Teens in High School, and Keeping It Together, Mama

Your teen is starting high school, and nothing you learned up to now adequately prepared you for this new world. Believe me, I’ve been there. Here are some of the tips that have kept things afloat for the many moms who came before you. 

1.    Phone a friend.
The high school years are full of chaos. You ask yourself, “How is this supposed to work, again?” “Where are we supposed to be?” “When are these forms due?” The first item on your parenting self-care list is to call someone with experience and ask for a bit of information. 

2.    Carpool. 
You cannot be everywhere at once. Whether you’re arranging transportation to school daily, or getting to a sporting event on Saturday morning, take care of yourself by not attempting to do it all alone. Reach our and share resources- like ride sharing. 

3.    Step back and plan in advance.
Making a plan in the heat of the moment can feel impossible. It helps to organize your thoughts before the pressure is on. Sitting down and planning for the problems and stressors that will predictably arise will keep your stress level down.

4.    Parental controls.
One of the biggest stressors in the teen years is the advancement of technology. Kids outpace their parents in experience and know-how when it comes to online and smartphone lives. They enter into unknown worlds with potentially bad people, images, or ideas. Technology can allow your teen to have a hidden life, right at your dinner table. Set up controls on the front end to keep kids safe and give yourself peace of mind. If you’re not a techie, the experts can help advise you and set everything up.

5.    Lighten up.
Laughter is often the best medicine for the high school years. One of the best strategies for de-stressing the whole family is to try not to take everything too seriously. Laugh with your teen, and have fun. 

6.    Keep the lines of communication open.
Teens tend to clam up, and high schools aren’t exactly inviting the parents to come in and participate in their kids’ daily lives. (Nor should they be). You’ll need to know how things are going, and your teen is the most reliable source you have. Make time to check in and see what’s up. Whether you listen at the dinner table, or when you pop in to say good night, make time to hear what’s happening in your teen’s world, just in case your help is needed. 

7.    Hugs never go out of style.
Your highschooler is not too old to need hugs on a regular basis. And parents still need them too. Never let your teen convince you that the hugging days are over. 

8.    Make your expectations clear, so your teen can meet them.
Want to see B’s or above? Expect chores to be completed without a reminder? Won’t tolerate sass talk? Whatever your expectations, spell them out clearly. Maybe even write them down and post them on the fridge. Being concrete about the rules increases the likelihood that everyone is on the same page, and you get the behavior you wanted from your teen. 

9.    Budget.
Teens are expensive. Whether you’re planning how much you’ll spend on fast food for the month, or how much you’re willing to pay for a prom dress, it’s important to have a budget. Otherwise the spending can get out of hand and create unnecessary stress. 

10.    Stay close.
Teens start to drift away from the family (and toward their peer group) as they enter the high school years, but they still need a strong sense of family. Make sure you hold on to enough family time to give them a haven to return to, and to maintain the family connections you all need. 

More great ideas? Share in comments, please!

Posted on January 30, 2017 .