Today is Savannah’s Sweet 16 birthday! She was born on my 22nd birthday so it’s my berfday too! Since she’s 16 now, I thought I’d share 16 Things I’ve Learned from Raising a 16-year old.
1. RULES WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP YIELDS REBELLION. A good relationship is so important! Take time to strengthen your relationship.
2. SPEND TIME TOGETHER. Like I mentioned above, your relationship is everything so make time to do things together that you both love. We like to watch to watch a show together while eating chocolate every Tuesday night.
3. TAKE YOUR KIDS ON MONTHLY “DESSERT DATES”. For the past 5+ years I check one of my 4 kids out of school an hour early for a “dessert date” once a month. Each kid gets to pick where we go and gets a $5 budget. This is a fun bonding experience that they all look forward to. I try to teach my teens dating tips on our dates too.
4. TALK NICELY TO YOURSELF. Your daughter hears the things you say about yourself and your body so be careful what you say out-loud about yourself. I try reeeeally hard to only say positive things about myself in front of her but she has caught me from time to time complaining about my curvy thighs. Gotta work on that.
5. LISTEN WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. This one’s a hard one but I’ve found that when I take time to listen without judgement or lectures, my kids will openly share their struggles with me.
6. BE A GUIDE ON THE SIDE. I always joke with my kids that I will coach them as their guide on the side but I will not do things for them. I encourage them to do things that they are fully capable of doing on their own instead of enabling them. This is much harder than it sounds because sometimes it’s easier to do things for them, instead of watching them make mistakes.
7. YOUR WARDROBE WILL DOUBLE. Savannah and I got so giddy when she became the same shoe size as me! We love sharing a wardrobe! It reminds me of when I was in college and shared a wardrobe with my roommates.
8. TEENS KEEP YOU YOUNG. Savannah keeps me young by sharing the latest music, trends, along with hair & beauty tips. What will I do when she moves out?
9. LOVE THEIR FRIENDS. Your friends are everything when you are a teenager so show love to your teenager’s friends and make them feel welcome in your home.
10. EXERCISE TO STAY SANE. Some days you’re gonna wanna punch your teenager. Get out your frustrations in a good workout or on a treadmill. This has helped me SO much! I also encourage my teens to workout everyday because they are nicer humans when they do.
11. CREATE FUN FAMILY TRADITIONS & MOTTOS. We have fun family traditions that we do consistently like gag gifts for Christmas, “pig day” (where we eat ice cream for breakfast), special Valentine’s Day breakfasts, Sunday Sundaes, family dance parties, etc. We also have a family motto & scripture that we had our kids memorize. This will help your children feel a sense of community & belonging.
12. FIND OUT THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE. If you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages, you need to. It has changed my marriage and my parenting. Discover your teen’s love language by having them take this test: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/
13. GO ON VACATION TOGETHER. Some of my favorite memories have been made on family vacations. I think it’s so important to play with your kids. They need to see you having fun with them and not just lecturing or nagging them.
14. SAY YOU’RE SORRY & SHARE WHAT MISTAKES YOU HAVE MADE. It’s important to be vulnerable to your teen. Be sure to say you’re sorry when you lose your temper and admit that you were wrong. Also tell your children some of the mistakes you made when you were younger so they can see that you’re not perfect. My kids LOVE hearing stories of how I was naughty as a kid.
15. HUG YOUR TEEN. It’s so much easier to hug an adorable toddler than it is an awkward teenager but they need those hugs too. Savannah loves to sit on my lap (which makes me feel like Papa Elf on the movie, Elf) but she loves it. Don’t forget to tell them that you love them too!
16. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, EAT CHOCOLATE. Parenting teens can be emotionally exhausting. I have a secret stash of chocolate for those hard parenting days ha ha.