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Raising Teens Today:
Guiding Teenagers with
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Essential Parenting Dos and Don'ts
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Delivering Authentic Meaningful Relationships with Your Teen
by Being YOURSELF

I introduce the shoe on the other foot in the second installment of Raising Teens Today & Personalities: The 2-way Street. Achieving an authentic and meaningful relationship with my teens is the crux of all I want to do as a parent, like all parents. Furthermore, I would like to be my (authentic) self with them, taking off the "dad hat" or lifting the brim so they can see within. I would love to let them see my raw personality, pure feelings, and sincere emotions without worry or ridicule. The good news is that this is EXACTLY what our teenage children desperately want and need! They deeply desire to understand our personalities, ticks, quirks, tendencies, and nuances just as we need to know theirs.

Ensuring they know our personalities will enhance their ability to understand and make clear your expectations. Being honest about your true self will also add consistency to your decisions, disciplines, and rewards without even needing to try. This article will detail the benefits of allowing your natural, unfiltered personality to flourish and why doing this with your teenager is necessary.
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Raising Teens Today & Personality:
The 2-way Street - PART II

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Written By DanielCurrie
Published: September 4, 2023

Recap

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Image of How to Successfully Raise Your Teen and UNDERSTAND Them Pyramid from PART I in this series

As discussed in the 1st part of our Raising Teens Today & Personalities article, while we continue guiding teenagers, we ultimately end up climbing a hierarchy pyramid, the bottom being the bare essentials every human should have a right to, and the top being realization & self-actualization, where your teen wants to be more and do more. Once we have achieved our parental duties and fully molded and guided our teens into incredible young adults, we can see their personalities more clearly. Moving back down that pyramid, we know what makes them tick, their quirks, and their nature without becoming overbearing and overly pushy or involved.

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Miss the first article? Catch up and read it now!
Raising Teens Today & Personalities: The 2-way Street - PART I

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Screenshot of section of the blog post "Raising Teens Today & Personalitites: The 2-way Street - PART I"

Raising Teens Today & Personalities: The 2-way Street - PART I

Excellent! Our teens are raised exceptionally well, have superb morals and ethics, have a bright outlook on life, and are heading down the right path! So what else is there? As the saying goes: "You can show a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." This phrase means we can raise our teens to be more than capable of handling everything life throws at them and even understand their character deeply (show the horse to water). Only our teens can decide to respect us as adults and parents and understand and respond to our teachings (only the horse can choose to drink). Part two in this series will cover essential parenting dos to ensure your teenager will want to honor, respect, and do good by you—starting by understanding you.

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Practice What You Preach

The phrase, "Practice what you preach," has been around for a long time and for a very good reason: because it is TRUE! Luckily for us, it is super easy, and following that advice will make our teens want to honor, respect, and try to understand us as parents and adults. It's time for the teen to understand the parent's personality. To do this is simple. It is so simple that we do not need a fancy hierarchy pyramid, graph, or diagram. We need to be ourselves, that's it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | African American father talking with African American young teen son with hand on his shoulder on a soccer field

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Being Yourself

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Dad looking at young teen caucasian daughter playfully as she looks back holding his hand

Act yourself; do not try to be someone you are not; do not try to put a 24-7 parenting facade on—your teenager will see right through it rather than seeing you, the genuine person they call [enter your name], filled with all the likes and dislikes, hobbies, pet-peeves, tendencies, ticks, quirks, and nuances. I'm confident your teen can see some of your personality and tastes, but can you honestly say they know all of you? If the answer is no, take time to loosen the grip, let down your guard, and let them see the real you. To be clear, I am not suggesting you should tell your teen all of your dirty secrets or shameful discretions if you have any; they aren't your spouse or significant other. They are your teen and are becoming very close to adulthood. It's time they see you as a parent only when you need to be and a close friend when they don't.

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Why Be So Open?

If your teenager only sees a parent who is there for them whenever they need, disciplines them when necessary, praises them for jobs well done and efforts made, with authentic, neverending love (if you do this, great job, really!), you may not be doing all that your teen needs. At this point, yes, that is all that we, as parents, are required to do, and if we do it well, we should be acing the parenting department, but teenagers and their perception of parents are more complex than that. Teenagers are looking for more than "Mom" or "Dad." They see everything I mentioned as a requirement so that they can call you such titles. They are craving realism. They want to see more than the stereotypical caring "Mom" or the stern, hardworking "Dad." They want, they long, to see [enter name], AKA YOU and your interests, hobbies, what makes you tick, and your quirks—especially since they know you know all of their ticks and quirks. When they begin to see your interworkings, they will start to respect you and your decisions even more as a parent because you show them a side of vulnerability and humility that doesn't come in the job description of mom or dad.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian Mother & Daughter laying on a blanket outside under a tree enjoying each others company

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Authenticity Amounts to Respect

Stating it one more time due to sheer importance: When guiding teenagers into adulthood, an essential parenting do (vs. don't) is to be yourself. They will feel much more respected if they know your emotions and actions are sincere. Just as you feel valued and respected, your teen will feel valued and respected when they see your genuine, raw, and authentic personality in action. It's a 2-way street. Your teen will start to see you from a different perspective, one they can understand and comprehend much easier. Perhaps they see you as one who can be humbled or endures humility, which tends to take away the perception of the "hotshot parent," a killjoy, or power-hungry. Either way, they will begin to know you are human, where mistakes happen. That, like them, you try your best yet receive consequences for poor decisions or actions, all while carrying the same emotions they do. Critically, this makes it much easier to understand and respect.

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | A young African American teen boy talking with his caucasian father while doing homework at a table

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Next Level Relationships

As your teen begins to peer further behind the curtain of the parent and into the person, your relationship will improve with them. You will always be father-son, mother-daughter, or whatever the circumstance, but now there is a sense of friendship there as well. You could start discussing how work was with them, but not like before. Instead of "Mommy babysat Joey today; it was a good day even though he didn't listen sometimes." the conversation takes more of an emotional, raw, informal, and authentic feel: "I had to babysit Joey today, he was such a pain in the ass, where he would not listen and I had to bribe him or threaten him all day just to get him to behave!"

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian mother and teen daughter takling on a couch over coffee

Having a conversation resembling the ladder shows passion, realism, and respect that you can talk with them about most things that otherwise would have been a strict parent vs. friend talk. Your human emotion and not refraining as much over general topics allows your teen to see that vulnerability, passion, and drive they may have never seen before. Furthermore, it will enable them to want to match that emotional enthusiasm and be just as open with you, drawing off your passion and honesty.

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Authentic Truths

As a parent to a teenager who can let their guard down and be willing to talk the lingo of your teen while giving them respect and staying true to yourself and them brings many benefits. As mentioned, relationships improve tremendously; you do not have to wear the parenting hat as much (after all, they are now teens whom you've parented for 13+ years now and know right from wrong with a good moral code), which will allow for your personality and nature to bloom more freely and easily. In turn, your teenager will also feel more comfortable letting their true personality shine as they mature. Therefore,

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian father in a kichen handing a drink to his caucasian teenage daughter sitting on the couch in the living room

it will be easier to read their body language, and less likely they will lie. Furthermore, they will significantly respect you and your honesty as you "let your hair down." They would feel more comfortable telling you about a bad situation rather than hiding it and trying to cover it up.

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Parent to Role Model

As your teen matures and sees you for who you are, parent and person, they will begin to appreciate you and all you have done for them. They will start to look back, whether it was an incident six weeks or six years ago, and reflect on the times you stuck your neck out or went to bat for them. They will continue to think about it, turn to you here and now, and see

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian mother holding her caucasian older teen daughter while she enjoys the comfort from her mother

that you treat them like a young adult with age-appropriate rules. Then, realize they can come to you without the fear of being ridiculed, looked down upon, or belittled and, in their own way, really begin to grasp how lucky they are to have you. When your teenager starts thinking this, even if they only think it subconsciously, you have gone from being mom or dad to their role model. That is the ultimate unsaid compliment your teen could ever give you: when they look to you as a role model, looking up to you, knowing everything you have done for them and understanding it.

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Conclusion

When done correctly, your stress level as a parent should drop significantly. You will no longer be trying so hard, relationships will begin to cultivate, and your teen will see you in a new light while showing them that you are willing to treat them as a young adult while still governing them with age-appropriate rules. Perfect, right?

CurlyStache Raising Teens Blog | Caucasian mother & daughter cheek to cheek smiling

Nope. You are still the parent. Your primary job is raising your teen, teaching them right from wrong, and disciplining them appropriately. Your teen will still fail and mess up, disappoint, and disobey; that is what they call growing up. Consider it a right of passage to adulthood. There will be disagreements, there will be heartache, there will be fights—this is what builds character in your relationship with your teen. It is vital that being a responsible parent comes before anything because only then will a good relationship with your teen be possible. Conversely, only a healthy, meaningful relationship will be possible if you put being a responsible parent first. No matter how you slice it, being a good parent is essential, first and foremost; only then can you build a good relationship based on you and your teenager's natural, unfiltered personalities.

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