I was a great "kid" mom.
Organic baby carrots. Bedtime stories. Music lessons. Biggest fan on every sideline. I did it all.
My kids were happy, sweet, smart and loving. Classmate's parents would approach me in the grocery store to tell me my kids were amazing.
People told me that everything changes when they become teenagers, but I thought I had it covered.
And then the teen years hit.
Almost overnight my oldest went from this kid that did all the "right things"...
...to one that took every opportunity to challenge us.
At one point, my oldest's guidance counselor told us, "I'm sorry. You seem like really nice people. But this is gonna be rough."
He was right. It was.
I just wanted to do right by my kids.
I just wanted to be the best mom I could and help them live up to their potential. But no matter what I did, it felt like I screwing up.
I just wanted to raise happy, healthy, successful kids and not lose my mind in the process.
Why is this so hard?
Two things, in my opinion:
Parent Stress Brain
Society's unrealistic expectations put moms under constant stress. This limits your ability to parent effectively and feels terrible.
Teenagers are different from their younger selves. If you try to parent them the same way, you will quickly become frustrated.
What's the antidote to PSB & bad tools?
You need to learn to separate your thoughts from all the BS pressure that society puts on you as a parent and update your toolbox a.k.a get Parenting Savvy.
Parenting Savvy takes advantage of the latest cognitive psychology and neuroscience advances. Even just 15 years ago we didn't know what we know now about how teenage brains work. You'll spare yourself a lot of anxiety and enjoy a stronger connection with your child if you use the latest tools.
It means having a coach at your side. When I first heard about life coaching, my engineer's brain recoiled. Life coaching sounded a little airy-fairy for my science minded self. But having someone walk me through the situations as they were happening shone a spotlight on my kids' behavior (and mine) in a way that saved me years of frustration.
Once I got savvy, I enjoyed being a parent again.
Once I got clear on my parenting priorities, I was able to step back in ways that felt comfortable. I was able to relax instead of being on high alert for potential problems. And it gave my kids practice solving their own problems while they were still under our roof.
We were able to shift our communication from a morse code of grunts and eye rolls to enjoyable chats. And this continues today. Even though we no longer live under the same roof, I get a call or a text almost every day. Not because they have to, but because they’ve seen something funny on Instagram they think I’ll like.
Because our relationship was so much better I had WAY more influence (and way more fun!). This was important because I knew that our time together living under the same roof was coming to a close. I didn’t want to waste it arguing.
Wait. Are you suggesting I could actually enjoy these years?
Yes, I am.
I took my process-orientated brain and put it to work to find a method to help parents be the best parents they can be for their kids, without losing their mind.
And I know that you can do it too.
When I changed the way I parented my teenagers, we went from fighting to feeling connected. I went from worrying about their next chapters to knowing they were prepared.