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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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