As we say goodbye to 2018, I am swearing off the behaviors that made my life and the relationships with my teens more stressful. I have had days where messy rooms launched me into a tirade and moody shoulder shrugging triggered a full out lecture.
So, I am waving hello to 2019 with actions that will improve my sanity and my parent/ teen relationships. I am looking forward to feeling calmer and centered in the new year and being a better parent of teens.
Here’s what I am saying goodbye to:
1- Procrastination — By role modeling procrastination and making it okay when I see my teens doing it, our household grapples with more stress and late nights than necessary. So goodbye to this bad habit!
2- Frenemies — Social media can encourage teens to believe someone is their friend, until that person relentlessly posts photos that make my son or daughter eel excluded or less than. So I am encouraging a friend purge. Goodbye to those “Instagram friendships” that lead to hurt feelings and offering comfort that comes across as “mom doesn’t get it.”
3- Unsolicited advice— Sometinmes I just can’t help myself and start doling out advice to one of my teens that I know he or she will ignore. Then, part of me gets resentful when they pay no attention to my wisdom. So, I am going to TRY to only give my guidance when asked, or figure out a way to make my point without it sounding like I am giving advice. Goodbye to lots of self-imposed aggravation!
4- Fighting over phone use — Teens can’t put their phones down. They just can’t. They also can’t hear their parents voices when they are on their phones. This leads to a lot of frustration in my house. My husband goes crazy when my son is scrolling his Instagram instead of coming to the dinner table. Realistically, teenagers aren’t going to break their phone addictions, but setting boundaries for phone use should help in 2019. So goodbye to some of the arguments!
5- Guilt— Recently I was having conversation with my daughter when she brought up how calming our dog that passed away had been and how anytime she felt anxious she would just pet the dog. I realized she was trying to guilt me into getting another dog. Teens are great at playing on parental guilt. And, it’s so easy to fall into their trap. I know guilt has led to more than one “yes” this year that should have been “no.” So in 2019, goodbye to saying yes out of guilt and regretting it later.
Here is what I am saying hello to:
1- A healthier lifestyle — I have made frozen pizza for my family for dinner on more than one night this year. My son Garret will leave for college in the fall so I want him to have good eating habits, and I want to adopt them, too. I am coming up with quick, easy meals and stocking my pantry with healthy snacks. Hello to healthy eating in 2019!
2- Listening— I get so frustrated when I think my teens aren’t listening to me, but sometimes I don’t fully listen to them. In fact, sometimes I rush in too quickly to tell one of my teens they can’t do something before I really know what they are asking. So in the new year, I intend make eye contact and truly listen. I recognize as a parent that unless you ask open-ended questions and listen carefully, you can miss important clues to their state of mind. Hello to showing genuine curiosity in what they are saying, staying focused and listening!
3- Independence — Okay I admit I am one of those parents who makes my teenager’s haircut appointments, calls in prescription refills and rushes in to make them lunches. This year I am going to teach them to do more things for themselves, especially my older son who is in college and should be fully independent.
4- Fun – How often do you have fun with your teenager? When my kids were younger I used to act out plays with them or play board games together. Now, life is activities, school, and survival. In 2019 I am going to dedicate one day each weekend for fun, even if they have stuff going on. It only takes about 15 minutes for a short bike adventure or even a video game match.
5- Zen — With teens, there is so much stress. It starts with school stress and the crazy amount of homework, and it carries on to the angst over being part of certain friend groups. Towards the end of last year, my high school senior, Garret started going to the gym regularly, and so did I. Just that one thing helped with the stress in our home. I have been hearing about apps that are calming and aromatherapy machines. I am going to be all about zen this year and finding ways to bring more of it into my household. So hello to more calm!
We’d love to hear what’s on your agenda for 2019. Tell us what you’re leaving behind or saying goodbye to — and what you are welcoming and saying hello to in the new year. If you can relate to any of my goodbyes or hellos, let me know that too! Leave your comments below!