When Sophie was 11 I did start to freak out, age 5-11 was fine, as a mum I could manage that, however contemplating parenting from 11-16 was a different story. My image of the typical teenager was scary and I felt totally unprepared.
For me, parenting teenagers kicked off on a camping holiday in Cornwall. Sophie was 11 and refining her expertise in stropping and sulking. At 16 I could imagine having a stroppy teenager on my hands and there was no way I was prepared to live with that…!
Back to Cornwall, rather than losing my rag with Sophie I dragged her out and we went for the first of many long walks!
She could strop for England and as we walked, the first 20 minutes in silence…, I tried to get her to understand why she was so stroppy, how it made her feel and how she thought she could stop it. Stropping is never an attractive quality in anyone, therefore I wanted to help her learn how to manage her behaviour.
I suppose my motivation for doing this was selfish, I enjoy a peaceful life and could not face daily battles with a stroppy teenager.
We walked for well over an hour by which time I had encouraged Sophie to reflect on her behaviour, which she admitted she didn’t like but didn’t know how stop it, we mutually decided that whenever she felt like stropping she would jump up and down 10 times……
Much to my relief this worked and after several weeks and plenty of jumping, the stropping reduced to a minimum and now 7 years later I can’t remember the last time she stropped!
Over the last 6 years I have used a proactive approach to parenting. My girls are now 11, 15 & 17, I am still learning how to survive teenagers and think other parents might find some of the lessons I have learned helpful.