I‘m one of “those moms”. The irritating ones who refuse to accept society norms as the status quo. Just because society as a whole says this is the way it is, doesn’t mean that’s the way it has to be. I’m sure many of you would agree with me because homeschoolers, in general, are a very independent-minded group.
That’s why whenever I hear horror stories of teens who suddenly refuse to hug their mothers in public, who quit saying “I love you” and roll their eyes ten times a day, I refuse to accept it. It doesn’t have to be that way, I tell myself. Our teens can choose to rise above the low standards society has set before them.
I believe that, wholeheartedly! My family has been blessed to know several teens who haven’t gone through a difficult phase. It does happen…
It just hasn’t happened in my house yet.
My eldest, a 17 year young man, with a strong work ethic, a great moral compass and a helpful heart, no longer likes to say he loves me. He usually opts to ask his father for advice instead of me. He doesn’t want me to tag along at the movies.
And while I understand he’s becoming an adult, and it’s okay, it’s not always easy. Most days I feel like I’m trying to hug a porcupine.
Have you ever tried to hug a porcupine?? It’s not always easy or fun. But if you are parenting a teen, I’m here to tell you you must hug that porcupine!! Sometimes those who push you away are the ones who need you the most.
So here are a few way to hug that porcupine as painlessly as possible.
Say You Love Them
Never stop telling your child you love them. Even if they roll their eyes or refuse to reply. Say it. Every day.
Be Physically Affectionate
They might not want a full bear hug like when they were 5, but keep the physical touch going. A pat on the back for a job well done, ruffling their hair or gently squeezing their arm – little demonstrations of affection go a long way.
Invite Them Along
Ask them to accompany you on your walk or outing to the store. They may never say yes, but simply being asked could mean a lot.
Encourage your child in their own interests – even if you don’t share the same tastes.
Don’t Deal In Drama
Do your best to stay calm. Teenagers can have a lot of drama. They haven’t yet lived an independent life.
Remind yourself, when your child is stressing about something that seems trivial to you, that it’s not trivial to them. This may be the biggest challenge they’ve faced so far.
Advise When Asked
There will be times your teen will come to you to fix a problem. But generally, only offer advice if they ask for it. Be sparing. Too much advice can feel like judgement to a teen.
Laugh With Them
Laughing together is a great feeling that creates security and trust. Find a way to laugh with (not at!) your teen!
These have worked for me in keeping the lines of communication open between myself and my eldest. Even though he may not demonstrate his love for me, or like all my parental decisions, he knows 100% that he is loved.
How do you stay connected with the teens in your home?