange student), and now just one this year. They are young adults and just trying to do our best with these kids. It is a challenge!

  79. I can’t imagine what it is like to raise teenagers! I’m just glad that I don’t have to do it at this stage of my life, lol.

  80. I can’t even imagine my kids as teenagers. I’ll have three boys which means my life will be twice as crazy!

  81. Ugh don’t remind me of the days ahead! My kids are just 3 and 5, so I will cherish these crazy moments before those crazy moments arrive.

  82. Great info for parents raising teens. I remember my teen years not pretty but yeah its a balance.

  83. As a military wife who could barely handle her busy schedule I am truly glad I came across your post. I will definitely share this to my best friend who has a 11 years old son. This is very helpful and inspiring to moms out there.

  84. I have two teens, and these are great tips to live by. We practice many of these, and so far, we’ve raised some great kids who make great decisions.

  85. rearing a child is really challenging. as much as possible you have to watch 24/7. thanks to this blog post. learned something.

  86. rearing a child is really challenging. as much as possible you have to watch them 24/7. thanks to this blog post. learned something new. a reminder as well.

  87. Love this post! I loved that my parents let me build my own identity and gave me lots of freedom in that respect when I lived at home as a teenager 🙂

  88. I love these tips. I will have two teens in a couple of years so I am always appreciative of articles like this where I can leanr things on how to deal with teens.

  89. I have a one year old so I have a while before I get to this stage but these are all awesome tips! You and your son seem really happy!

  90. Keeping the lines of communication open when it comes to parenting is so important. You have to be honest and open with your kids.

  91. Omg I can only imagine!!!! My daughter is only four. I’m honestly scared for the teenage years lol…. I can barely handle toddlerhood

  92. I think the biggest mistake some parents do is try and be their teenagers friends. I’ve seen so many people do this. It’ll just allow them to take advantage.

  93. These are some interesting tips. I was actually surprised to read the one labeled “Don’t be their friend” but understood what you meant and where you were coming from. Being a friend is a sense so they feel like they can trust you and share more – yes, but not to let them take advantage of you being “cool” and kind 🙂

  94. All these tips I have to keep in mind because I know I’ll be experiencing raising a teenager in four more years!

  95. This is great advice! Teens can be tough.

  96. Raising teenagers is so tough. I will have to pin this for later and keep it in mind so I can refer back.

  97. Your blog is sooooooooooo cool. I love the pink. Sooooo sooooo cool. The topic is amazing. I am not a mother but, i was once a reckless teenager and now I am 21. I kind of understand what you are going through with your son well, because I did it too. I agree with the part when you said parents should not try to be theur child’s bestfriend. I see some parents who try to be a bestfriend rather than an actual parent. I used to do stupid things when I was a teenager. I was only in the process of finding who I was. I love this post. Soooooo cool. !❤

  98. I have two boys and I can’t imagine what our life will be like when they’re teenagers. I am sure it will be a blast!

  99. I have two boys too – I’m already nervous about what the teenage years are going to be like, but this post gives me some comfort. Look at those megawatt smiles!

  100. Every stage seems to have their unique challenges that’s for sure, looks like you are doing a great job! 🙂

  101. SO very important to leave the line of communication open. My oldest is only 11, but time flies. Before I know it he’ll be a teen. I teach college students. I know they go through a lot in their teen years.

  102. yea im not looking forward to when my son gets to be that age. he’s only 12 now and he’s already got an attitude problem… and i’ve been told it’s only gonna get worse.