Get a life? You wish you had a life, and so does your teen! Most days it feels as if your life is all about your child and getting through the days.
Why would your teen want you to have a life of your own?
1) The obvious reason is that it takes the focus off your child. "Stop bossing me around!" is a common teen outburst. If you're not focusing on yourself, you're focusing on what you want her to do, what she's not doing right, and how burdensome it can sometimes feel when you're raising kids. (Yes, I did use the word burdensome. Let's be honest. Almost every parent has had days when s/he wants to run away.)
2) Your teen wants to experience and experiment with life. It's a teen's job to separate from you. Parents whose sole focus is on their children tend to micromanage. How will kids learn from experience if mom or dad is always taking over?
3) Teens want to hear the message that they're capable, not incompetent. When you're 'the fixer', they get the message that they are not capable of handling things on their own and soon begin to believe it. They might not be all that capable yet, but with more experience and learning from successes and mistakes, their confidence and self-esteem will definitely grow.
4) Your child wants to be proud of you and inspired by you. Last month I told you about when I co-chaired a Hyde School regional parent group. I was scared to death, but I lived through it and did a pretty good job, too. My son was inspired to take some risks of his own. I also left teaching three years ago to coach full-time. My daughter was so proud of me, and still is one of my biggest cheerleaders.
You want to be proud of your children, and they want to be proud of you. They need to know that change is possible and that, win or lose, it's good to take healthy risks.
5) It's a relief to them to know that you spend your time on something other than worrying about them. It can be a heavy load for them to know that they are the center of your worry and concern. They will either rebel, or feel guilty and worry about you in return.
There you have them - five great reasons for you to get a life, and let your teen live hers. You'll both be glad you did.