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Nobody Told Me That! {Tween and Teen}

Since my kids are only 1, 3, 5, and 7 years old, I don’t know much about tweens and teens, but my friend Heather does!  She has two teenage daughters and offered to share a few things about teens.  Thanks,  Heather!  (Also?  She’s one of my roommates for Blissdom.  I’m leaving right!now! to head to Nashville!!!)

  • Having a cell phone, a computer, a driver’s license, and a car are privileges and not rights.  Even if your teenager pays for their cell phone, their computer or their car.  Which, by the way, I highly recommend them having to chip in to pay for these things.
  • Try to plan at least one night a week where everyone is home together.  You can watch movies, order pizza, play board games or just connect as a family.  Really listen to your teenager, because chances are if they think you are listening, they will share.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions and punish them prematurely.  In our house we want the girls to come and talk to us openly.  When things happen I want them to feel that they can talk to me or my husband.  Listen to everything they have to say and then discuss together what you think the result of these actions may be.  Most of the time they come up with a far worse punishment than I could have thought of.
  • Be involved in their school.  While I am not at the middle school and high school volunteering everyday like I did when they were in elementary school, the office staff at both schools know who I am and know that I will take full advantage of their open door policy.
  • Don’t buy the supplies that the school sends home.  The middle school and high school teachers always send home a different list and the stuff you bought won’t even be on it.  Yes, they may get extra credit for bringing in some of those things and while it may seem silly to you, sometimes an extra box of kleenex or a bottle of hand sanitizer is the difference between a B and an A.
  • Your teenager will be hungry when they get home from school because they used their lunch money to buy gas or soda or are saving it up for something special.  I remember doing the same thing, I am sure you did too.  Just make sure you have lots of healthy stuff for them when they get home.
  • Encourage them to get a part time job.  While I know that we would want them to focus on school and extra curricular activities, it is good for them to get a job, even if for a few hours a week.  They will learn new things and have a greater appreciation for your money. Trust me.
  • When they want to give something up that they have been doing for a long time (scouts, sports or other activities) let them.  Chances are good that your teen isn’t going to make millions of dollars off of whatever they are doing that they want to give up.  Talk to them and understand why they don’t want to do whatever it is anymore.  As heart breaking as it is for you, know that in the end they will be happier.
  • If they are driving make them have a deductible saved up in case they get into an accident.  It helps them to save and teaches them responsibility.  And if they happen to get into an accident, have them use it or part of it to help pay for repairs.  I know that they have worked hard for every dollar they have saved, but you have too….don’t sell yourself short.
  • Enjoy the little time you have left with them.  Know that they love you and do respect you, even if it doesn’t always show.