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5 Times It's Okay to Let Your Teen Break the Rules

Posted by on Jan. 15, 2014 at 11:46 AM
  • 10 Replies

5 Times It's Okay to Let Your Teen Break the Rules

by Rebecca Stokes

passIt isn't easy being the parent of a teenager. But let us not forget, it ain't exactly a walk in the park BEING a teenager, either. Between the stress of a constantly changing mind and body, societal pressures, and worries about what the future holds, being a teenager can be (dare I say it) totally stressful.

We do our best to make sure that the teens in our lives walk a straight line. We want to keep them healthy, protected, and nurtured in body and soul. When the defining characteristic of an age is a lack of desire to DO just about anything, this can very often feel like pushing a particularly solid boulder up a hill.

Doing so from day to day can leave you feeling exhausted, resentful, and fed up -- and the special teenager in your life feeling much the same. But can you let some things slide without allowing them to fall through the cracks? Totally! After all, life is about balance, and while discipline is key, teaching a teenager that life isn't all or nothing and not to be so hard on themselves is an equally valuable lesson.

1. Flunking a Math Test

Not just math, but any subject, really. Placing less of an emphasis on the grade and more of an emphasis on always bringing their best work and abilities to the table can be transformative. We're not saying celebrate every F; we're saying that grades are just part of the whole experience. If they start dreading and fearing tests, they'll be that much more difficult.

2. Sleeping Insanely Late

If a teenager wants to sleep in until the sun sets on the weekend, by all means. Eventually everyone settles into their own sleep cycle as adulthood comes -- there are late risers and early ones. Forcing your teen up before they're ready just to prove a point will make everyone's life miserable.

3. Wearing the Same Pair of Pants for a Week

Priorities, priorities, priorities. Teens can be totally looks-obsessed. Anything you can do to help remind them that they AREN'T what they wear can help. That said, if there's an odor -- for the love of God, intervene.

4. Feeling Anti-Social

If your teen is feeling particularly moody, don't try and force a family moment. It's important to demonstrate that you respect and understand the need for privacy -- this will help build trust and make the time you DO all spend together really enjoyable.

5. Losing Their Temper

Yelling at someone for yelling never solved anything. As maddening as they may be, when they're yelling, they are expressing themselves. Use it as an opportunity to help them express their anger in a healthy way -- furiously explaining why they are hurt and upset is good, better out than in! Hurling insults or punches -- never okay.

What do you give your teens a "pass" on from time to time?

by on Jan. 15, 2014 at 11:46 AM
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Replies (1-10):
atlmom2
by Susie on Jan. 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM
Not really ever with those or rare. Sleeping in past 10 didn't happen here unless they had friends over and up late.
F is not acceptable. Now my oldest did spend hours on biology lab reports. She got an F or D-. Spent hours redoing it and turned them in again. Got a D maybe. That I let slide. No matter what she did for that teacher it was a D or F.
Mine just didn't want to wear the same pair of pants twice.
Oldest was social and youngest was shy but never anti social. We moved a lot so both knew how to be social and make new friends.
Always called out for yelling. Still call my adult children out for it.

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bizzeemom2717
by Jen on Jan. 15, 2014 at 1:02 PM
Ehh I disagree with the grade thing if it's on a final HS report card because 1 D or F will keep you out of your first choice college no doubt. On a test maybe if you put your full effort into it. My kids don't yell at me but I do understand everyone has a right to certainly have an off/bad day.
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cybcm
by Bronze Member on Jan. 15, 2014 at 3:33 PM
3 moms liked this

None of those are rules in our house to begin with.

I don't believe in universally high grades, to me that makes no sense. Everyone has academic strengths and weaknesses and that's okay. If my 17yr old gets a C or a D in science then, okay, if he gets a C then that's pretty amazing and I know that he has tried very hard, that said, if he gets any less than an A in music theory,   literature or history then I am going to be concerned, because that's not like him at all. On the opposite end if my 12yr old started getting lower marks in science or math I would be worried, but she pulls pretty constant D's in art and the less we speak about drama the better, but you know what, just like my 17yr old son isn't going to be a scientist, my 12yr old daughter isn't going to be an artist or an actor, and that's okay.

We all get tired, we all have different schedules, as long as you're up for the things you need to be up for then I don't care.

I lose track of how often I wear my jeans in between washes, so I guess they do too, I have 5 kids, I really cannot keep track of how many times a particular pair of pants is worn.

Everyone feels anti social from time to time and everyone is deserving of space when they feel that way. Why would I want to force time with someone who is in a bad mood anyway? That doesn't sound fun.

Everyone loses their temper, so do I, so does their father, when it happens we take a break from each other and reword what we are saying when we are calmer. No one is ever 'called out' for being upset or angy, normal, human emotions are not anything to have to explain yourself over.

drfink
by Emily on Jan. 15, 2014 at 10:33 PM

 In h.s. those grade situations don't happen.We expect them to try and when they try the grades follow.

Most of mine are sleepers so seldom do they stay up so late they sleep till noon.Almost always up on their own by 10 or 10:30 .

Clothes haha ...I have had to learn to let my 17 yr old wear shorts with a heavy jacket to school.Fortunately we don't get that cold very often but if he wants blue ,goose pimpled legs they are his legs.

Moods are ok .They happen but no cussing or hitting here ever.

christsgirl674
by on Jan. 15, 2014 at 10:38 PM

This is EXACTLY how I feel.

Quoting cybcm:

None of those are rules in our house to begin with.

I don't believe in universally high grades, to me that makes no sense. Everyone has academic strengths and weaknesses and that's okay. If my 17yr old gets a C or a D in science then, okay, if he gets a C then that's pretty amazing and I know that he has tried very hard, that said, if he gets any less than an A in music theory,   literature or history then I am going to be concerned, because that's not like him at all. On the opposite end if my 12yr old started getting lower marks in science or math I would be worried, but she pulls pretty constant D's in art and the less we speak about drama the better, but you know what, just like my 17yr old son isn't going to be a scientist, my 12yr old daughter isn't going to be an artist or an actor, and that's okay.

We all get tired, we all have different schedules, as long as you're up for the things you need to be up for then I don't care.

I lose track of how often I wear my jeans in between washes, so I guess they do too, I have 5 kids, I really cannot keep track of how many times a particular pair of pants is worn.

Everyone feels anti social from time to time and everyone is deserving of space when they feel that way. Why would I want to force time with someone who is in a bad mood anyway? That doesn't sound fun.

Everyone loses their temper, so do I, so does their father, when it happens we take a break from each other and reword what we are saying when we are calmer. No one is ever 'called out' for being upset or angy, normal, human emotions are not anything to have to explain yourself over.


simplytess
by Member on Jan. 16, 2014 at 7:38 AM

I agree in principle, but the test thing, well that would depend on whether the test contributes to the final grade or not.

If it's just a pop quiz, I wouldn't make a fuss, but if it's a test that will count towards a final grade, I would care.  Unless of course, he would have the chance to make the test up, then I'd be relaxed about it.

chattycassie
by Bronze Member on Jan. 16, 2014 at 2:03 PM

 If my child wanted to wear the same clothes for a week we would have issues. That is just gross.

fantasticfour
by Grumpy on Jan. 17, 2014 at 7:14 AM

 Once in a while, these things are ok.  Yelling is not.  You want to yell, go to your room and yell.  I don't want to hear it.

Hannahluvsdogs
by Bronze Member on Jan. 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

3, 4, and 5 I don't care about. And 2 isn't really an issue because I enforce bedtime, even on weekends. But getting an F is absolutely not acceptable, for my kids. I know they can do better.

bexsmum
by Bronze Member on Jan. 17, 2014 at 6:42 PM

One test or assignment during the school yr is no biggie everyone has bad days and sometimes they just go blanl. Could happen to anyone. As for sleepoing late my DD takes and DS number 2 take after me and could sleep all day and be up all night. We are night owls and thats just the way we are. The clothes they wear them not me and if they want to wear something until it walks to the washer so be it,just don't wear it if it stinks in my precense.Everyone has times they are anti social and get angry if we didn't we wouldn't be human

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