It is my very first time parenting a sixteen year old. Every day is brand new for her and I. She gets to be my guinea pig as I figure out this parenting thing. She is an absolute dream to parent, so I’ve been able to ease into this. I’m taking notes for myself just in case I need them in the future.
The biggest challenge I’ve found is the transition between guarding her every move and letting her have a little freedom. I’ve been in hands on mode for so long, I have to remind myself to breathe and give her a little space.
We regularly talk about consequences and expectations. This open communication has absolutely helped her navigate decisions more easily. She knows what her father and I expect, and does not have to guess at what will happen if she makes bad choices. We also reward her for times when she exceeds our expectations. Anytime she proves herself trustworthy, we tell her how much we appreciate her. We also usually stretch her boundaries whenever she proves herself to be responsible. This makes it easy for her to see exactly when she is doing things well.
For example, if she follows the rules about when and how often to text on her cell phone, we give her a free day the next Saturday. She can text her friends until her thumbs fall off if she wants.
The challenges? Now, this is the hard part – she notices every single thing I do. It is different than when she was three and repeated everything I said. Now, she notices my attitude towards people. She picks up on when I don’t want to fulfill an obligation. She can tell when I am annoyed with responsibilities. Once upon a time, I thought watching what I said was hard. Now, I watch my attitude and body language, too.
The blessings? Oh my goodness there are so many! Having conversations with your child about anything and everything – faith, freedom, and pop culture. Their point of view is so unique and so interesting. She keeps me on my toes with the questions she asks. She challenges me in new ways and I love that!
I’m not singing Barney songs with her in the car, but we are belting out harmony to Audrey Assad instead. Now that, is my kind of fun!
We even did a Friday Favorites post together here!