Teenage Tips

I was a difficult teenager.  I was selfish, self-centred and desperate to be liked.  In my mind, my parents were determined to ruin both my life and my popularity.  Most of all I couldn't understand why they wouldn't let me do what I wanted when I was achieving good exam results. This was my side of the teen-parent bargain, or so I thought....so when number one daughter became a teenager I wanted everything to be different.  I tried really hard, and yet I know that some people will think that I am a permissive parent.  That was not the intention, nor was I trying to be her 'friend'.  But I did not want to fall out with her.  And as a separated parent with two younger children, I couldn't afford to either!  I understood her need to rebel, to like different stuff from her Mum, to have different attitudes, but I did not want us to 'hate' each other. And I wanted us both to survive the teenage tantrums without anything going too badly wrong.

I've tried to use reason rather than rant, to ask and discuss, not order and tell. When I was a teenager the one phrase that was guaranteed to make me see red was "Because I said so".  I vowed not to use that phrase. Ever.  Did I succeed? You'd better ask Angel...I'm sure she'll remember times and dates!

So from the Mammy of an 18 year old teenager my simple parenting tip for this week’s Friday Club Parenting Carnival Ella at Notes from Home is to ask their opinion.

When Angel wanted to go somewhere or try something, I've not said 'no'. Instead, I've tried to to ensure that she does it in as safe a way as possible.  So I would ask her how she thought we could make things safe.  And usually I would go along with her ideas.   We discussed the dangers of drink and drugs, but I did not ban them.  I let her go to the notorious 'Wezz' underage disco in Dublin, but made sure that she and her friends were dropped off and collected from the door...and yes they did outwit us a couple of times.  Now she's bored with that scene and rarely goes to night clubs. 

Because she was part of the decision-making process, conflict was diffused, even over the scary issue of studying and exams.  And we're counting down the weeks to the Leaving Cert here, her end of school exams.  So how should I get her to do enough study?  I don't think that banning a teen from leaving the house is going to make them work harder.  Even if you sit with your teen, you can't make them learn, unless you're a Chinese Mother, obviously.  I certainly let Angel know that I thought she was capable of doing well in her final school exams, and the importance of that for her future job prospects.  Then when year-end exam results come out, I ask her first what she thinks of them.  And we take it from there.

As a parent I got lots of stuff wrong and Angel is now telling me about it, but she seems more amused than angry with my mistakes.  I'm sure that different teens need to be parented differently, but this approach worked for me...I think!

Here are the other entries in this parenting tips carnival:

Nova at Cherished by Me shares her tips in Encouraging Children to Read.

Gemma at HelloitsGemma's Blog gives us her working mum tips in This working Mummy’s guide to life.

Maggy at Red Ted Art shows us how Baby Can Draw!

Chris at Thinly Spread gives us her Secret to Relaxed Parenting.

Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family shows us how she teaches her children about other countries and cultures whilst having fun in America Day.

Helen at Cheeky Wipes gives us her tips in Fussy Eating.

Mummy Beadzoid gives us some Parenting tips for the NICU/SCBU parent.

Kelly at Domestic Goddesque shares her advice in Terrible Twos: tips for dealing with tantrums?

Ella at Notes From Home gives us her tip for encouraging children to tidy up at the end of the day.

Tiddlyompompom shares her weaning tips in her oh so helpful guide to weaning.

Mymumdom shares her tips in Parenting Tips (Me Over The Edge).

SouthoftheRiverMum tells us her plans to set up a Reward System at Home.

Not so single mum at Diary of a Not So Single Mum shares her advice on doing what you feel is best for your child and your family.

Jax at Making It Up discusses behavioural issues in a quandary in search of a tip.

Bod for Tea shares her advice on finding a 'helper' to encourage your child to do things they don't really like doing in Bunny says.

Hayley at Simply Hayley tells us about Hugs and Love.

Make Do Mum shares her stickability scale in Know Your Enemy.


  1. Sound like good tips to me from someone who doesn't have teenagers but who used to be one!!x

  2. I have this all to come. So looking forward to it...NOT! My 9 year old is challenging enough.
    We do try to talk things through though, rather than order them around as I too, remember hating being told what to do.

  3. Great post, I hope that I am doing the same. Although my children are still quite sheltered at the moment because we live in the middle of nowhere I hope that we discuss the pitfalls of some things such as drugs and getting really drunk. I don't think I've ever banned my son from anything but would hope that he is sensible...although he has come home from something quite drunk before but then again we've all been there and I think it's part of the learning curve. Thanks for the advice. X

  4. having been a slightly rebellious teenager, I am dreading the teen years with my two :/

  5. I'm not at the teen stage yet but I have a teen-in-the-making with my nine year old. We have the same approach, ask his opinion, let him help decide and it has certainly helped diffuse situations and I'm hoping it helps us when we do eventually reach the teen years!

  6. I am dreading the teenage stage - my 8y/o is a budding teenager and if she's like this at 8, what will she be like as a teen!


  7. lovely post! I hope it makes her proud.

  8. I think you've taken a great approach I know from experience it's not always easy to know exactly which tact to take on certain issues. My Son will be 15 next week and up to now we have managed to get by with discussing things openly and lots of compromising.

  9. @Helen - thanks and thanks for not commenting on what I was like when you first met me!

    @Jacq - 9 can be tricky as hormones kick in then, get through it and you could have a lovely few years before she becomes a teen, I did!

    @CBM - Angel has rolled in drunk about twice, but seems to have regretted it :)

    @tiddlyompom - that's what I thought too, but it was completely different.

    @ella - good stuff!

    @Cass - again, it could be hormones right now, it will pass

    @carole - thanks for commenting and best of luck with your son: that's my next challenge...

    @helloitsgemma - she doesn't read it, but says she's completely not bothered about me writing about her.