No one ever said raising kids would be easy, and when it comes to teenagers, it can feel like it is downright impossible.
Being overly strict and controlling often results in insecure kids who eventually rebel in a big way, and being too lenient can result in wild kids who end up in jail or worse. Even if you are the perfectly balanced parent there are no guarantees.
Whatâ€™s a parent to do?
The best advice I can give you is to pick your battles carefully; have as few rules as possible, but hold fast to the ones you have.
The funny thing is that I have seen parents who really stress about how their kids look and to me (within reason) this is the last area I want to recreate Custerâ€™s last stand.
Keep in mind that itâ€™s during these years that teens learn who they are, what they like, and they develop a unique style and confidence that will carry them through adulthood. While you donâ€™t want your teen daughter wearing micro-thong bikinis, allowing her to have most of the say-so in her wardrobe and make-up choices is the way to go.
My personal philosophy is that if it isnâ€™t indecent, it isnâ€™t permanent, and it isnâ€™t crass, itâ€™s o.k. My two oldest daughters (one is past her teen years at this point) have had so many different hair colors that sometimes itâ€™s hard to remember what their natural color is â€“ but I am pretty sure it isnâ€™t hot pink.
The 17 year old has had hot pink, purple, blue, black, blonde, brown, streaks, and once she had turquoise + hot pink+ cobalt blue.
I did not die of embarrassment and she has not, so far, turned to a life of crime.
Too much of the time we see our kids as reflections of who we are and how we parent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our children are individuals, and our job is to guide them to adulthood, not stamp them out in our own image, the image of who we wish we were, or even the image of who our peers think they should be.
Purple hair is one of those things that kids grow out of eventually. They may take on something else that you dislike as much or worse, but happily, they will eventually grow out of that as well.
We tell children not to judge people by how they look, and then we spend most of our time trying to make our teens conform to a certain look because â€œyou look like a thugâ€ or whatever. Which is it, Mom?Â Do we judge people by how the look or not?
As parents, it is imperative that we show acceptance and pride in our kids. They have a whole world out there to criticize them â€“ they sure donâ€™t need it at home.
You donâ€™t have to gush and lie and say you adore their purple hair or newly pierced belly button, but at least smile and tell that that you think they are awesome even though that new look isnâ€™t your favorite.
When teens are accepted at home, they are more likely to extend acceptance to others. You want to know why bullying has become such a problem? Go to any mall or store and listen to how parents speak to their kids!