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Challenge: Raising Siblings

A Note from the Teenage Trenches

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I never thought I’d long for the days of diapers, car seats and sippy cups.

And I didn’t…

...Until I started trying to raise two teenagers under the same roof.

Naively, I thought since we had one boy and one girl, they’d be so different we’d really have no problems. As it turns out, we run the gambit of every conceivable girl/boy teen trouble known to man.

Here’s a few survival tips from someone who’s still in the Teenage Trenches:

1. Let them win occasionally.
The greatest moment of my parenting career was when our kids learned to use sarcasm correctly.

The worst was the very next second when I realized they are just as snarky as I am.

"I want that sink empty or you're not going to your friend’s house!"

Well played teen…well played….

Parenting isn’t always a popular job. Sometimes you have to say no JUST for the sake of not saying yes all the time. My childhood makes a lot more sense now. (Note to my parents: This is still not an admission that you were right. I stand by teenage angst.)

Help your kids learn to hear ‘No’ and how to handle the news properly. We already know being the cool parent that always says ‘Yes’ leads to adults who don’t know how to deal with failure. Whether it’s in a tone you are willing to accept is another story. But that’s how they learn.

2. Be their common enemy.
For the times when it feels like ‘Pick on Mom/Dad Day’, take it as a good sign. Siblings who team up and fight for each other are more likely to be better co-workers and spouses. They gain valuable experience in conflict resolution and teamwork.

If all they have is their combined embarrassment for how uncool their parents are, let them eye roll together and move on.

You’ve done your job.

That shared kinship will hopefully help them build on things they have in common all the way into adulthood.

3. Let them carve their own path and be an individual.
As we sit on the sidelines of our children’s lives it is pretty obvious which parents are living out their own dreams through their kids. Let your child find what they enjoy by trying new activities, not necessarily ones you where you excelled. They may surprise you. My husband and I are 100% guilty of doing this exact thing. We’re not quitters! We tried for years!

I grew up playing volleyball and softball. My husband played baseball and was on the Colorado Junior Olympic Volleyball team. We were certain our kids would get our ‘Sports DNA’. Our oldest enjoys playing baseball and football. Our youngest had to try many things before she found what she’s passionate about.

She played T-ball and plié-ed in the batter’s box.

When she played basketball she was furious that our jerseys weren’t purple and she was more concerned about our post-game snack.

One day she saw her friends dance recital video and was hooked. After signing her up for dance, we figured out quickly those were her people! She is now in her 10th year of dance, on a competitive team and getting ready to try out for the high school dance team in the spring.

She is living HER dream, not mine. I couldn’t be prouder to be the mom of a dancer, not having danced a day in my life. Unless you count table tops…

I’m kidding...

…mostly.

4. Brother and sister against the world
We know our teens are going to fight. It doesn’t matter why. The difference is how you act out in the world.

I remember fighting with my brother growing up. We were only one school year apart so that made it even worse sometimes, especially in high school when we were trying to find our own identities. I clearly remember my dad sitting us down for a stern lesson. He said the words that still stick with us today. “We have our arguments at home and that is where they will be settled. Do not tear each other down to your friends. Out in the real world all you have is each other. Friends will come and go, but brothers and sisters are for life. Families have to stand together.

Those words were spoken before the internet was even a thing. Now with social media in the mix, it is so ease to take your family drama to a public forum.

This world is looking to rip good families apart. Don’t give them the ammunition.

What great tips do YOU have for raising teenage siblings? Be sure to share! We are all in this together.

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