The Teenage Zone: the land where raging hormones rule, where parental advice has zero value and the place where you have to adjust to situations as quick as lightning.
I’ve been welcomed to The Zone three times and they have all been totally incomparable experiences!
We all know that teens come in all sorts and in my case I have the independent early bloomer, the sensitive slow-but-steady grower and the reckless I-don’t-give-a-damn mini adult! The big transformation began when the girls said farewell to their cosy primary school to start their new life adventure at a busy high school. Gone are the pampering days, and say hello to tons of homework and peer pressure!
Like many other teens, my girls are struggling to find their individual identity and as a parent I just have to wait until this storm passes by. If you ever want to develop leadership skills, a family with multiple teens is the place to be! I deal with questions like ‘how do I keep my family focused on our vision without being distracted by emotional changes and how to keep up with different stages of development of each child?’ I’m always wondering what tools fit which child to determine a successful parent and teen relationship.
Here’s how I deal with my different types of teenagers:
The Independent Early Bloomer
Yasmin was in her mind and character much further than her peers. From a young age I’d have adult-like conversations with her and she often took my advice at heart. But being the eldest one often comes with a price: she feels a big responsibility towards her siblings -especially after my divorce- and unfortunately that responsibility also comes with stress and worry.
It wasn’t easy on her to leave her mama and her sisters behind to spend 11 months in USA and I had to convince her to let go of her worries and to enjoy her teen years as much as possible. She’s got a life time ahead to be AND act like an adult!
The Sensitive Slow-but-steady Grower
Jada has always been a daydreamer and gets easily distracted. She is a thinker and doesn’t like to bother other people. She would rather keep her feelings to herself as she hates confrontation and won’t show her unhappiness to the world.
She is the one I have to keep my eyes on and make sure she feels safe to share her feelings and fears. It’s heartbreaking to see when she has trouble sharing her true feelings and in her case finding the right tools and communication to make her talk to me, is a matter of trial and error.
The Reckless I-don’t-give-a-damn Mini Adult
Kaylee is my fire child. Feisty, rebellious and a lot of guts are the keywords to describe her. On the one hand she loves her family, is crazy about animals and has a great sense of humor. On the other hand she is fearless, has problems with authority and school doesn’t bother her at all.
After two ‘good’ children, this kind of behavior came as a shock to me! She challenges my patience and mother skills to the max and for that I’m grateful, even though it can be tough sometimes. But she makes me grow as a mother and as a leader. It demands super quick shifts in my mindset to be able to keep up with her mood swings and to understand her point of view. Finding the right approach to every situation is a big challenge as you just never know what can trigger her mood. Depending on the situation I either show empathy, set clear borders, raise my voice or just let it be. Being a parent to her is never boring!
I find parenthood a non-stop process about myself as my children are my reflection. They remind me every time of my weaknesses and my strengths. This is something that we as parents should embrace and take this opportunity to grow as people ourselves.
Please share with us what kind of teenager you’re dealing with. We are here to help each other!
Let’s all work on that #familyspirit!