Any tips on how to raise a teenager?

I hope you have some – because, frankly, most parents are at sea when their little darlings reach those teenaged years.

These three teenagers turned out great!

Teenagers! These three turned out great

“An alien inhabited my son’s body when he turned twelve, and it didn’t leave till he was in college,” a friend once told me. “It seemed like a long time, but the alien finally departed.” I’ve repeated this wisdom to other friends many times, and it seems to help. When you’re suffering from the throes of your teenager’s angst – often aimed directly at you! – it seems that little monster will never go. Maybe your beloved child will be rude and disrespectful forever!  Well, maybe. But in most cases, your child’s basic personality returns sometime during college. That’s a huge relief.

The women I interviewed for Warm Cup of Wisdom seemed divided on this question.

  • One said, “Your job now is to trust them and let you know you trust them.”
  • Another said, “My children all did horrendous things. Just trusting doesn’t work.”
  • Another said, “I’d go to bed crying a lot because she was just so awful to us.”
  • Another said, “You have to accept them for who they are, not what you want them to be.”
  • And another: “If you try your best, then you shouldn’t beat yourself up about how they turn out.”

The trick is to balance guidance – and they do need guidance during what could be dangerous years – with the need to let go and encourage independence.  With every kid, the balance is different.

What’s your experience?  I’ll bet it’s as unique as you  – and your children.

About dorijonesyang

As a former journalist in Hong Kong, I love writing books that bridge the gap of understanding between China and America. My new book, When the Red Gates Opened: A Memoir of China's Reawakening, will be published in September 2020.
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