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11 Things To Appreciate About Parenting A Teenager

11 Things To Appreciate About Parenting A Teenager

There are many negative attitudes from the public and media towards teenagers, and parents of teens complain about how difficult they can be. As a parent of two teenagers myself, I believe there is much to appreciate about parenting them. The good far outweighs the bad. Whether you are a parent of teens yourself, or a parent of younger children who may be worrying about the teenage years, take a moment to think about these eleven things to appreciate about parenting a teenager.

1. They Know How to Behave in Public

Remember the days of toddler tantrums? The worry about how they would behave if you took them out to a restaurant, or to someone’s house? With your teens, that worry is gone. They may behave differently when they’re not with you, of course, but take comfort in knowing that when they’re out in public with you, they will probably behave appropriately.

2. They Can Entertain Themselves

Young children look to you to provide constant entertainment for them. Teens are far more self-sufficient in that regard. You could spend your time despairing about how long they spend on their devices, but instead appreciate that you now have some time for yourself.

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3. They’re Transitioning and You’re There to See it

The teenage years are when they make the transition from child to adult. That’s a pretty amazing thing and you’re lucky enough to be there to see it. It’s scary and exciting. Don’t waste time yearning for when they were small. Observe them change, soak it up – it’s the biggest transition of their lives.

4. They Help You to Improve Your Negotiating Skills

If you were looking for an opportunity to improve your negotiating skills, then you’re in luck. It’s a difficult and confusing time for teenagers as their bodies and minds change. They won’t always deal with things in the best way and you will experience the full force of that first hand. You can spend all your time locking horns with them, or you can learn to pick your battles by letting the trivial things slide and focusing on the important things. You will make mistakes but over time you will learn the most effective way to negotiate with them. Take time to appreciate your new skills.

5. They’re Making Big Decisions With Your Help

During these years, they will be required to make big decisions about their future. Which subjects they want to drop, which they want to study further, what career they would like, what route they will choose to get there. You’re involved in those decisions, guiding them, helping them. Think about that for a moment – you’re helping human beings make plans that will affect the rest of their lives. Always remember what a privilege that is.

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6. They Can Have Grown-Up Discussions With You

Your teens will be developing new, more informed, opinions on the world, and you will be able to have discussions with them on the same level. You will notice a shift as they look less and less to you to provide the answers. You will learn as much from them as they do from you. Make the most of these discussions whenever they are willing to have them. You will gain new insights into their character.

7. They Show You That They’re More Than Just Your Children

Of course you’ve always known that they were people in their own right, and not just your children, but you never really felt it before. Now you can imagine them as adults, as people making their way in the world without you. It’s bittersweet. Focus on the sweet.

8. They Have Genuine Shared Interests With You

Movies, books, places to visit. Almost overnight it seems they switch from childhood interests to adult ones like yours. You can go to the movie theater and see a film that you both genuinely want to see. No longer do days out have to be chosen based on the quality of the soft play area, or whether they have a kid-friendly menu. You can enjoy doing the same things together that you would also choose to do alone.

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9. They Show You The Results of Your Earlier Parenting

This can be both good and bad of course, but there will be good. You may curse yourself for having let them get into some bad habits when they were young, but you will pat yourself on the back when you see the emergence of good traits that you know came from your parenting.

10. They Enable You to Have More Time For Yourself

The change is so gradual over the years that you may not notice it. You may not feel like you have more time for yourself, but just spend an hour with a parent of a young child, observe, and remember. You do have more time for yourself now.

11. They Teach You That Teenagers Are Actually Pretty Cool

If you haven’t really spent any time with teens since you were one yourself, then you’ve probably forgotten how cool they are. How funny, and optimistic, and full of life they can be, and how strong and loyal their friendships are. Watching them hanging out with their friends, enjoying their youth before having to take on adult responsibilities is a joy. Cherish those moments. Remember what it’s like to be young again.

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Featured photo credit: Group of teens at the beach/Vladimir Pustovit via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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