Those that have teenagers, or have had teenagers and survived, I applaud you! Honestly, there were times when I have felt like I deserved a national public holiday or at least a street parade in my honour for the simple fact that they were alive and kicking at the end of the day.
The slamming doors, rolling of the eyes, the dreaded ‘silent treatment’. Let’s not forget the monotone incoherent mumbling of disagreement that could only ever be translated by another teen, as they skulk away to their room.
So how do you let these delightful beings know that their behaviour or actions are just NOT ON!?!
Sure you can scream like a banshee, but those of us who have had a teenager of the female kind know for a fact, that with the added super power of hormones, they can pretty much communicate with others in another world with their shrieking, so this is not advisable.
I like to think of things a little more creative when dishing out the discipline with teens.
Case Study One
Let’s just say for example Teen #1 is a hot headed ball of angst and likes to express their frustration by slamming the bloody door to their room as they stomp by. There is nothing more frustrating as a parent to hear the walls rattle from this little display. What to do…hmmmmm.
Here’s an idea – take the door off its hinges!! Let them know in advance if they slam the door again, it will be gone. They can get changed in the bathroom so their privacy is maintained. Sure it’s their home – but it’s your house. You pay the bills; you have to pay for any repairs. Once they’ve adequately pulled their head in and resemble a reasonable human again – the door can be reinstated. Not having that SLAM to make their point of how pissed off they really are at you really takes the wind out of their sails.
Case Study Two
The bedroom. A place where often it’s safer just to close the door and pretend what’s behind there doesn’t exist. If you have a ‘slammer’ like Teen #1, and have removed the door – it’s going to smack you in the face every time you walk past like a week old smelly football sock.
Give them warning, because really, you are a fair and reasonable person right?! ‘Clean your room or I will’. The teen thinks ‘Sweet – Mum’s going to clean my room, why would I even bother?’ Nuh-uh. Things get real awkward for them when everything that WAS on the floor of their room is now sprawled out in the front yard for the world to see. IF they want to keep it they have to pick it up and put it away. Sure, the urge is there for them just to throw it in the room and close the door again, but with the threat of repeat front yard displays they soon tow the line.
Case Study Three
Teen #3 – The Internet addict
There are chores to be done, homework to be finished but they are obsessed with the latest teen scandal on social media. Three simple words… hide the modem! No connection = no internet. Viola!!
It’s just hard sometimes to decide on the punishment. If you have the elusive wonderful, pleasant and cooperative teen – hats off to you. That’s wonderful. It really is. Friggin unfair – but wonderful.
If you’re like the majority of us and know the little cute cherub you last seen in the primary school stage will come back to you once the hormones get their shit sorted, you will know, it’s a bloody jungle out there in the parenting teen world.
Now lets just say the behaviour of your teen is a little less than desirable, simple threats – ummm sorry ‘warnings’ can be given. This gives them the opportunity to pull their bloody heads in or face the consequences, such as:
• A nice little blarp of the horn as you drop them off to school with an extremely exuberant good by and wave (if your hair is still in just woken up mode and your Winnie the Pooh flannelette jammies are visible – bonus points to you!)
• Oh those photos you have been keeping from childhood of them that may or may not have been posed for future memories… as a ‘Manteen’ its not cool to have a photo of you posing in a tutu with a crown and bright pink lipstick, blowing a kiss to the camera circulating.
• If you’re keen and just a little more evil have said photograph printed onto a T-Shirt and wear that sucker with pride- at the shopping centre -AFTER SCHOOL!! Mwahahaha
• As some other parents are starting to do – copy the teens posted photos on social media but as yourselves. Nothing like a 40 something in a crop top and a face full of makeup wistfully looking out the window caught in a dream (just resist the urge to start cleaning the aforesaid window once you actually realise that maybe they are supposed to be transparent and not opaque! oops)
If you put in the hard yards when they were younger, they will come out of this stage as a wonderful young adult. Choose your battles to win the war.
There is a lovely little quote that keeps me going through the hard times. It really spoke to my soul. It goes a little something like this…..