Mummy Social Meets … Parenting Teens

Charlotte (35) is a mum of two teenagers (17 and 13), we recently caught up with her to find out what living with two teens is like.

Thanks for talking to me Charlotte. In your own words please tell us what it is like living with two teenagers?

Thank you for talking to me. Living with two teenagers? I can only describe it as a rollercoaster ride in the dark. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, you don’t know where you are going, what you’re doing and by the time the reality sinks in, it’s outright terrifying.

It’s been a very long time since I was a teenager and I’m ashamed to say that I always think of the Harry Enfield, Kevin and Perry skit when thinking about teenagers… do they really wake up on their thirteenth birthday with a whole new level of ‘sass’?

Ha! It’s been a while for me too. To be honest, the build-up of attitude and sass begins before they reach their teenage years. They’re just more at an expert level by the time they get there haha. They definitely wake up on their 13th birthday believing they’ve got the world all figured out though.

OK, so let’s talk attitude! Teenagers are renowned for having an attitude, and you can hardly blame them! There’s much going on in their world let alone their body, we’ve all been there! So, how do you deal with it? Any advice for others who may be struggling to deal with their teenager’s attitude?

Teenage attitude is a demon for many! I’ve always been fair but firm with my teens. They know their boundaries with me. I have a very good ‘mum look’ that I’ve perfected over the years for when they try to push too far. It’s important to have that line drawn between friend and parent from an early age. Advice I could give? I’m not sure I can. We all have different ways and views on parenting. And I think it depends on the type of teenager you’re dealing with.  As far as teens go, I haven’t had it too bad with mine. All I can do is send out sympathy to parents dealing with highly-strung teens ha.

I should imagine that teenagers bring a whole new sense of worry? What would you say is your biggest worries/fears for your two? How do you deal with this? How do you keep the communication lines open between you?

I’ve already battled through one of my biggest worries as a mum to teenagers and still am. The blog I have on Instagram originally started as a mum of a bullied teen. My

daughter (13) has not had the best experience in comprehensive school and has battled being bullied for two years now. She is in a much better place right now and is surrounded by the most amazing friends. Things have definitely been a lot better for her over the past few months. It has been the hardest part of parenting I’ve come up against yet. I felt so powerless and felt like I couldn’t protect her. It was something out of my control and to see her so broken, felt like I was failing as a mum. But I wasn’t. It was other people failing and we both know that. We are in a great place right now. Another

A worry of mine is drug abuse. The day and age we live in, drug abuse is at its highest and it’s a dark path I only hope and pray my teens do not walk down. I’m completely open with my teens about this. If anything I can be quite brutal in how open I am about the subject. I don’t tiptoe, sugar coat it or make it pretty. I use cold, hard reality in these subjects. I think that is important.

It’s a fine line between being a friend and a parent to teenagers, obviously, you want them to open up and trust you, but you also want to ensure they know you are their parent too. How do you manage this?

I’ve always had such an open and honest relationship with my teenagers. Always explained to them the reasons I’ve had for coming on strong with them when it’s needed. I’ve always listened attentively to them and we’ve always tried to figure out a way to make something work where all parties are happy. It doesn’t always work. There are still teenage tantrums (ha), but it’s life and they know I’m doing it purely for their protection. They respect that… Eventually….

Setting boundaries is something that seems to come hand in hand with having teenagers. You want to teach them responsibility and that their actions have consequences. How to do implement boundaries for your two? Do you have any advice for parents who may be struggling with this situation?

I can only stress that I think in 98% of cases, honesty is the best policy. A teenager is, after all a transaction between childhood and adulthood. I feel that it’s important in these years to always pay attention, listen and talk. Talking in these years is the most important. Setting boundaries and explaining why, I believe, helps immensely. Teenagers, whilst at the time will not rationalise this decision straight away, they do eventually think about it and take on board that you’re doing it because you care.

Mummy Social believes that mummy friends are vital during motherhood, would you say this is still the case when your children hit the teenage years?

Most definitely! I owe my sanity to my friends that also have teenagers! Ha. It’s good to talk to parents going through similar things. Whether it be a friend or stranger you meet through the beautiful power of social media… It’s good to meet people who have your back.

Charlotte blogs under the name mum_surviving_teens on Instagram.  In her own words, it’s a fun, realistic blog I created where people can come and completely relate. From real texts received by my teens. To their drama, sass, tantrums and meltdowns. And how I deal with it. Mostly with humour… Because.. You know.. Laugh or cry

Interview by Danni, Mummy Social Team

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