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  • Therese

A crash course in parenting teenagers

Not your usual parenting teens advice.


When it comes to parenting, avoid the “Perfection Trap”, it’s hard to escape. Schools, social norms and now social media have lead us to believe that parenting teenagers is a fearful place. But parenting teens makes perfect sense, as it has always done...


I remember a conversation I had over a decade ago with a friend about our then teenagers. You would describe mine as -“easy” and hers, well - not so "convenient"! And I joked, "it's good parenting you know" to which she replied, "you get what you are given". Fast forward ten years and my teenager #2 is now “not so convenient”: Mr 15 has proved that “you get what you are given”.


With all the parenting advice clogging the internet, I choose the parenting theory that is the most convenient for me and I opt for “pick your battles”. That means I don’t need to limit the internet, I don’t need to feed him nutritious food, I don’t need him to tidy his room unless he is agreeable...while my Mum’s words ring in my ears, “wait...just wait...until they leave home”. So for me it’s “Pick your battles” with a “wait and see” parenting approach.


I do some parenting, I try to get to know Mr 15 better, albeit through quick yes and no questions as we bump into each other in the hallway from his bedroom to the bathroom, from his bedroom to the kitchen, from his bedroom to the front door or in the car when I am dropping him somewhere.

I do some parenting, I ask what his new friend is like?

I do some parenting, I tell him not to do drugs, I even explain why.

I do some parenting, I tell him to be kind to his teachers.


I think the secret is to NOT know some of the things they get up to.

I think the secret is to have plenty of yes/no interactions.

I think the secret is, if possible, to have more children so you are too busy with the others to notice...

I think the secret is to not make them wrong - they are confused enough.

I think the secret is to “fix” yourself, not them. I can learn to be more respectful and more responsible.

I think the secret is to find a compliment to combat negative talk.

I think the secret is to not “poke the bear”, teenage-hood is frustrating enough. Let them hibernate.

I think the secret is that they can’t disappoint you because they are being THEM. If you are disappointed, look at yourself.

I think the secret is that friends are waaaay more important than me...just as long as he calls our place home.

I think the secret is to parent as best you can, the rest is up to them, because “they get what they are given” too.

Therese is from a large family with three children of her own. Mr 26, Miss 24 and Master 15. As an educator with many years of experience, she has collected plenty of stories, she uses these and family tales to inform her teaching practice.



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