10 Ways I Will Parent My Teenager Like a Kindergartener
How will I survive the teenage years? The hormones … the mood swings … the changes my sweet baby will go through as she becomes a young woman. What will I say to her? Will it be the right thing? How will I guide her to handle those tough but very real emotions she will be feeling? Will we get along? Wait, did I just say that? Of course, we won’t get along. She will be a teenager. Am I kidding? So maybe the question should rather be, how will I deal with it when we don’t get along? What about when I’m in a bad mood?
So, I’ve decided that as we enter the pre-teen years and prepare for those special teenage times, I will look to what has worked so far. I will go back to the basics, to what worked ten years ago, to what works now with my kindergartener.
Yes, I know you are laughing. Trust me, I can hear you from here.
“She is crazy if she thinks the teenage years will be anything like the kindergarten years. There are no boy crushes in kindergarten. There are no raging hormones during the daily reciting of the ABC song. She is definitely naïve, and I can’t wait to hear what she thinks about this ‘kindergarten theory’ in another 5 or 6 years.”
I’ll admit it. You may be right. But just for a moment, humor me. Here are the ways I parent my kindergarten and the ways I will also parent my upcoming teenager.
1. I will listen to her.
Just like my kindergartener wants to tell me all about the new letter she learned at school, my teenager will want to know that her opinion matters. She will want to know that I will listen to her and listen to what her feelings are.
2. I will cuddle with her.
A teenager wants to cuddle? Well, actually yes. Just like my sweet five year old wants to crawl in my lap when she’s not feeling well, my teenager will want to know that I will still be there to comfort her when things don’t go her way. She may not admit it, and by ALL means, she will not say it in front of ANYONE else, but … when all is said and done, she like all of us, will want to know that mom is always there at the end of the day. After all, there is no better medicine than your mom’s arms around you.
3. I will be honest with her.
Building trust has always been the foundation of my relationship with my daughters. When my kindergartener asked me why her teacher hadn’t been at school, I told her the truth. I told her that her teacher, who had cancer, was very sick and that we needed to pray for her. I did not tell her that she was out of town or on vacation. I was honest and because of that, she felt appreciated and trusting of my word. My teenager will want the same respect. She will want to know that she can come to me with anything and I will tell her the truth. She will want to know that our conversations are a safe place where we can speak openly and honestly.
Do you see what I mean? Kindergarteners and teenagers are alike in more ways than different. A few others …
4. I will not try to change her.
5. I will respect her personal space.
6. I will let her make mistakes.
7. I will not expect her to be perfect.
8. I will teach her to pray.
9. I will teach her self worth.
And above all else …
10. I will love her.
As they say, everything you need to learn about life you learned in kindergarten, right? So let’s apply those same thoughts to those upcoming teenage years and start practicing now while they are tweens.