Parenting teens and tweens is no joke. One of the books I’m reading this year is Wise Minded Parenting by Laura S. Kaster. At first I was like, um you gotta be a zen Buddhist to accomplish this, but so far she has some really good points. I’m making Jason read it too, so we can be on the same page.
In the beginning of the first chapter she talks about the attachment bond which secures in the first few years. Well, the first few years were pretty rough for Noah and Nora and in comparison to Lorelei and Henry, my younger two, we established a pretty weak bond. I was too busy trying to stay married to give much besides basic needs to Noah and Nora. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a better relationship now, just not a fundamental one. It makes it doubly hard when the other parent is a step parent and missed out entirely on those formative years.
The book shares ways to deal with the volatile creature that is your teen, but it goes against the rational parenting style that Jason and I have developed. Parenting is not for sissies, yo. It talks about teens being rude to just you, you lucky dog, because you are the safe home base for their riotous emotions. I’ve talked about confrontation and conflict before and how it’s something I don’t mind from my children, but Noah especially is quite angry and we are so very good at pushing his buttons unintentionally. I know, though, that my kids are awesome and one day will be great human beings not sheep, but man is it hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel.
With the bigs gone this week, we get a little reprieve to reevaluate the home situation. Lorelei now empties the dishwasher and Henry clears the table. I remember that Nora started doing dishes at 6 and Lorelei is almost 7. Now that we have more time at home with Jason being done with school and my two classes, we can concentrate more heavily on establishing that better bond and learning to be zen Buddhists apparently.
Some key points from that first chapter (which is hella long):
For a teenager, seif-centeredness is as normal as tripping and falling is for a toddler.
When implementing parenting policies; stay calm, be confident and collaborate, but implement anyway.
The goal is to maintain positive rapport and connectedness and limit the power struggles over little things.
Discipline is about learning and learning does not occur when emotions are running high.
We are all doing the best we can even the teenager. I’m hoping to implement some policies on how we treat eachother. Having a ten year difference between the first and last child makes for some fun challenges. Especially when the little one’s favorite past time is to taunt the teenager by calling him poopy-Noah. *insert giant eyeroll*. I would also like to schedule some family time. We’re together constantly, but are we having fun together? Family dates need to be as important as date night, and no, going to walmart does not count as family time. I may also make one of those get along jars. The get along jar has popsicle sticks in it and when you misbehave or violate a parent policy, you do the action on the popsicle stick. For example: 20 jumping jacks, write a poem about how much you love your siblings, a yard chore, etc.
We’ll see what real life looks like next week when the bigs transition home and we’re back to our regularly scheduled routine.