I’m finding the teen years the most challenging stage of parenting. As we ring in a new year, my new year’s resolution is to make changes to my parenting, pivots that will not only help my teen mature, but will save my sanity too.
My Parenting New Year’s Resolutions
1. Stop picking up after my teenager
I will no longer open that dirty gym bag with sweaty clothes fermenting on the bottom of the bag. I won’t pick up those shoes, books, or plates. I will not venture into my teen’s room, because I know I will immediately shift into cleaning mode and end up spending three hours disinfecting the entire space.
2. Control my temper while I’m stuck waiting for my teenager
I resolve to control my temper while sitting in my car, waiting on my teen to get out of school, practice, meetings, groups, rehearsals, games, parties, or a friend’s house. I will quietly listen to my music, scroll through Facebook, take slow deep breaths, and not think of all the things I could be doing with my time. I won’t text “Hurry up!” or “Where are you?” or “Let’s goooo!” Instead, I will wait patiently and control the bubbling rage within.
3. Stop dropping everything when my teenager demands my time
I won’t immediately stop what I’m doing when my teen texts, “Plans changed, Mom. Can you come get me now?” I will politely text in response, “I’ll be there soon, sweetie. Find something to do while you wait.” Then I will take my sweet time finishing whatever I’m doing before I get in my car.
4. Try to stop nagging about everything
I won’t complain about my teen’s forgetfulness or groan about all the hours wasted playing Fortnite. I will not go on and on about the dirty dishes, the laundry, or the schoolwork strewn all over the house. I will calmly state, one time, what my teen needs to do. If it doesn’t get done the first time, I will dish out appropriate consequences.
5. Follow through on consequences
When I say my teen is grounded, I will not cave in to the incessant complaints. When I assign that extra chore because my teen didn’t complete a different chore, I will make sure both chores actually get done. When I set new limitations on the TV, phone, and video games, I will enforce those limits.
6. Stop worrying about everything my teenager does
I won’t constantly wonder if my teen is really okay or if they’re hiding deep secrets about critical things I need to know. I won’t worry (too much) about their friends, their mental health, their grades, their future. I will trust that everything is going to be okay and that my teen will turn out just fine.
7. Give up worrying about whether I’m a good parent
I won’t question everything I do or spend endless hours wondering if I’m giving my kid all they need to be successful on their own. I won’t beat myself up for the mistakes I make and the many things I could have done better.
8. Hold strong when things fall apart
I will keep my composure and be the adult in difficult situations. I won’t unravel along with my teen and I won’t let my teen trigger my temper. I will try to remain steady and controlled no matter how out of control things get.
9. Trust my teenager
I will believe in them, encourage them, and forgive them when they fails. I will offer guidance when they ask for it and comfort when they hurts. I will remind them of all the incredible traits they have and support them through difficult challenges that lie ahead. I will make sure my teen knows I’m right behind them at every turn as we wander down this rocky road together.
Much like previous years’ resolutions, these are inspired with fresh hope, new resolve, and some unrealistic expectations.
Within a few weeks, I’ll open that gym bag and walk into that bedroom. I’ll get irritated while waiting in my car and jump when I get that text. I’ll nag about my teen’s forgetfulness and cave on those consequences. I’ll interrupt conversations and worry about their well-being. I’ll lose my temper and doubt my parenting.
But one thing I know for sure is that I will always believe in my teen and, no matter what happens on this rocky road, I’ll be there at every turn. That is the one resolution I know I can keep.