Parenting Teens

I will be composing a series of 7 posts about parenting for a class that I am taking. These posts may or may not be of interest to those outside of the course. 
Week 1

I am a mother of four children, currently ages 12, 14, 16, and 19.

When we become parents, we tend to seek advice from those around us, but in reality, we have no idea what the world will hold for us and for them over the course of their lives. I have talked about this in Where’s the class on that?

Over the next few weeks, I will take a look at some of these topics, which admittedly will most likely be of interest only to a select few, parents, parents of teens, divorced parents.

I will attempt to cover the topics:
1. How to navigate parenting and a break-up or divorce
2. Parenting through middle school
3. Having the BIG talks
4. Mental health
5. Conflicts
6. Goal setting, reality vs expectation
7. Letting go while holding on

Admittedly, I am not an expert on this topic. I am just a person who has walked this path, and been forced to find a way to navigate on my own.

Parents

How to navigate parenting and a break-up or divorce 

For reference, as mentioned, I am a mom of four. My children’s father and I married right out of high school when he was enlisted in the Marine Corps, and we had plans to travel the world. We did not end up traveling as far as we dreamed.

Instead, we ended up returning home, where we began having our kids. I was a full-time stay at home mom, while he worked in law enforcement. After many years, it became apparent that our relationship as a married couple had run its course. We were not compatible as husband and wife, though we would have to work out how to be compatible as parents.

While our divorce was not painless, they never are, it was important to us to keep the kids as the focus. My children’s father and I met for lunch to discuss what we wanted for our kids. Neither of us wanted to prevent our children from seeing the other parent. We came up with an agreement that worked for us, then presented it to our lawyers for them to make it legal.

The rules that I chose to live by were simple. While their dad may have been my husband, more importantly, he is their dad. His relationship with them is his to either build or break. As their mother, I had zero right to try to influence their decision one way or another.

As for social media, I was cognizant of the fact that my kids would eventually have their own pages. I never wanted to post something, even in a moment of venting, that I would need to justify or explain to them. They deserve better than that.

I have made many mistakes over the years since then. I have spoken out of turn, I have been harsh against their dad. I have also been open with the kids when I do make mistakes, and I have asked for their forgiveness.

Those they amaze me, they accept these apologies, and we continue to navigate this together, seven years later.

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