I’m very blessed to have two well-behaved teenagers. So far, we’ve had no crazy parties, no drugs, no arrests…you get the picture. Luckily, my boy (now 19 and at a great college) and my girl (almost 16) are nothing like their parents! I really think the *Love and Logic upbringing, focused on providing children with choices and logical consequences has led to a pretty easy parenting path for our family. Listening, offering options, and following up with consequences for poor life choices have helped my children grow into young adults who understand that they are in charge of their own lives and responsible for their own actions. In fact, parenting with Love and Logic (even when they are teenagers!), having dinner together, and spending a few quality moments in the afternoon are my keys to success.
I can’t emphasize enough how important dinner time is with your kids is. Having dinner as a family can be rough with sports, after school activities, etc, but we somehow made it work. There were years where we had dinner as early as 5:30 PM and the past few years, we have had dinner at 8 PM. During this special time, we’ve always taken a few moments to go around the table and discuss our favorite part of the day or something we learned, and we’ve done this with our children since they were very young. Taking these few moments, within our hectic days, has this has lead to conversation, sharing and insight. As parents, we feel very connected to our kids and I believe they feel the same way.
As a parent of older children, something else I strongly encourage is spending time with your kids in those critical after-school hours. I have been walking my children home and/or driving them home for years. During this time, we talk about every part of their day–the good and the bad. I sincerely doubt I would gain as much information if I were to wait till later in the day and ask for a recap. Of course I understand that this is a luxury, one I am so fortunate to have enjoyed, and that many mother’s cannot do if they work full-time. Of course, it’s my suggestion for those families who cannot do this hire a nanny–one who will love and invest in your children–who will do it for you and relay the really important details you need to know!
At times, parenting teenagers can seem like an overwhelming job, but keeping sight of what is important has helped me as a mother find joy in these years. I hope for the same for all of you.
Ginger Swift, CEO
* Love and Logic is a parenting philosophy founded by Jim Fay & Dr. Foster Cline www.loveandlogic.com