Month: March 2017

6 tips to get along better with your teenager

6 tips to get along better with your teenager

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Oh, teenagers. The hormones, the attitudes, the surprising moments of compassion, wisdom and adult-ness they can exude. Parenting a teenager can be more challenging than parenting a toddler at times. They are trying to find themselves and walk a fine line between dependence and independence. They still need us, but they want to believe they can do it all on their own. They seem to think that they know it all, and that we “just don’t get it”. Well, sometimes that’s true.

Teenagers are trying to find themselves and walk a fine line between dependence and independence.

I have a hard time “getting” my teenager (she’s 16, and has a totally different personality from me!) I do try to understand her point of view, but our priorities are polar opposites and sometimes we just end up arguing over little things. It’s quite frustrating, to say the least, but then I remember that this behavior is “normal” for her age, and that this, too, shall pass. Woooo-saaaaaa.

She’s a wonderful kid, and for the most part is much better behaved than most kids her age. We really are quite lucky…well, I wouldn’t say “luck” had much to do with it. I’d like to say it was more hard work on our part to raise her into a respectful, polite and thoughtful member of society. But, she still has moments of unbearable attitude, eye-rolling, and poor decision-making skills.

I talk to a lot of my friends and colleagues about the issues we face with our teenager, and I thought it might be helpful to put some of that sage advice together as a sort of “guide” to a peaceful life with your teenager. Here are 6 tips that may help keep the peace in your home, if it’s been invaded by a hormonal, sensitive teen like mine (we love you, T!):

1. Listen
This is the easy one. If you lend even a semi-interested ear, they will usually open up and start blabbing about everything. My daughter loves to tell us about every outfit she has picked out for every day of the week. She is very meticulous about the way she looks (as most teenagers are). I have never had much interest in fashion and tend to dress more for comfort or function, so she knows that I’m not really her target audience, but she seems to enjoy describing all of the details, so I usually just let her ramble on about it. Occasionally, she starts to feel comfortable in the conversation, and opens up about more serious stuff than fashion and makeup. Either way, it keeps the lines of communication open between us, and I can tell she feels better after our conversation.

2. Don’t be afraid to say “no”
Of course, this is one of the hard ones. It’s so easy to tell them “yes” when they ask to do things. It makes them happy, which (usually) means less attitude. However, we also know that teenagers don’t always make the best decisions, and it’s up to us to help guide them through the perilous journey of life as a teenager. Yes, they will be angry with you. Yes, you will get attitude for it. But, in the long run, they WILL realize that you aren’t saying “no” just to be mean or to ruin their lives. We must always remember that we are their parents, first, and it’s our jobs to teach them how to make wise decisions for themselves.

3. Let them make mistakes
Just as important as saying “no”, is allowing them to make mistakes so that they can learn from them. We won’t always be around to make decisions for them or tell them what to do, and this is the time in their lives that they are developing their adult personalities and learning how to make big decisions on their own. It’s OK to guide them, and to flat out tell them “no” if that’s what’s required, but it’s also OK to sit back and do nothing. They are growing up, whether we like it or not. Sometimes getting hurt or failing is necessary when learning how to adult.

Sometimes getting hurt or failing is necessary when learning how to adult.

4. Give them their privacy
We’ve all been tempted to sneak a peek at our kids’ phones in the rare moments that they leave them unattended. While this is, I’m sure, sometimes necessary in extreme circumstances, most of the time it’s a blatant invasion of privacy. If you can’t trust them, then maybe they shouldn’t have a phone with so much access. If they breach that trust, get them a flip phone. Have open conversations about safe phone and internet use, and it’s totally OK to “follow” them on all of their social media platforms to keep tabs on what they are up to in this techy age.

5. Lead by example
Get annoyed when your teen is texting or browsing Facebook while you are trying to have a conversation with her? Constantly lecturing your kids about texting and driving? Scold them for cursing? Our kids are ALWAYS watching us. They are learning more from what they SEE us do, than what they HEAR us say. So, if you are guilty of glancing over at your phone while your teenager is going on and on about whether she should wear the light wash or the dark wash jeans with this top, try to be cognizant of what you are doing, and leave the phone alone. Watch your mouth around the kids if you have the mouth of a sailor, and really you should NEVER be texting and driving. While I am guilty of checking my phone at red lights, I try not to do that when my kids are with me. Those stinkers are ALWAYS WATCHING.

6. Set the rules, and follow through
At the end of the day, you are the boss. You make the rules, but you also have to enforce those rules. If they have a curfew, enforce it. Set a certain GPA you want them to have? Take away an iPod or iPad or various other electronic devices until the grades start to come up. Whatever your rules or guidelines are, just make sure the kids know them and have consequences for breaking them. Otherwise, there’s no use in having the rules in the first place. Again, keep an open dialog about what your expectations are of them and help them to find their groove. If you feel like you are constantly coming down on them (this happens sometimes), then it’s probably time for a sit-down long conversation about what’s going on in their lives, and how to go about fixing it.


Stop saying you “can’t wait” – you CAN

Stop saying you “can’t wait” – you CAN

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Before I had kids, I would comment frequently that I “can’t wait” to do something. “I can’t wait until this weekend”, “I can’t wait to see you”, “I can’t wait until your baby is walking/talking/etc…” I hear it all the time, and I used to be just as guilty of it.

When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2014, I loved it. I had a flawless pregnancy, and couldn’t get enough of feeling her move inside my belly. People kept saying “I can’t wait to meet her!” or “I bet you can’t wait to get that baby out!” I started thinking about how fast my pregnancy (and life in general) had gone by, and how I’d never have those same intimate moments with my daughter again. I decided then that yes, I can wait. I can always wait. Life is way too short to spend it wishing moments away. We can never get them back.

Life is way to short to spend it wishing moments away.

That’s when I decided to stop saying “I can’t wait”. And wow, what a difference it has made in me, and the way I view my life. I’ve managed to slow time down a little bit, because I pause to think about it every time I would want to say “I can’t wait”. Now, I say “I’m so excited to…” So excited to see you, so excited to go there, so excited to do that!

The omission of the “can’t wait” phrase was one of the best decisions I have ever made. As we get older, time seems to fly by faster and faster. We start to appreciate anything we can do to slow those moments down, even if it’s just a tiny bit. So, join me in my attempt to slow down and enjoy all of the little moments life has to offer. Make the decision to stop saying you can’t wait, because, believe me, you can.

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Family albums – who has time for them?

Family albums – who has time for them?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Some women have it all together. They can keep an immaculate home, have well-rounded, clean and polite children, a healthy marriage, and a productive work environment. Some of them even manage to work out every day, do arts-and-crafts with their kids, and have adorable baby books and photo albums on the coffee table. You know these ladies. You’re friends with them, but you are secretly (or not so secretly) jealous of all they seem to accomplish in a day. I am not one of these women, as much as I wish I was.

My kids are (semi) clean, usually very polite, and I’d say they are about as “well-rounded” as most kids we’ve met. I love my husband, and I’m happy to say he still seems to adore me as much as he did when we first met. That’s pretty much where it ends. My house is a constant wreck, and some days I feel like I’d need to stay an extra 3 hours at work just to catch up. I can usually get a handle on the issues at work, but dang that messy house. And forget about all the “other stuff” like making yearly photo albums, or at the very least, a baby book for my little ones.

Don’t get me wrong, I take the photos. I even go so far as to post the photos to my social media pages to share with my family and friends. That’s not the issue. My phone and hard drive are LOADED with thousands of photos of my family. The content is there. The desire is there. The funds are hit-or-miss. Maybe it’s the motivation that’s lacking.

Maybe it’s not the amount of time that’s the problem. Maybe it’s the time-manager.

Like most people I know, I complain that I don’t have enough time to do this or that. “If only I had more time, I’d get it all done”. Then, I’ll catch myself on Facebook, Instagram, or the biggest offender, Pinterest. Time-suckers. So, maybe it’s not the amount of time that’s the problem. Maybe it’s the time-manager. Either way, if I lost my phone and external hard drive, I would have very little photographic evidence that my children and husband exist.

If I lost my phone and external hard drive, I would have very little photographic evidence that my children and husband exist.

Then, one day, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed (ha,ha), I came across an ad for Chatbooks. This. This was the answer I had been waiting for! With very little effort (or money) on my part, I can get all of my favorite photos printed into adorable little books (60 pages/photos each) and shipped to me! I can make the changes I want to make fairly easily (if I don’t want a photo of last night’s dinner in my family album), right from my phone or computer, and the captions print with the photos. At this time, they are just $8-15/book (depending on soft vs. hard cover), so I figured I can budget $15/month and get a little gift to myself in the mail every month.

Of course, this won’t work for everyone. I’m a sharer, so my Instagram or Facebook feed usually contains all the content I would need already. If you’re a more private person, this isn’t for you. However,  there are now SO many apps and programs available for creating easy, gorgeous and fast albums. It’s just a matter of finding one that works for your liefstyle. If you’ve found one that works for your family,  please share in the comments!


Also, I’m not affiliated with or paid by Chatbooks.

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