Thanks to If Only They’d Told Me follower Robyn McIver for offering to share some tips and insight on what to expect in the teenage years. I sent her 5 Questions and here’s what she had to say…
1) Tell us a bit about your life with Teenagers
I am a mother of three, boy 19 working and is flatting, girl 17 in her last year at school, boy 15 in year 12. I am divorced but have have a wonderful partner of 8 years who is “additional parent” and came into the fold when they were around 9, 11, 13. Your role as a mother changes when your children become teenagers, you go from being an ATM on wheels to a night time taxi driver, back to sleepless nights the difference is they are not in the room next door, in fact you really don’t have any idea where they are once they leave the house and with mobile phones in play their plans change all the time. I choose to pick my children up from parties so I know where they are and what state they are in. I do not and will not supply my children with alcohol this is the biggest challenge along with drugs and the difference in parenting styles varies hugely on this issue of supplying alcohol to under 18’s. In some ways even though they are older you need to keep a bigger eye on them, its difficult finding the balance between protecting them and letting them find their own way.
2) What’s one thing you wish you’d been told about parenting in the early years?
Parenting 0-5’s is at times overwhelming especially with the first baby as it doesnt matter how many books you read it does not prepare you for the physical and mental side of becoming a mum. I wish I had been told not to expect to be able to cope, as it maybe one of the most wonderful times in your life but it can also be one of the hardest.
3) What 3 tips do you have for parents with kids in the ‘middle years’ 6-10
Parenting 6-10 I like this age group as they are independent to a point but you are still in control and you still make all the decisions on their behalf. So my tips are enjoy this age group while you can it passes very quickly. They have developed their own personalities well and truly by now so start to think about what schools may suit each child, same sex schools, sport orientated school, or academic schools, I think by the time they reach intermediate level this is important, primary school should be fun.
4) What ‘stage’ of parenting have you found the most challenging?
The pre-teens I think are difficult 11-15 as they are no longer young children and they are not adults either and age restricts them on things they can do legally. I have noticed with my own that some of them are far more advanced than others, emotionally, sexually, and some of them will push the boundaries wanting to go out late etc, I think you need to get things firmly in place by the time they are 14 so they know what you will and will not allow, its difficult to say no and can cause major upset in the home, as they say pick your battles carefully.
5) What ‘stage’ of parenting have you found the most rewarding?
I think there are rewarding parts during all the stages, of course the fist words and the first steps and all those things are great, it is also rewarding when the come to you as young adults and ask for your help cry on your should with a broken heart etc. Some times they seem few and far between especially when dealing with teens, but most kids are good kids and eventually come right.
I dont think you truly know the meaning of the following words until you have been a parent: worry, unconditional love, hope, anger, disappointment, patience, and unfortunately money does not grow on trees.
Thanks Natalie for the opportunity to answer your questions, here are alot of mums out there who have a wealth of knowledge, because at the end of the day
Regards, Robyn McIver
Thanks Robyn for sharing your story and tips!
We totally love hearing from you our wonderful If Only They’d Told Me ‘followers’. Please comment with your tips or questions. And if you want to thrive in the ‘early years’ then definitely get our If Only They’d Told Me book Ideal for parents with a child age 6 and under!