This week we are shining the reader spotlight on Allymum, a very valued member of The Kids Are All Right forum who thinks about the big issues. We love how proactive she is, sharing resources and links she has found, and posting thought-provoking questions and answers.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your family
My family includes me, my husband, my daughters aged 15 and 18, plus assorted animals. I worked full time for 9 years then took a redundancy package at the ripe old age of 28. Since then I have been raising the kids, doing part-time work plus volunteer work for two very different community groups. I also have a weekly session with my elderly mum helping her get to her appointments and do her shopping.
“It feels like the hamster wheel is turning really fast and it makes me feel scared, sad, proud and happy”
My favourite thing is pottering in the garden. And I have a drawer hiding half-finished craft items that I keep because one day I will finish them…
What is your greatest challenge parenting your teenagers?
Perhaps the greatest challenge is keeping up with the changes. Our kids face so many changes from pre-teen to adult so as a parent it can be exhausting to keep up and stay flexible as the child morphs into a young adult. It feels like the hamster wheel is turning really fast and it makes me feel scared, sad, proud and happy.
How would you describe your parenting style? How does this differ to how you were parented or how friends parent their teens?
My parenting style would be involved, hopefully without becoming over-protective. Instinctively you want to protect your child however over-protection is not beneficial to either party. I think my mum was often over-anxious.
“The late night chats are my favourite. Something happens late at night when the house is quiet”
What’s the greatest thing about parenting teens?
Being able to have more adult conversations – the late night chats are my favourite. Something happens late at night when the house is quiet. What starts out as short chat turns into a deep and meaningful conversation and we cover all sorts of topics. This is often the time we work out new ground rules.
Please share with us one rule, guideline or boundary you have with your teens, and what happens if they break it.
If mistakes are made, we talk about the situation and work out how to avoid repetition. We seem to make it up as we go along, after all what works for one child does not necessarily work for another. I am keen on honesty and trust.
“I am keen on honesty and trust”
What’s the greatest piece of advice you would give a parent whose child is nearing the teen years?
Keep the lines of communication open and have a good sense of humour.
What would you like to read more about on The Kids Are All Right?
How to tell when teens are not coping with life. How to know the difference between when to give them time to work out their problems for themselves and when to step in to help.
Self respect and respecting others. Bullying.
“I knew I could discuss on the forum a topic that I was not prepared to talk about to some family or friends”
Toxic friends, and how to empower teens to be themselves and not succumb to peer pressure. This would relate to sexting, drinking, drug taking – the unhealthy risk taking activities.
What do you like about being part of The Kids Are All Right community?
The TKAAR community is very supportive and caring. I found myself dealing with an issue that I had never imagined we would face as a family. While I found general information on the internet I was really pleased to find this confronting topic on the forum – another family within TKAAR circle was facing the same issue!! I knew I could discuss on the forum a topic that I was not prepared to talk about to some family or friends.
If you’d like to connect with Allymum and other parents and talk about raising teenagers and lots of other non-parenting topics (because we do have a life outside our children ), visit The Kids Are All Right forum.
Do you find it a challenge keeping up with the changes? Do you have a special time to talk with your teens, like Allymum’s late night chats?