Now don’t get all defensive/excited/paranoid about this blog posting.
I am not the perfect parent, by no means. I do however have some simple house rules for my teens that I expect followed so today, I am sharing them with whoever is interested. If you like what you read, feel free to ask questions if you wish. If not, close the page, it doesn’t need to inflict negative emotions on your day. I am going to be blunt (I know, I know, so NOT like me, right?!) Take it or leave it.
1. NO IPODS/CELLPHONES/LAPTOPS/INTERNET ALLOWED IN BEDROOMS AFTER BEDTIME.
Yes, you heard me right NONE! When you are a teen, it’s all about your friends, which is a really good thing of course. You want your child to have as many nice friends as possible. You, as a parent are there to coach and guide your child in social situations, dilemas etc. Obvious stuff right?! Why then do so many parents leave their children open to anything the internet can serve them at night?! From a safer perspective I don’t want my child taking late night calls or facebook messages from friends they are going to see the NEXT day. If their friends are chatting online, they aren’t going to say “Hey I should be getting to sleep”, they are going to chat until they are nodding off to sleep in front of the laptop/phone/ipod, that could be 3am! Then you have a child who cannot concentrate in class, ultimately affecting work habits and lagging behind. Not to mention the grumpiness. On top of that, if you have an inquisitive child with access to the internet over vast spaces of time, with no parental security in place, you get the picture I am painting. One wrong word in that search box and they could be staring at an enticing collection of hard porn, violence and plenty of freakin weirdo’s lurking in the corners of online gaming and chat rooms. You know the middle aged kiddy seekers disguising themselves as your teens definition of ‘hot guys’.
I can hear them now “Mum you can’t do that, It’s MY phone.” Then the guilt sets it, right, “He/She is growing up. I need to give her/him freedom” Er HELLO?! You need to be a PARENT! First and foremost. Teens can be disrespectful and downright cheeky if you don’t set some ground rules (see point 2) So there you go, control their social media. It is a privelage you let them have, it is you who pays the internet/phone bill. Be a parent and lay down the rules. On top of that, you should know how Facebook works if your child is on it. It can be a dangerous place for a teen so teach them security and how to protect themselves online. Be on their friend list. If they are embarrassed or ashamed by this, tough. You allow them the privilege of joining the social media networks, they have to abide by the rules if they want to keep it.
I am not a control freak. I pat myself on the back, not for dictating to my children, but for teaching them right from wrong, being there every step to guide them and catch them when they fall. I will not snoop around in their facebook account but I do ask for the password and if any suspicious behaviour or trouble comes about, I say, sit down and lets look at your account. I go through friends lists, comments, photos and security settings. Only messages when there are friendship problems and I ask first.
Yes, teens need their independence and to make their own choices, but they are not ready to walk alone.
2. SPEAKING TO PARENTS WITH DISRESPECT OR A BAD ATTITUDE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE/NEVER WILL BE
OK. This is something I cannot stand. If you want me to treat you with respect, you must offer it. This works BOTH ways parents. Show your child respect before you demand it from them. Kids the same goes for you. Teens can behave like 6 year old with temper tantrums. Do you let your small child get away with it? NO! Then why let your teen walk all over you? I usually say “I will not accept that attitude and tone from you. It is rude. DO NOT do it again” You treat people the way you want to be treated. Give out in the world what you want to receive is a great way to be. We should remind our teens of this when they strop and stomp, shouting at parents and being disrespectful. I give two choices, you can choose to act that way with me and make life uncomfortable for yourself (I am NOT about to drive you to a friends house if you have just yelled at me and ignored me when you don’t get something you want). The other choice is this, be respectful and use your manners and correct social skills and I will want to return this respect to you. I own my behaviour, you own yours. Another thing we do in our home is this: When a time arises that my teens are being rude and unreasonable, there will be NO sleepovers and social outings with friends as it means you need to work on your relationships at home before you can think about them outside the home. Some of you may think this harsh, but the result I have is two very respectful young adults who have excellent social skills. I have always been complimented on the manners my children have. They make me extremely proud.
3. OWNING MESS
Ok I have been a little hard on my kids in the past where mess is concerned. If I walked into the room and they have piles of things on the floor, I would brush them into a huge pile and they had to clean it. If I opened drawers to put away clothes and the contents were balls of crumpled tops and trousers, out they came, onto the pile. Now they are older, if they don’t put their laundry in the washing basket (which they pass, every single day) and after completing the laundry, I come to find a pile in their room, guess who is doing their own laundry? Place you laundry is the basket and I am more than happy to do it for you. If their room is relatively tidy, I have no problems making their bed and vacuuming for them.
Want a friend to sleepover? Is your room tidy?
Any dishes or food left in your room for days? Guess who is hand washing the dishes?
Don’t deviate. If you have expectations in your home, stick to them. Don’t show you can be a pushover and maid, you won’t ever make life easy for yourself.
This is the most important! You don’t stop being a parent when your Children reach the teenage years. You can’t switch from parent to friend, you have to be both. Teenagers have hard times, HUGE emotional changes and not to mention the painful social situations. You have to be there for them. My kids know all they have to say is “Mum, can I speak to you in private”, and my time is theirs. There have been some difficult friendship and love situations. I offer the best advice I can and ALWAYS listen. I encourage them to feel what they are feeling, to not push it away or suppress any pain. It is human nature and I will hold you and love you through your hard times.
When you have this degree of trust, sometimes a situation may arise where you are told information about their friends, some of this information you may know the parents are not aware of. I have had this happen on numerous occasions and I have to assess whether to take action or not. Mostly I do not. There is a perfect reason for this, trust. I do not break the trust in confidentiality my child has placed in me and if I need to (for example if I think the friend in question is in danger or at risk), I will tell my child first and we will deal with it together. Don’t ever forget how hard your teenage years were, it’s a great tool to hold onto when understanding.
Do you know what mutual respect does? Enjoyable times spent with your Teens. Happy moments. Trust.
Above all listening to your children is so important, have time for them, compliment and build their self esteem. Hug. Laugh. Show your pride.
I have taken far too long to write this blog, worrying about offending people, being judged, people thinking it is about them. It simply is what it is, my opinion, my honesty. Take it or leave it. That’s your choice.
Quote: ‘There are two things we should give our children. One is roots, the other is wings’
Enjoy your ‘Moments’