The hardest part of parenting is realizing that it is your circus, and those definitely are your monkeys. (Sarcastic Mommy).

Our teens are fun, exhausting and difficult and that may be before breakfast. However, as challenging as it is, watching our children transition into the teen years and young adult years is rewarding and exciting. However, let’s come back to the teen years. We often wonder what our teen is thinking or what our teen wants to share with us. Our teen will share if they feel loved, secure and that as a parent they will listen with curiosity and the desire to understand and mentor if needed and discuss consequences when required and celebrate the victories. Aside from that here are some specifics our teen wishes we knew as their parents.

Your teen needs space and privacy. I know when we see our teen we want to hear all about their day we want to know they are okay. But your teen wants privacy so don’t take it personally when your teen comes home from school and hides out in their room for a couple of hours. The pressure of life wears them out, your teen needs to recharge, process the events of the day. Allow your teen that time, your teen still loves you. By allowing this opportunity to decompress your teen will be more likely to seek you out and share with you their concerns and thoughts.

Every teen messes up, in some way. From failing a class, an exam to totaling a car. Your teen is not perfect and the mistakes are opportunities to learn, although I will share the totaling of a car is an expensive mistake, but having everyone walk away is priceless. Your teen is not perfect and they will make mistakes and disappoint us as parents. Your teen does not mean to, our teens are impulsive, and building their critical thinking skills and learning the cause and effect of their choices. But your teen is learning and figuring things out and let them do that. Be the mentor, and cheerleader. Be willing to step in and take control when the stakes are too high but otherwise let your teen work it out. Remember that growing up isn’t easy.

Our teen will still look for us in the stands, auditorium or bleachers. Show up, just because our teens are craving independence they still want us at their game, their play or tournament. Showing up makes our teen realize that we will always be there for them, cheering them on no matter what. I know that your teen, like mine, may not chat with you and you may sit in the stands, bleachers or auditorium alone but know that your presence has made all the difference to your teen in that moment.

Every teen acts tough but they are sensitive and words matter. Telling your teen they are lazy or selfish is focusing on them, not the behavior. Change the conversation, talk gently and focus on behavior. Is your teen really lazy that they have not taken the garbage out or are they hyper focused on studying for tomorrow’s math exam? Instead of yelling about taking out the garbage ask why they have not taken the garbage out and then decide the pathway forward. We can all agree that yelling and ‘nagging’ at someone’s character does not build the relationship, or get the garbage taken out any quicker.