When I asked my daughter, “Am I a cool mom?” she responded with an approving ‘yes'. We all want to be cool moms, don't we? Of course we do, because it means we are accepted and approved by the children we love so much and have put so much effort into raising them. For many reasons, this coolness that we desire seems to disappear when our children become teenagers.
Why is that?
From my perspective, I think it happens because several reasons; some reasons are from our teenagers but some are our fault, as moms. We need to be intentional in our relationships, especially our children's relationship with us. If you aren't investing in them, especially in their teen years, don't be surprise if they drift away from you and one day you lose your ‘coolness‘ card.
Here are some Ways to Be a Cool Mom to Your Teenager
Talk to Them
Parents are really involved in raising and talking with their children through their first ten years, but something happens around the pre-teen and teenage years that never should be going on… we stop talking to them! In these years of influence, it is very important to be intentional about talking with your children because their world is changing around them, their bodies, their becoming attracted to the opposite gender and their confidence could be shaken.
How to talk to them: Ask them about their day, talk about their times with their friends, ask about their favorite song, talk about what they are attracted to and if anyone has their interest and why, talk about things in your own life including struggles and victories. Make the time you talk a two way road, not just about them but about both of you.
Most people love to be surprised, so it shouldn't surprise you that this is one of the times that my daughter thinks I'm the coolest mom. When you are surprising a teenager it says that you are thinking of them, you invested in them and they matter to you. It brings a feeling of being loved and appreciated, which is no small matter for a teenager or an adult, so make time for surprising them!
How to surprise them: Go to a favorite place, like a park, sporting event or friends together, bring home a movie that wanted to see, or a special snack, treat them to an ice cream on a hot day or just write them a note to say how proud you are of them for a recent accomplishment… big or small!
Join Them in Their Interest
My teenagers love different things, so I need to be very intentional to join them in their interest. One loves photography, books, music and travel, while the other loves golf and fishing. I can't always be a part of their interest, but I attempt to do that as much as possible and I love trying new things, especially with my children.
How to Join Them in their interest: Start a monthly family outing and alternate the interest that will be happening, talk about it with them, LISTEN to them talk about it and be attentive to what they are saying, start the conversation for added coolness! Invest in their interest for birthdays and other holiday gifts you do and support them in interest.
Watch Movies They Like
My teenagers love to watch movies. I know, all teenagers love movies! I must admit, I'm not a lover of today's movies all that much, but when I watch a movie with my teenagers that they have really wanted to see (if it doesn't go against our beliefs), earns me so many coolness points. They love oldies too, so not all of them are difficult for me to enjoy with them, but that is the tip here… watching is all I suggested. If you like it, well that is even better! I must admit that I became an amazing cool mom when I watched and liked one of their favorite recent movies.
How to Watch Movies They Like: Don't be critical of the movie while you are watching it, just watch it. However, if there are things in it that deem opportunities for discussions or deeper conversation take that time to talk about it together. Talk about possible ways sequels could go. Buy or make special food for movie time. Host a night with their friends and be one with them… but don't embarrass them in front of their friends (just yours).
Give Them Freedom and Advice in Making Choices
Helping your teenager learn about freedoms and how to make choices can be very beneficial when they have the safety of home to fail and pick themselves up again. If they aren't learning this lifeskill before leaving home, the chances of their success is slimmer than if they were to practice the analytical skills of making wise decisions. Always offer advice if they seem to be going down the wrong path, but with reasons of why a different choice would be better. Allow for failure and give understanding when it happens.
How to give freedom and advice: Start small and with money. Yard sales or consignment shops for little things have seem to be a great way for our children to learn value and price comparison. Making friends could be harmful if they aren't choosing them wisely, so looking for a new friend that fits what is important is a great way for future skills. Dating verses courting is a great discussion and will allow your teenagers to look at two ways to find a mate for their future.
Are you looking for more tips like these for your motherhood? Check out How to Get Your Teenager to Talk to You…
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