5 Times It’s Okay to Let Your Teen Break the Rules
By: Robin Stokes
It isn’t easy being the parent of a teenager. But let us not forget, it ain’t exactly a walk in the park BEING a teenager, either. Between the stress of a constantly changing mind and body, societal pressures, and worries about what the future holds, being a teenager can be (dare I say it) totally stressful.
We do our best to make sure that the teens in our lives walk a straight line. We want to keep them healthy, protected, and nurtured in body and soul. When the defining characteristic of an age is a lack of desire to DO just about anything, this can very often feel like pushing a particularly solid boulder up a hill.
Doing so from day to day can leave you feeling exhausted, resentful, and fed up — and the special teenager in your life feeling much the same. But can you let some things slide without allowing them to fall through the cracks? Totally! After all, life is about balance, and while discipline is key, teaching a teenager that life isn’t all or nothing and not to be so hard on themselves is an equally valuable lesson.
1. Flunking a Math Test
Not just math, but any subject, really. Placing less of an emphasis on the grade and more of an emphasis on always bringing their best work and abilities to the table can be transformative. We’re not saying celebrate every F; we’re saying that grades are just part of the whole experience. If they start dreading and fearing tests, they’ll be that much more difficult.
2. Sleeping Insanely Late
If a teenager wants to sleep in until the sun sets on the weekend, by all means. Eventually everyone settles into their own sleep cycle as adulthood comes — there are late risers and early ones. Forcing your teen up before they’re ready just to prove a point will make everyone’s life miserable.
3. Wearing the Same Pair of Pants for a Week
Priorities, priorities, priorities. Teens can be totally looks-obsessed. Anything you can do to help remind them that they AREN’T what they wear can help. That said, if there’s an odor — for the love of God, intervene.
4. Feeling Anti-Social
If your teen is feeling particularly moody, don’t try and force a family moment. It’s important to demonstrate that you respect and understand the need for privacy — this will help build trust and make the time you DO all spend together really enjoyable.
5. Losing Their Temper
Yelling at someone for yelling never solved anything. As maddening as they may be, when they’re yelling, they are expressing themselves. Use it as an opportunity to help them express their anger in a healthy way — furiously explaining why they are hurt and upset is good, better out than in! Hurling insults or punches — never okay.
What do you give your teens a “pass” on from time to time? ACS’ Teen Talk would love to hear what you think. Comment on this blog!