Teen Parent Training 101 - 103

I grew up in home where things weren't generally discussed. My parents never had the Birds and Bees talk with me, and we never used anatomically correct words. To even think about such things would make us blush like a twelve year old boy in Hooters. You can imagine how equipped I am to parent teens, based on my past.

And yet, we have teens. And in the coming years, we'll have more. I'm terrified daily that we'll mess them up so badly that they'll be life long failures. I'm hoping that what we learn with Teen Parent Training 101 translates easily to Teen Parent Training 102 and Teen Parent Training 103, but I'm not delusional. The training classes are as individualized as each teen is. Just like raising them as toddlers was vastly different, and yet comfortingly the same.

We thought we were doing all the right things as parents. We ask where they're going and with whom. We give them a time to come home, and make sure their cell phones are charged. We have all their login information for emails and social media sites written down. We talk to them. And it turns out that it's not enough. We learned that kids need adults with them at all times. Adults that we trust, if that adult is not we ourselves. We learned that having login information does no good if we don't actually log in. We learned that a charged cell phone needs it's own set of rules.

And perhaps most of all, we learned that talking to teens is one of the most important things that we can do. Doing more than asking how school was and what they had for lunch is in order. I learned that while it's the most awkward thing I'll ever do, talking to kids about sex is necessary. Mandatory, even. Frequently. Weekly. Daily. Over breakfast. It has to be as easy to discuss as the weather, because kids have to know where they stand on the issue, and why.

And by golly, parents need a lot of Oil of Olay, Clairol and caffeine.

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9 comments:

Brandie said...

My girls are 9 & 12 and think puberty/sex is the most fascinating dinner convo ever. I try not let on how freaked out I am. My biggest worry is that my 12 yo's questions are not appropriate for my 9 yo to hear. Kwim? I don't want her getting more of an education than she needs, yet I want to keep the dialogue open.

Flea said...

LOTS of caffeine. Lots. And lots.

It's the values that worry me. The sex part isn't so bad. The values. Where they draw from and why. We thought we'd taught them. We DID teach them. DO teach them. And now they want to figure things out on their own? Who do they think they are? Independent people with their own attitudes and opinions?!?

Leanne said...

Lord, you've left me with more questions then answers with this post. Good luck! And I guess I'd better start changing breakfast topics - that should get my teens away from the table and out the door faster anyway!

Karen said...

Leanne - that would be an awesome way to get them to catch the bus earlier!

Tara said...

Last night, our teen babysat for us so we could go to an actual parenting class. She said, "Why are you taking a parenting class?" "Um. Because we suck at it," was my stellar response. :)

Cindy said...

I think about this a lot. My kids are grown (our youngest is 20) but it's never too late. We can always keep talking.

(Keri) Auburn Gal Always said...

advil and a little "homemade cough syrup" never hurts either (ahem)

I had the introductory, extremely anatomical talk with my 10 y-o daughter a few weeks ago. She told me she had heard enough.

Tell me more about this Teen Parenting 101 etc. :)

Viv said...

*clamping hands over ears*
"La-la-la-la-la-la, I can't hear you!"

JennyH said...

I dread those conversations coming in a few years....