As single parents, it can be overwhelming having every aspect of home life on just your shoulders. You may be constantly worried if you’re doing enough.
- Are they happy?
- Are you giving them everything they need?
- Are you enough to compensate for the missing parent?
It’s a constant cycle of doing the best you can and worrying if your best is enough (good news, it is). While it was less of an issue when they were small, now that they’re going through the journey to adulthood, things are changing for both of you.
It’s a difficult time, but while teens are navigating adolescence, there are some things that you can do as a parent to maintain the peace.
Timeouts Never Go Out of Style
The key to maintaining your sanity is to remember that you have needs as well. You can become so lost in the need to give your teen everything that you sacrifice too much of yourself.
Good parenting is realizing that you must take care of yourself as much as your teen. When you suffer, your parenting suffers. Below are a few good ways to make sure everyone is getting what they need.
- Take time when you need it.
When they were toddlers, timeouts for misbehaving was the name of the game. Now that they’re teens, however, it’s you that needs the timeout. It can be too easy to react out of the massive amount of emotional stress you’re feeling, which only feeds into a teen’s need to argue.
If a conversation has blown up, don’t be afraid to stop it. Make a plan to come back to it later that evening and find a place to cool down and think things over. Collect your thoughts and really consider the point you want to make before continuing the conversation.
- Maintain established boundaries.
Teens are learning boundaries and pushing to see what they can get away with. It’s natural and an expected behavior. No matter how angry you get, don’t discipline out of anger. Make sure the consequences are clear and accurately reflect the crime. Most important is the follow through: you need to set consequences that you’re comfortable with. If you take away your teens driving privileges, be sure taking them to their activities is something you can commit to.
- Do things together.
When you’re overwhelmed with work, cleaning, cooking, making sure they’re doing their schoolwork, and a laundry list of other things, it can be too easy to drowned in the responsibility. When this happens, the relationship can suffer and devolve into constant nagging and arguments.
Make sure you take the time to do things together that you both enjoy. Get his input and see what he wants to do. Find common ground you can bond over. Your teen is changing—get to know the man or woman they’re becoming.
Keep up the good work
The fact that you worry shows you’re on the right track. What your teen needs is the love and care you provide. Know that you’re enough—more than enough; and you’re capable of doing all of this well.
Maintain established rules and a routine. Take the time for you to bond, and know that even if things get out of your control, you’re not alone.