Working mom and the challenging teenager

What do you do if you are a working mom raising a challenging teenager who is heavily influenced by his peers, the culture and ignore many of your values? I have one of those, and boy is he a lot of work! He has been keeping me busy and away from my blog 🙂
Here are some of the steps I take. They might be controversial to some new age parents, but might appeal to others, read on.

What are some challenges?

  1. Monitoring his activities. Lately my teenager had gotten involved in what’s called the sneaker game, he used his money to buy “cool” sneakers, wore them for bragging rights, then tried to put them back on the market. This was a shocker as it’s a dangerous activity, plus it’s totally against my value system.
    On the buying side, I refuse to accept that a teenager should spend $200 for a pair of sneakers, I don’t care if the money was saved from grandma, birthdays, or earned. On the selling side, I think the kids who buys these sneakers for status are being exploited, and I won’t allow my kid to be a part of that even if he makes a profit. Who knows where this activity could have lead, and what dangerous people he could have gotten involved with if I had not been vigilant.
  2. Monitoring his text. Some of you might disagree with me here, but it’s my personal opinion that until they start paying for the phone, and the bill, or reach 18yrs of age, I reserve the right to monitor what is sent or received. We have had many fruitful and valuable conversations around some the texts that are exchanged. Some of these texts were hints that lead me to the ongoing shoe buying/selling activity.
  3. Monitoring his friends. I try to meet all my teenager’s friends and their parents. These are not always folks who would normally be in my social circle, but I have to make the effort if I want to know what his environmental influences are outside the home.
  4. Having meaningful conversations. I don’t like monosyllabic answers, and I don’t allow him to get away with just “ok”, “hmhm” or “good”, I always like to probe for more. I can tell when he’s have a bad day and just don’t want to talk right then, in those cases, I will let him have his own space, but since every day can’t be bad, I do expect to have conversations, and we do. When riding in the car, just the two of us I don’t accept the headphones on, I actually consider that to be quite rude. I ask for them to be off and encourage conversation, you’d be surprised how soon the annoyance goes away and we connect with each other.
  5. Monitoring the grades. Have you heard, “mom everyone failed, so a C is actually good.” Well, no it’s not! I am very involved in my kids’ school, but not in school work, I expect my children to be self motivated and driven so I step in only as needed, so this makes the grades monitoring a bit hard, as on one hand I am trying to encourage independence, but on the other, I don’t want the grades to slip, so I do jump in and offer help or suggestions if I think it’s needed. I have heard, “mom I have this under control.” In that case, I just move on and give an expected date to see improvement, if there is none, we move on to consequences.

These are only some of my challenges, I will continue soon….reply if you’d like and share your challenges.

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