Sometimes you just have to say no.
Living with a teen is a lot like riding a roller coaster blindfolded. You know there are hills and valleys ahead of you, and likely some sharp curves, and maybe even being turned upside down. You just don’t know when. Luckily there are also some flat stretches where you can stop and catch your breath.
You are the adult.
A few years ago my daughter wanted to go to a party with a boy I didn’t like, or think she should hang out with. I had to say no. My daughter was mad at first. Later she was a relieved that I had told her no. She confided a few days after that she was glad that she had not gone, because there were kids with drugs there. Score a flat stretch.
Sometimes it can be so clear to an adult that our kids are walking into a bad situation. Our the kids just don’t see it. I wonder if I had let her go if she would have told me about the drugs. What are we as parents supposed to do when our kids live in a world where alcohol, drugs and sex for nothing but sex is accepted and OK? Yikes, upside down!
Just say no.
The first thing is, don’t be afraid to say no. If you are uncomfortable about a situation concerning your child, you are the adult in charge. Just say no. You may be unpopular for a day or two, but they will get over it. Some kids want you to help with boundaries, and your no might be what they really wanted to hear. Just don’t expect gratitude about it. Shock alert, this could be a party for a 12 year old. Drugs and sex happen this early sometimes. Mamma knows best.
Get them to talk.
Talk to them about things before they become an issue. Don’t talk about this stuff in a lecturing way, or you will just get teenage shutdown. You know the body is present, but not the brain. It looks a lot like the picture above. I like to talk to my kids when we are driving, it’s not a lecture that way, but they are a captive audience. Start conversations by asking them questions like “was Suzy at that party? What did she say about the drugs?” Try to get them talking to you. If you can get them to talk, remember to listen to what they are telling you.
Let them know that you don’t approve of some of the things that happen at places they want to go. Tell them that you have doubts about them not being ready for the emotional part of a sexual relationship. Let them know that you have concerns about them being able to say no to drugs or alcohol, when all the other kids around them are doing it, and having fun. Encourage questions, and be ready to answer them. You will probably have to explain why you feel like you do. Still no means no, and stick to it unless your kid has given you a really good reason to change the no to a yes.
I know that it’s really hard to be the Mom. I am right there in the trenches along side you. Hang on tight, they are only teens for a season. Remember sometimes Roller Coasters are fun, so look for the joy in the ride.
More resources on this topic:
Till next time….