Are you exhausted from your whining, wheedling teenager? What is your teen wanting you to say “yes” to? It takes a lot of strength to say “no” in the face of major teen drama-and there will be drama if you use that BAD word. Stick to your guns, and just say no to your teen-they might thank you later! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
There are so many things your teen might be asking… Going out is probably the biggest one I can think of. Here are the questions that you will have: Who will they be with? Where are they going? Who will be driving? Will they be going anywhere else? Will the parents be there? Will there be drinking or drugs?
The questions are endless. “Can I…” -you fill in the blank.
Here are three ways it’s hard to say no to a teenager.
Stage 1: Your teen will be very sweet and/or uber reasonable. Say no!
Stage 2: Your teen will mope. Say no!
Stage 3: Your teen will try to intimidate you with his anger. Say no!
Ways to Make Saying “No” Easier!
Have clear boundaries.
I recommend having very few rules. If you have a lot of family rules, look them over. Condense them down. Make them crystal clear. We have two rules in our house. Here is my blog post about discipline. If you have few rules and they are concise, then there is less chance for your teen to try to wiggle around them.
When our kids were younger, we really worked on obedience and respect. This helped as they became teenagers. If you have had a lot of rules, your teen might appreciate a new, fresh approach from you.
Time for self-management.
This is a time for you to start letting your teen begin to manage themselves. Contracts are great conversation starters, and writing them can be really freeing. One thing that we learned in the process of using these, is once we have shared our non-negotiables, our boys have written contracts that were much stricter than what we would have written! The final product has to be agreed upon and signed by all parties.
If the contract is broken, your teen has to face the consequences which have been written and agreed upon at an earlier date. (Don’t get crazy with this! A piece of paper and a pen is enough to get started.) Here is a link to what a contract with your child is all about.
The best part about this time for your teen, is that, as your teen begins to try new things and have new experiences, they can prove to you that they are responsible. Eventually, contracts can be amended, lessened, and eventually eliminated!
One of our boys never had a curfew because he never pushed it, and we trusted him. Our next son had a very strict one for quite awhile because he kept pushing it. Every kid and every situation is different, so you may not have the exact same rules for each kid, and that is okay. You are the parent, and you do not have to explain yourself!
The other piece of this is flexibility. Teens will present you with all sorts of new parenting issues-welcome to the seven year challenge called parenting teens!
As new situations arise, you may not be ready to make a decision right away. Our answer to this has always been, “This is a new situation, we need to think about this first.” This has saved us many times!
We used this when they wanted to ride with a new older friend who could drive. We used this when they wanted to get new apps on their phones. We used this when one of them snuck a friend into our house while we were gone…
Stay clear of the drama.
Teens are all about drama! I only have boys and can assure you that they are dramatic in their own way! I have been a teacher of preschool, elementary and middle school for more than 20 years, and so, I know about girl drama as well!
The arsenal of teen histrionics is deep and wide. Teens will use whining, moping, angry behavior meant to intimidate us, and on and on… Do not cave in.
I have used a Josh Shipp quote before, but I love it and will use it again here. He said, “Teenagers will test you to see if you, like the lap bar on a roller coaster will hold.” They need to know if you are “steady and safe” and if your love for them will “hold”. This is truth! But, boy, is it hard!
The best way to stay on track with your teen, to know who their friends are, to know what is happening in your teen’s life is to talk with them. Schedule conversations. At the minimum, once a month. We always had longer more serious conversations around grade time. This was whether they had good or bad grades. Goals could be made at this time, and conversation about their plans for the future.
Monthly or even weekly talks can be scheduled as well. It can be as easy as checking in with everyone on Sunday night to fill in the calendar. Don’t overwhelm your teen with big topics, and remember to listen and ask thought-provoking questions to scratch beneath the surface occasionally. Let you teen lead the way more and more often.
Do not talk down to your teen. Do not talk them to death. Listen. Have a conversation. Respect their opinion even if it makes no sense, and many times it won’t. Don’t point out their errors. Agree to walk away and come back if things get heated. Your teen wants ( and needs) to be heard.
We ask that they respect us, but we need to give the same in return. Let them know the questions and concerns that you have about a new situation. Tell your teen if these questions can be answered satisfactorily, then your answer might change to maybe or even to a “yes”. This change can only occur if the answers are provided in a timely manner, and in a way that satisfies all.
This can mean many things!
Talk with your spouse or significant other about as many topics ahead of time as possible. As you hear of other family’s circumstances, talk things over, and make a plan together. A teen can sense any type of weakness, and will use all the tools in their wheedling toolkit to get what they want.
Talk with your friends. Have any of them experienced your current issue? It’s great to have a mentor with an older teen who may have already experienced certain problems before. If possible make a pact with your teen’s friends’ parents to watch out for behaviors and to communicate with one another as problems occur.
Finally, know that you are in charge. It can be exhausting both mentally and physically, so take care of yourself! Go out on a date with yourself, your spouse or significant other. Take a quick nap. Give yourself mercy because we all make mistakes, and you will too. It’s okay to change your mind, just stay the course!
5 Steps to Avoid Losing Your Cool With Your Young Adult
It’s tough to remember exactly where the burning sensation started. Perhaps I mistook it for a hot flash. Before I knew it, I was excusing myself from the room, muttering something to my husband about this being HIS son. My good friend Shannon Hale at www.skiptomylife.com has kindly written this guest post letting us know how to avoid losing your coolwith your young adults. She has some great ideas!
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When Your Darling Child Comes Home From College…
What could my rising freshman possibly have said to stir such emotion, just moments after hugs and welcome-homes from his first year at college? I’m going to tell you. Because even though I’m not usually a betting kind of gal, I’d be willing to place cash on the barrel that you will hear some version of these two sentences come from the lips of your sweet child in the coming weeks:
“You never knew what I was doing when I was away at school. Why do I have to tell you where I am now that I’m home”?
How to avoid losing your cool with your young adults
Whether you’re launching a graduate or welcoming one home this summer, the routine you’ve settled into over the school year is sure to change in the coming days. And, surprise! The dynamics between you and your young adult may have morphed more than either of you are expecting.
Learn from me, friends, and top off the volcano of unrealistic expectations before it erupts. Just a little planning on your part and a short discussion with your student can make the difference between a frustrating summer and one you’ll cherish for years to come. Don’t worry; I’ll walk you through this process step-by-step.
Living with young adults feels a little like walking a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. It takes a lot of balancing to trust our kid on one side while requiring their personal responsibility on the other. That balancing act can leave us, as parents, a bit wobbly. Add to this the fear of major repercussions for slipping too far to either side, and we are quickly set up for a very stressful summer.
Avoid Summer Slump
“Summer Slump” is the term coined to describe the post-semester blues that result from a combination of factors: change in daily routine, distance from friends, and unforeseen conflict in family and romantic relationships. About 1 in 3 students described themselves as depressed as a result of this phenomenon.
As the busyness of the school year comes to a screeching halt, don’t be left frantically navigating how your teen will fill their summer days. Take just 30 minutes to talk through some simple strategies and set a plan in motion, and you’ll see major pay-off in the coming months. Here’s how you’ll spend that half hour.
5 tips to AVOID losing your cool with your young adult this summer
1. Get out the calendar
Young adults are notorious for misunderstanding time constraints. Pull out the calendar and start by figuring out just how many weeks are unaccounted for this summer. It may be fewer than you, or your student, think.
Next step: post any dates that are already scheduled, such as family vacations, weddings, deadlines and social events. These events will serve to break up the perception of monotony of the months stretching before your student.
Give your student permission to dream about what they’d like to do this summer. During my son’s last summer before college, he and his cousin organized a cross-country road trip to see their favorite band.
Although I was tempted to say “absolutely not” when he first presented the idea, the planning and responsibility he showed won me over. Put a lock on your lips and just listen. You may be surprised to see a new side of your kid.
Once they’ve had their say, it’s time for mom and dad to share their dreams for the summer. This might include something as simple as visiting the local snow cone stand or as epic as a major bike ride. Your summer will be so much more fun if you don’t lose your cool with your young adult!
3. Discuss guidelines
Learn from my mistakes, my wonderful friends. Don’t assume your student knows what you expect from them this summer. You are making the transition from parenting to coaching, from living with your child to living with another adult.
It’s tough. It’s awkward. But we can do this. Setting simple guidelines about household chores, curfew, communication, use of car- will keep you from so many rolling eyeballs and slammed doors.
Remember that they have, indeed, kept themselves from dying over the last several months. Give them credit and very generous limits.
I grew up in a home with one bathroom. Not one full bath and one half bath- one toilet, one sink, one shower. So many battles could have been avoided and so many tears could have been saved had we just sat down and figured out a schedule. But then my sisters and I wouldn’t have near the stories to tell, right?
4. Provide options
In the event that your teen’s answer to question 2 is “play video games on the couch”, here’s some help. You, dear parent, will come to this conversation armed with some ideas for summer options. Here is the beauty of taking 30 minutes to have this planning session in early summer versus waiting until mid-July.
As you probably know, but your teen may not, now is the time to apply for and pursue a summer job, schedule an internship, or sign up for summer classes. I know, I know, you’re afraid this revelation will push your already-overwhelmed kid into overload. But here’s where your pre-work will pay off.
Show them support by offering to temporarily take something off their plate so they can have a couple of hours to fill out an application online or schedule a meeting with a local business owner.
5. Celebrate and model self-care
Summer is a great time for students to catch up on sleep, get into better eating habits or start an exercise program. But we can’t very well encourage them to do those things if we’re not doing them ourselves.
Now that another school year is in the books, push the easy button and set aside some time for summer planning with your student. You’ll be glad you did when fall rolls around and you’re waving goodbye once again.
Thanks to Shannon for all the great ideas for ideas on how to avoid losing your cool with your young adults. This is our first summer that our boys are NOT coming home, and that is a whole other story!
Valentine’s season is here, and it’s a great time to watch some movies about love. These are not all about romantic love, but love between friends and family as well. These are great movies to use as a springboard to some conversations about realistic love.
Relationships can be so complicated, and with all the social media options available these days, it’s even more important that our kids know that communication is key. Not texting, but talking. Relationships can and should be grounded in friendship first, and there is no rush to any of this!
These movies can really help open the door to difficult conversations!
After a painful breakup one of my boys experienced, we watched a few of these movies. He ended up liking some of these, even though, at first, he thought they were chick flicks. Watching these together opened up some great conversation that he later said really helped him. Here’s a checklist to keep track of the ones that you have watched:)
Here is our family’s list of the best movies about love to watch for Valentine’s Day! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
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Movies About Love
Valentine’s Day– This is great! This is the story of many intersecting stories about love. Mother love, romantic love, puppy love and more… Each relationship in this movie is special for different reasons, and there are lessons to be learned in each situation.
“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not,” Jodie Picoult in My Sister’s Keeper
Sweet Home Alabama– A young woman in the big city learns that she can leave home, even recreate herself, but leaving the past behind is not as easy as she thinks.
“You always gain by giving love,” Reece Witherspoon
Ghost– Love from beyond. The spirit of a young man comes back to warn his love that she is in danger. Appearances are not always what you think!
“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same,” Emily Brontë
10 Things I Hate About You– A complicated of boy meets girl, boy wants to date girl, girl not allowed to date… A fun story about love/hate between sisters, their dad, and the boys who want to date them.
“I have decided to stick to love; hate is too great a burden to bear,” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Proposal– Love conquers all even when the girl is the office “witch” and the movie starts out with the boy hating the girl.
“When you love someone, you love the person as they are, and not as you’d like them to be,” Leo Tolstoy
Grease– Lesson learned here is peer pressure can be intense. Be who you are!
“Love is a friendship set to music,” Joseph Campbell
When Harry Met Sally– Harry wants to prove to Sally that men and women cannot be friends because sex always gets in the way. I love the evolution of their friendship throughout the movie, and ultimately sex does complicate things as he predicted. Classic!
“Love is friendship that has caught fire,” Ann Landers
Pretty in Pink– Love conquers all, friendship and the struggles across social and economic classes are a few of the themes in this classic John Hughes film. If you want to show your teen a glimpse into the ’80s, then this is my pick!
“I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly,” Kathleen, in You’ve Got Mail
While You Were Sleeping– A girl who imagines herself to be in love with the “perfect” man, finds out that love is so much more when you find the right guy.
“You don’t marry someone you can live with — you marry someone you cannot live without,” unknown
Sabrina– I liked the original Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, but LOVE this remake with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford! Girl loves boy who doesn’t have a clue she exists. Girl goes away and grows into beautiful woman. Girl comes home and then things get complicated when boy finally “sees” her.
“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other,” Audrey Hepburn
Hope Floats– Great movie about starting over after all seems lost.
“Love yourself first, and everything falls into line,” Lucille Ball
Where the Heart Is– Talk about starting over! Natalie Portman is great as a young pregnant woman who is abandoned at a small-town Walmart. Ashley Judd steals the show as the sidekick.
“Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you,” Misty Copeland
Steel Magnolias– My girlfriends have my back no matter what, and this movie goes to show that we all need our girlfriends through the situations that life can bring us.
“A good friend is like a four-leaf clover: hard to find and lucky to have,” an Irish proverb
“You are my sun, my moon, and all my stars,” E.E. Cummings
Beaches– Girlfriends again. Even when a friendship seems to end, their love for one another shines through in the end…
“There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family,” unknown
Regarding Henry– True love, true friendship, and what is important in life is what Henry and his wife discover after a horrible accident.
“The couples that are meant to be, are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart, and come out even stronger,” unknown
A Walk to Remember– Be true to yourself. I showed each of my boys this movie when they were in middle school. Peer pressure, love, family, and how to stand up for what is right are all themes in this great movie. The book is great, too!
“You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness,” Julia Roberts
The Notebook– Loyalty and lifelong love are the story here. I cry every time!
“I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day.” Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
She’s All That– Another great teen flick. Their relationship starts on a dare. Pygmalion updated…
“To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you are the world,’ Dr. Suess
Clueless– Another update. This time Emma is the story, and Alicia Silverstone is hilarious as the heroine.
“She was one of those, who, having, once begun, would always be in love,” Emma, Jane Austen
I hope that one or many of these movies about love will help you to enjoy the Valentine’s season!
We love to use movies to teach a lesson in a totally “innocent” way. These movies about love and friendship can spark great conversations about all facets of life and love. Have fun, and enjoy some movies about love with your teens this Valentine’s season! Remember to download the checklist to keep track of the movies that you have watched!