A lot of parents dread the teen years. I personally think teenagers are fantastic. In my experience as a high school teacher, teenagers can be some of the smartest, sweetest, funniest kids out there.
Don’t let the thought of your little ones becoming deodorant-wearing, acne-ridden adolescents drop a dread bomb in your stomach. There are so many great things about teenagers to look forward to! But if you want a leg-up in raising them, here are a few tips you can employ now to get ready for teenagers.
6 Ways You Can Get Ready for Teenagers Now
1. Get your kids in the habit of doing chores the right way.
Teenagers can be a ginormous help. They are capable of scrubbing a toilet sufficiently and can successfully take the garbage out. You’re going to be so glad you have one, if they’re in the habit of doing chores correctly. If you want to have highly effective teenagers, start right now while your children are young, and get them in the habit of doing chores. And not just doing them—doing them correctly. Kids who stuff their clothes under the bed now without correction will do it when they’re older too.
Although the thought of teaching your nine-year-old how to do her own laundry is daunting, doing so now is like mailing your future self a million dollar check you can cash later.
2. Teach them how to prepare simple meals.
If you don’t want to be a short-order cook your entire life, start teaching your kids right now to plan and prepare simple meals. Children as young as 2-years-old can begin by sidling up to mom or dad in the kitchen while they prepare a meal. As your kids get older, let them spread the peanut butter and jelly on two slices of bread. You can teach them how to boil noodles for their own mac and cheese or how to man the griddle for pancakes. Not only will you save yourself a lot of cooking in the future, but you are teaching them valuable life skills that will carry them through college and on to adulthood!
3. Listen to them now (so they’ll know you’re listening later).
Usually the biggest riffs between parents and teenagers stem back to miscommunication. One of the greatest things you can do to get ready for teenagers is to listen to your kids now. If little Johnny is patting you on your knee saying, “Mommy, watch me,” put down your phone, pause the vacuum, and give him your eyes and ears.
Parents who actively listen to their children when they are young will develop a trusting relationship of open communication. If your kids know you’re listening now, they are going to know you’re listening later when bigger issues arise.
4. Clock in lots of family time.
When they are young, children beg for family time. They want to go on bike rides with mom and dad. They want dad to jump with them on the trampoline and mom to play Candy Land with them. And then something happens when they become teenagers. They gravitate closer and closer to friends and mom and dad become those weirdos who pay their internet bill.
I think we all want our families to be close, from the time they are little through their teenage years and on to adulthood. Although you can’t keep them from choosing friend time over family time when they’re teenagers, you can build a strong family foundation now so that they’ll want to hang out later. So that they know family matters. Clock in lots of family time—go on bike rides, have family picnics, go camping, and hold family board game nights. The time you invest into your family now will have a huge payoff in the future.
5. Get to know their unique personalities and how they tick.
It’s surprising how vastly different each child in your family is. Kids definitely come with their own built-in personalities and start flexing those personalities early in life. To prepare yourself for teenagers, get to know your child’s personality now. Is he an introvert? Does she vocalize her opinion freely?
Knowing your child’s unique personality will help you understand them better when they are teenagers and hopefully lessen those adolescent blow-ups we’ve all heard about.
6. Start stretching your mental muscles.
The most common piece of advice I hear from parents of teenagers is to get mentally prepared. Where small children are physically taxing, raising teenagers is mentally taxing. Instead of chasing them around and pushing them on swings, teenagers come with the worry of where they’re at and who they’re with at all times. Where the biggest disaster to a small child is a scraped knee, teenagers come with more scary issues like drug and alcohol experimentation and online activity.
With small children, you can stretch your hamstrings and deltoids after a tough physical day, but with teenagers, mental preparation is a lot tougher. The best way to stretch your mental muscles to get ready for teenagers is to know the issues that they’ll be facing. Stay abreast on social media. Know the lingo that teens are talking. Although these things will rapidly change, do your best to know what’s going on the the world your teen will be growing up in.
Having teenagers is nothing to dread. For how amazing your children are now is just as amazing as they’ll be in their teen years. Have any more great teen insights? Please share them with us below!
Looking for more inspiration for raising teens? Check out these ideas: