Rebellious teens

I don’t think anyone will argue that raising rebellious teens is challenging for even the best parents.  I once told my eldest son that since there is no book available to tell parents how to react to every situation, the fact that we were winging it was something he would have to accept.   We were doing the best we could with the resources we had.  

My youngest son is now eighteen, almost out of the rebellious teen phase.  We have to patiently remind ourselves that our two oldest sons have made the transition into responsible adults, so the third son will probably get there too.  I am grateful that the rebellious stages we have encountered so far have been quite mild compared to stories I have heard from parents of other families.  

My sister was not so fortunate when her daughter was a teen.  Throughout this difficult time in my sister’s life she shared many of her worries for her daughter with me.  She wondered if she, as a mother, was doing everything that she could to prevent irreparable damage in her daughter’s life.    She learned from experience that the line between helping your children and enabling them is often blurred.  

The purpose of this post is to prove that rebelious teens can and do turn out to be responsible and successful adults.  Although I had heard that my niece had worked hard to get her life under control,  I was thrilled to see the evidence last month when visiting my sister in Texas for her BIRTHDAY.   That is thrilled and proud of both my niece and my sister for their resilience and perseverance.   Married with three children of her own, my niece, now 35 years old, appears to have her head on straight, and is doing a wonderful job of raising her children.

I hope my niece realizes the stress she put on her parents growing up, but also recognizes that her parents did the best they could.  No parent is perfect in their parenting skills.  No parent does the right thing all of the time because no parent knows the right thing to do all of the time.  The lines between helping and enabling do get blurred for parents everywhere.   I hope this knowledge and advice, as well as the fact that her well-experienced mother is a valuable resource, will help my niece when her children become rebellious teens…

 

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Are we Enabling our Children to be Irresponsible, Self-centered and Lazy?

When we give our kids everything they want and do everything for them are we enabling them to be irresponsible, materialistic, self-centered, lazy and immature?  As a parent we should provide our children with the necessities such as food, clothing, a place to sleep, and a roof over their heads.  Throw in unconditional love and moral guidance from infancy through to adulthood and they should have everything they need to succeed in life.

Most parents that grew up with parents raised during the depression feel the need to give their children the things they wanted but never had as a child.   That feeling is understandable; there is no doubt that we all want the best for our children. The problem is, these “things” are just that; toys, phones and other electronic devices, designer clothes, even their own cars, showered on our children do not teach them the valuable lessons and work ethic we learned growing up.  These materialistic things are now expected by our children, but often not appreciated.

Most parents currently raising teenagers could not wait to finish school, get a job, move out on their own and become independent from their parents.  If we went to post secondary school, we paid for all or most of it ourselves. We worked at jobs to pay for our social activities, the latest styles in clothing, and our first cars. Very few of us received an allowance from our parents to help defray these extra costs.  If we did not pay for it ourselves, we did not get it.  We appreciated the things we bought because we worked hard for them.  We also respected the things others purchased because we knew they worked hard for them.  We made mistakes along the way, but almost always learned from these mistakes and tried to rectify them without the help of our parents.  Our parents taught us that respect is earned by choosing the ethical and moral path to success and working hard to get there.  They did not love us any less than we love our children, they just taught us better life lessons.

Many teenagers today do not take responsibility for their actions.  They blame their teachers, coaches or others when achieving less than perfect results.  They get their parents to fix their problems, and the sad thing is we do it!  They often do not look after their own (or our) possessions and have no or very little respect for the possessions of others.  For example, before our sons drove cars, every autumn when we cleaned out our garage to prepare for winter, we would find several bicycles that did not belong to us.  We would ask where they came from, but no one knew or cared enough to retrieve them.

We should stop enabling our children unless we want them to become unsuccessful, immature, irresponsible and lazy adults, dependent on us for way too long.   Provide them with the love, respect and guidance they deserve, but encourage them to spread their wings and earn their own way in the world.  They will be better off in the long run.

Sleep Deprivation: Its Causes and how it Affects your Health…

It seemed appropriate to talk about sleep deprivation today, after we lost one hour sleep by setting our clocks ahead one hour this past weekend in honor of daylight saving time.  I find it simply amazing that one single hour can affect our lives so drastically.  When my children were small, daylight saving time would really send them for a loop, affecting their nap times and altering their internal clocks.  I thought adults would adjust better, but apparently there are a lot of people out there who do not adjust well, with shift workers at the top of the list.  I just heard on the news that within the three days following daylight saving time there are significantly more heart attacks reported.  On the flip side, in the fall when our clocks fall back and we gain one hour of sleep, there are significantly less heart attacks reported…

Sleep deprivation can be caused by hormone imbalance, sleep apnea, snoring, room temperature, stress/anxiety and sleeping conditions.  It is a known fact that sleep deprivation is the most common cause of many health issues affecting both adults and children, and yet I have the same argument with my teenaged son many school nights, about taking his cell phone to bed with him.  His argument is that the phone actually helps him to fall asleep.  I, on the other hand, believe electronic devices of any kind keep the brain stimulated, delaying and preventing a restful sleep.  Sleep deprivation is caused by many things, but I am sure stimulation by electronic devices is way up at the top of the list for many teens and adults.

If you are not getting an average of eight hours (more for children and teens) of restorative sleep a day,  your long term good health may be at risk.  In fact, it is now being suggested that sleep deprivation can be worse for you than lack of exercise….

If you research the causes of many illnesses or conditions including ADD/ADHD, (both childhood and adult forms) anxiety, depression and other psychiatric illnesses, heart problems, type II diabetes, obesity, brain fog, difficulty focusing and/or concentrating, poor/slow reaction time, memory loss, lethargy, irritability, headaches and loss of energy, just to name a few, you will find sleep deprivation at or near the top of the list.

Every part of our bodies need sleep to function properly.  Our cells rejuvenate and grow, our energy levels are boosted, our brains refuel with energy and reboot our memories, our aching joints and muscles repair and strengthen, and our organs release essential hormones, all when we are asleep.

This research has tired me out, I think I will take a nap to rejuvenate!