Parenting of Teens is Tough Work

Years ago, in my continuing quest to figure out parenting, I actually took a 6 week-long parenting course from an organization called, the “Parent Project”. It was a great program, and if you are having issues with pre-teens or teens, especially related to behavior and attitude, I promise you that you will get at least one extremely helpful thing out of it. After taking the course, I wrote the following poem, which uses some of the terminology specific to the class…but you’ll get the idea…(and no, I still haven’t figured parenting out and probably never will…)


Love and affection… seems simple… and yet…
We need to remind ourselves to say “I love you”, daily. With all the drama, sometimes easy to forget.

Our strong-willed teens… high on hormones, and living only for the day.
Always thinking of just themselves, emotionally, it must always be their way.

We try to influence versus control, we’re role models after all.
But it is hard not to lecture, that we want them to stand, not to fall.

One panicked parenting moment becomes “grounded for life”, this “Death Row” mentality creates utter rebellion!
Positive strokes are quickly tossed away, when your teen’s voice continues yell’in..

Their world is full of consequences, why is that so hard for them to comprehend?
It isn’t just parents being hard to deal with, consequences will come from teachers, bosses…a friend.

We learn to take away their favorite things as “punishment”; and then deal with “that’s not fair” screams.
A patient parenting phrase, “take as much time as you need,” takes a lot of time, it seems.

Arguing: “If one won’t, two can’t”, we try to be the “one”.
But when our child blows in anger, walking silently away is tough, and not easily done.

We learn to prepare ourselves for the worst, a trick to minimize the shock at hearing news.
Finding the right time, taking deep breaths, we hope for opportunities to “connect”… we will not lose.

Zero tolerance for some things! Active supervision, spot checks, perhaps…too.
It isn’t that we’re being mean. It is just that as parents, it is what we must sometimes do.

School is important, it is vital to the options teens will have. School attendance, school performance, all so key!
We don’t get why it is so hard for kids to understand…that… it is the lens by which others measure them and judge who they’ll be.

Drugs, gangs, smoking, truancy, disrespect… The worst of the multitude of problems teens’ parents face today.
Body piercing, tattooing, all the technology and violent media. It’s tough to decide what’s not, and what is, ok.

Behaviors we want to see include: Respect, accountability and a good attitude.
The reality may be: Tempers, bad language and our teen just being rude.

We may laugh a bit while discussing dating rules. Sex. Scary, but not as scary as peer pressure, to me.
The wrong friends, it sends a shiver up a parent’s spine… the right friends can help keep our kids safe and problem-free.

My friends who have teenagers are so important, and give me wise advice: How to support, how to listen, how not to preach…
What punishment is fair, what might be too harsh. Guidelines on when to step back, and when to reach.

I visualize and sketch out my perfect world, the words, “no drama,” “respect,” and “peace” are written down.
My perfect world picture depicts no attitudes, no broken rules, no foul language, no parental frown.

But I know the perfect world may never be, but I love my teens just the same, and am full of hope…
Everyday, as they grow, I see signs of maturity and positive change. And that glimmer of change is what helps me cope.

Check out the Parent Project for information on their classes and workbook…and just remember that they grow up, mature and figure it out…eventually.

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