My Top Tips on How To be a Mum to a Teenager
Holy smokes, hold on to your hat, because tonight we are talking about teenagers and how to be a mother to hormonal, moody, growing, changing humans. Give me an infant or toddler any day of the week (they are my jam), but this is a whole other kettle of fish.
It is like teenagers know how to bait you and make you feel terrible. It’s like they know for a fact that we have your L plates on when it comes to dealing with angst and those teenage hormones and feelings. I actually just want to lock myself in a rather large cupboard until they are at least 25 years old and have their shit together. Do you? I know this seems extreme but hell hath no fury like a moody teenager. Nothing can prepare you for your first teenage child. OMG. It’s like four seasons in a day. Some days you see glimmers of their sweet, cute, loving child self and other days everything you do or say is ‘wrong’ and makes them annoyed, disgruntled and down right ungrateful.
What do I do when faced with this abominable mood?
1) I speak calmly
2) I make requests
3) I stick to facts and logic
4) I validate emotions and feelings
Even though this is what is in my parent care arsenal against teenage mood swings, what I can tell you is, that none of these work all the time.
I wish I could pull out some play-doh, sing a song, or bring out Lego like I used to and distract them until the mood is over. Life use to be so much easier haha.
In the past, when my child was naughty I removed any bonus or luxury items off of him. E.g. phone, tv, Xbox, ipad, toys and still no dice.
Back then, eventually, after trying everything for days, I would absolutely come undone. I wouldI scream and shout like a madwoman. It use to just make me feel like shit (not to mention fill my body with stress chemicals and anxiety). Teenagers just laugh and think this behaviour is crazy. It’s exhausting too Foxies, I can tell you that much.
Nobody explains this to us when we are pregnant. It’s just all sunshine, rainbows, blue birds flying and happiness. Nobody braces us for the dreaded teenage years. They don’t tell you that you have your perfect baby that you give the world to, make your number one priority is suddenly going to become a moody teenager. I feel so whisper-goosed by this!
Not my beautiful little baby boy who loved and adored me and happily gave me cuddles everyday. I used to read him stories and pat his little belly until he fell asleep.
Well I have to tell you ladies that he is long gone and won’t be coming back.
Apparently they change again and love you again when they are in their 20s. That makes me feel happy but it also seems like forever away.
My advice: Sneak in more cuddles and kisses before they get to the dreaded teenage years.
This part of life changes when 13 hits so enjoy the ease and affection while you can! Back then my son thought I was the bees knees. I’m confident he even loved me more than Santa Claus himself!
Accept that they are a teenager and finding themselves.
It’s important to remember it’s not “you”. It is just their life stage and they do still love you, even though it sometimes doesn’t look like it. Note: we can accept their ever changing feelings but what we cannot accept is poor behaviour. Make sure you differentiate the two. Talk about behaviour rather than the person. That seems to work well for me.
For example, “You are my son and I will always love you. What I cannot accept is the poor body language, demands and constant complaints. You seem upset so come back later when you feel better and we can chat about what’s bothering you today. I’m here to talk but can’t be spoken to in that tone.” So talk about the behaviour rather than the child being a “bad boy” or “bad girl” and always calmly stick up for yourself.
Fair is Fair I always say to my back chatting little punk (haha) I will be fair to you when you are fair to me. That seems to have worked a treat. Backchat them Back This one is my favourite haha. Sometimes teenagers will exaggerate their mood or feelings so feel better. They use extremes such as, “you don’t care about me” over something trivial with an obvious solution, so for example, when they don’t get their way about what to have for dinner. Make sure you back chat exaggerate statements like this.
Calmly, slowly and confidently say, “I DO care about you, that’s why I am packing your school bag/making your dinner/folding your laundry…” follow it with a means to move the conversation forward and distract to a more positive subject. “Not long until the school holidays now, I can’t wait to lay on the beach at Noosa. How about you?” Now they are picturing holidays, the beach and having a fun time. Lead the conversation away from turmoil and into the next upbeat topic. I’m not saying it’s easy but once you do this a handful of times it feels like habit.
Always in Mood
Remember that moods are contagious. When you dance this mood dance with a grumpy teenager it’s SO incredibly easy to let their bad mood permeate yours and change the whole vibe of the household.
I always remember that I deserve to have a good day/morning/night so since moods are contagious I will always try to use my good, happy, upbeat mood to lead the way and permeate his grumpy mood instead. If your teenager’s mood takes a hold of yours and brings it down, (and this happens to the best of us when we are tired, run down or simply can’t take it anymore), it changes the entire power dynamic and allows them to lead the way instead of us.
Now what I'm about to share with you is gold. It's so obvious it's annoying:
Moods are a two way street. You know when you're really upset or grumpy and you see your favourite friend and they are happy and excited and in a good mood? Eventually, our bad mood gives into theirs and you're BOTH happy. So always try and have the more contagious, positive mood and use your happiness and joy to envelope the room. Moods have to change, they can’t stay like that forever, so this will work a treat to eventually make them come around. Stay strong and visualise the outcome. No matter how your teenager reacts initially. Try not to doubt your personal power and influence.
Call out Bad Behaviour
With fact and logic, and warmth. I always say, “I am being kind and speaking to you nicely, why are you not doing the same?” This creates a conversation where they have to answer a very logical and simple question. It also helps us to stick up for ourselves, calling out bad behaviour, without being ‘mean’ to them. Easier said than done, but I promise you, you can do it.
Consistency is key - Walk the Talk
I know this next one is hard but always remember to be consistent. If you say “I am taking your phone for two week” make sure that you do and that the phone does not get back into their chow paws until the two weeks has passed.
When you are consistent it demonstrates that you definitely mean business.
Whoo whoo figuring this out makes me feel so smart right now haha.
Stay Calm, then Let Loose
I think it is important to try, if you can, to stay calm in the moment. This feels like I am asking the impossible in the midst of a horrible teenage triad of emotional onslaught. For example, wait until you have dropped them to school and then you can strangle your steering wheel and scream haha. You matter too so it’s important to have your outlets.
Chat to other mothers about the issues you’re experiencing, share stories, it will make you feel less alone and more understood. It’s better out than in but timing is everything for success. Hit the gym, go for a big run and punch that punching bag then when you are home that afternoon and being spoken to rudely you’re able to get into a headspace where you can feel grounded and offer solutions. This is especially important when it comes to boys.
Be Open Minded
It’s all about the location. Go where they want to go and be where they want to be. That is how you will get to know your son or daughter more. Be open minded to the social media, the TikTok videos, the songs they like (which make my ears feels like they are being tortured), let them pick a movie for the family to watch, when you can check out the new cool places they like to hang out, listen and show an interest in their new teenage hobbies.
Watch them play sports, find things you both like to do together. Bman and I love watching movies and going shopping for example. Any common ground, even if it’s just one thing, will be amazing for you both.
Choices Let them make some of their own choices. Some will be bad but this is how they will learn from their mistakes and realise that everything has a consequence.
Of course those need to be guided by you as the parent/guardian. I personally find this one hard as I always want to help my son and not see him upset or struggling.
Once you are a mummy you are forever a mummy. It can be a tough gig and it changes us. We mostly you forget about ourselves and just want to give your child or children the world.
My advice to my son has always been to square his shoulders to task and see the pure elation of hard work and success. Have the courage to ask questions and always been kind (and even more kind to your Mum haha).
Thank you for spending another amazing Tuesday night with me Foxies. I have some big news, I don’t know how you are going to feel about it.
The weekly blog will now become a fortnightly blog.
I know, I know, you love it every week (so do I!).
The reason is that A LOT is happening with The Fashion Fox and my boutique Miss Henry. We have so much incredible digital content in the works and underway for you all. You have no idea how excited I am to keep on creating, developing and start launching what’s to come. I wish I could tell you all what it is, but basically, I have to divide my time multiple ways between so many projects.
What I’ll be doing is continuing to bring you high quality blogs while dipping my toe in 7 more digital projects (yes, you heard that right, 7!). I feel overwhelmed, excited, challenged and ready to spread my wings and grow. It’s going to be a lot of hard work but for the first time in my life I can honestly say I am open, ready and committed to completely shedding all my fears to create something meaningful that will really benefit as many people as possible. That excites me and spurs me on!
So what that means is that our next blog will drop on the 27th April at 5:30pm Australian Eastern Standard time.
Put it in your diaries, add to your calendar, write in on your kitchen whiteboard and see you not next Tuesday but the one after.
In the meantime we have so many other blogs so feel free to scroll through and have a read of them all. All my blogs have a checklist at the end (which you can easily screen shot)and images to help paint a picture.
Aka The Fashion Fox
The Fashion Fox Check List My Top Tips on How To be a Mum to a Teenager
Sneak in more cuddles and kisses before they get moody and grumpy and teenaged
Accept that their moods are not about ‘you’, they are finding themselves
Fair is fair: ask your teenager for fairness (fair behaviours and words)
Backchat them back. With logic and fact as your arsenal, correct and exaggerations they might say with warmth, calm and truth then redirect the conversation
Remember that moods are a two way street. Let your mood be the stronger, more powerful one and that you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to moods at home. If you are happy and upbeat for longer than they are grumpy, they will have to eventually come around. This tip is easier said than done, but it does work.
Always call out poor behaviour, but be kind and non-critical when you do it
Walk the talk. When you say something will or won’t happen, be consistent and never stop being consistent. Avoid negotiating the time frame, the circumstance and just show them that mum isn’t playing around.
Look after your mind and body. Timing is everything. Let out your frustrations through talking to other mothers and through exercise. These both really help me get into a clear mindset. It’s better out than in, but always stay calm when locked in verbal fisty cuffs your teenager.
Be open minded. Empower your teenager to pick a song for the drive and choose a movie for the family to watch. Go where they go, listen to everything they say, watch the Tik Tok videos, encourage them and even if you don’t fully understand the apps and things they love for entertainment just listen, watch and learn. Postpone your criticism and try to seamlessly include yourself where you can.
Choices. Sometimes they need to be free to make their own choices. Some will be great and some will be so stupid. Within reason, they need to be able to learn and grow so they can have long term success in life and develop a good sense of judgement. Try and stay at bay unless it’s a really bad decision.