The Teen Years Interview Series: Kate Orson

I have been overwhelmed with the response to this series, from both the readers and to the people who have wanted to take part. This week I am featuring the wonderful Kate Orson. Kate, as many of you will know, is an author, and many will be familiar with her widely acclaimed giggle parenting approach to bringing up children. Kate is a mum to a five year old daughter, so a long way from the teen years but her answers are so insightful you would believe that she had heaps of experience with this age of anticipated anguish.

I know it’s a long way off but what are you dreading about your child/children becoming teens?

I used to really dread the teenage years. I think the thought of them almost put me off becoming a mum! I used to wonder what was the point of showering your child with love, only to have them grow up and become moody and withdrawn. Then I started learning about a parenting approach called Hand in Hand Parenting which focuses on listening to children’s feelings and building close connections with them. The stories I heard from Hand in Hand about parents who were close and connected to their teenagers were so encouraging. I started realising that the stereotypical view of teenagers has a lot to do with our society’s attitude to emotions. Most parenting advice centres on trying to control children’s emotions rather than help children to express them. A lot of children grow up with an emotional backpack full of unexpressed feelings that then come out through their behaviour. I realised that the typical moody teenager is actually just one who needs some listening and connection. Now I’m looking forward to the teenage years, (almost!)

The one thing that I am dreading though is how the internet is changing our lives. There is a really scary statistic that 42% of children have seen porn online. There are some scary articles about how teenagers are really confused about what sex is because what they know of it is pornography. I decided to get some age appropriate books for talking about sex after reading this really helpful blog post. (http://sexedrescue.com/2016/age-age-list-sex-education-books/) I’m not going to bombard my daughter with information, but I do want to make sure that she knows that she can come to me if she has questions, and that we can be open about it, so that she knows that sex is about love and relationships, not porn.

 What are you looking forward to? 

I’m really looking forward to the conversations we’ll have. My daughter is such a chatterbox. I’ve never been a particularly girly girl, but we love our girl time together. And I’m looking forward to watching her grow up and see what she’ll do.

As a parent, what issues do you imagine are important when raising teens?

I imagine it’s important to be there, and to balance giving your teen freedom with making sure they don’t go off the rails. I think it must be tricky though! To know when to set limits, and how. It’s pretty easy when they are toddlers, but I can imagine that a teenager could just ignore you and go out and slam the front door! I guess it all comes back to connection though. That if you have a deep connection with your teen, they will respect you, and your judgement.

What kind of parent do you think or hope (!) you’ll be when your child/children are/is in their teen years?

I hope I’ll be the kind of parent that my daughter knows she can come and talk to me about anything. I read a really interesting book called Hold Onto Your Kids By Gordon Neufeld, and Gabor Mate, which explains how it’s normalized in our society for our children to detach from us, and attach more to their peer group. I hope that my daughter and I will remain friends, and confidantes, even as she builds close friendships with her peers and goes out into the world.

Is there any advice that you would give your child/children before they get to the teen stage?

Hmmm. I think my advice would be – do what you love. As you get older there’s a lot of pressure from the education system, to follow a particular path, to get the good grades, and go to university. But in the end that can leave you feeling a bit unhappy because you’ve listened to others rather than that voice of inner knowing inside of yourself that knows exactly what you love to do. I’m a bit of a risk taker, so I’d say, do what you love, believe in yourself, work hard, and find a way to earn money living your dream.

Do you envisage raising teens to be an easier stage than raising littles?

I’ve heard that it is the same amount of work, but different. For example with teens we may not be parenting 24-7, but it’s a lot of emotional work, worrying about who they’re with or what time they are coming home. And I’ve also heard that we may need to make ourselves available for whenever our teen does decide to open up. It could be midnight, when they feel like talking about what’s on their mind. So we may end up just as tired and sleep-deprived as we did in the baby-stage! I hope not!

Kate, I think you have just become my expert in raising teens! Thank you so much for such wonderful and informative answers that have given me heaps of tips on raising my teens. I loved your perspective on the fact that the moody teenager just needs someone who will listen to them and connect with them. They need to feel that trust and love for sure. I feel I could talk to you for hours about this subject.  What you’ve achieved here, with your answers, is an approach to parenting teens that is open, communicative and informed which will hopefully lead to an easier journey of raising teens for both the parent and the child. I wish you had written a teenager book! Let me know if you ever do as would love to collaborate with you – I seem to have heaps of material … just saying!

 

Kate is a Hand in Hand Parenting instructor, and mum to a five year old. Her first book Tears Heal: How To Listen To Our Children is out now. She blogs at www.kateorson.com Follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ParentingByConnectionWithKateOrson/ and twitter, https://twitter.com/kateorson

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59 thoughts on “The Teen Years Interview Series: Kate Orson

  1. thanks for your lovely comments. I’d love to chat teenagers with you sometime. I hope one day that we will have a Hand in Hand parenting book for teens. Perhaps someone else will write it as it will be a long time before I reach that stage! I’ve added lots of teen related resources to my facebook post here written by other Hand in Hand Parenting instructors, https://www.facebook.com/ParentingByConnectionWithKateOrson/posts/1242794979078252

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    1. That would be wonderful! I can’t thank you enough for taking part in this series. I know that there will be many who will benefit from your advice. Will head over to look at your Facebook post for the teen related advice! xx

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  2. Fantastic interview – I hope I’m a mum that my daughter can talk to as well…it’s always a worry that she’ll just shut herself off and we’ll become distant from each other. I think the internet is a huge worry of mine too as it feels like something we can only control to a certain extent – loving this series Helen! xx #triballove

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  3. Really nice interview. My girls are small and I’m terrified of what we may expect. But I know there’s loads of good support and advice out there (thank goodness for blogs and interviews like these). Thanks for all of your lovely support this week Sunita x

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  4. Hi to you JustSayingMum to to all your readers. I loved Kate’s article. I do have a teen (just) and have been using the Hand in Hand Parenting approach with my son since he was a toddler so I can absolutely vouch for how effective it is. I loved it so much that I decided to train as a Certified Instructor (like Kate). Now that he is a teen, there is still plenty of work to do to keep our relationship in good shape but having these tools helps us everyday to keep on track, and seeing the gorgeous, open, loving young man he is growing into is such a joy. I now teach parents of preteens and teens how to adapt the Hand in Hand Parenting tools for use at this stage of parenting to meet their (and our) changing needs. I can be reached at sarah.charlton@yahoo.co.uk or through my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HandinHandParentingWithSarahCharlton/pages_feed/
    Thanks for the great interview again and nice to find you!

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    1. Oh this is so interesting! I’d love to chat to you some more about this approach with teens so I will go and have a read pf your facebook page and I will be in touch. I would love to do a vlog and a blog on this subject so thank you for your message xx

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  5. Wow, lots of great further reading in this one – Kate seems to be a very balanced mummy. I hadn’t thought of parenting teens as being less full on in terms of time, but more draining in respect of the emotional input and constant worry. Very interesting perspective and I know I’ll be treated to my fair share of door slamming! Love this series, can’t wait to see who’s next xx

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    1. I know – such a helpful interview. If you haven’t read any of Kate’s hand in hand parenting advice you really must – such a wonderful approach to bringing up children and hopefully the door slamming won’t be too often! Thank you for your comment lovely xx

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  6. I have a teen. I think the under 10 is a piece of cake compared to the teens. What I LOVE about teens is that other mums have no filter – complete strangers will tell you anything. It’s like we’re all the the same boat. I think the other great thing about teens, is you have to reassess your judgments/thoughts/parenting continually. I’ve made decisions and told friends to make decisions that a few years ago I would never have thought I would do. I actually think a mistake our generation is making is thinking that teens require less time. I am amazed at how many parents seem to just step back once the kids hit high school. I also suspect part of that is responsible for the pandemic of anxiety and depression (many other factors, but that’s part of it). I think this is a very interesting series tho. Will go back and look at some of the others #FortheloveofBLOG

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    1. Oh thank you for such a wonderful comment! It really is such a minefield of emotions for both the teen and the parent – it amazes me too that some parents step back once their children hit senior school. I’ve always felt that my children need me so much more as they have got older – and the mental strain is huge on the parents. It is a constant though to support and help them through the years. Thank you for your interest and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series xx

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  7. Helen this is such an interesting interview. I have not heard of Kate or the hand in hand parenting approach. I will certainly take a look at it. I agree that this is the age when you absolutely can’t stand back, it is an emotionally challenging period and you need to be on top of everything all the time and core to my whole approach with my teens is to talk and to listen. Thanks for sharing this. #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. Oh thank you, Jo! Kate’s approach is so wonderful and makes total sense when you really sit and listen to it. I’ve taken on board so much of what she says. It is an emotionally challenging age but we can’t just sit back we have to be there to help and support. You sound just like me – talking and listening all the time. I’m so glad that I’ve introduced you to the world of Kate! xx

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  8. Thanks for this series. I’m knocking on the door of teenage-don, and this is territory I know nothing about. I love the sound of Hand in Hand parenting; the teenage years are filled with such emotional turmoil. Thanks again. #fortheloveofBLOG

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  9. My two are still tiny and the whole idea of them being teens is quite terrifying for a lot of the reasons you’ve pointed out; them drifting away, not knowing who they’re with and the risks associated with the internet and social media. I love reading that building the right connections and allowing them to open up to us could allow us to hold onto that precious bond and allow us to grow together as they grow up. I’d love to see a collaborative book with you both! Dawn x #marvmondays

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    1. I think the advice Kate gives is wonderful and it certainly made me think. We can only do our best but one of my biggest fears is peers – they have such a huge influence. Ha ha – I love the idea of a book too! Thank you for your comment x

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  10. Hi Helen
    Such a great series and this interview with Kate was really insightful. My main take home message is the idea of making sure our children know they can talk to us and we will listen…The idea of making sure we build strong connections and are there for them emotionally. I do have the habit of getting caught up in the practical side of mothering…taxiing, cooking, washing, ironing, getting them all organised…Sometimes, just sitting on the end of their bed or popping up to their room and hanging out with them is even more valuable. Thanks for sharing.
    #FOrtheloveofblog

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    1. Strong connections is such an important sentiment isn’t it. Love the just sitting on the end of the bed too – just keeping those lines of communication open always. Thank you for your lovely comment xx

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  11. Wow, a very different but interesting interview. That stat is shocking! I knew that porn online was a problem from my experience of teaching teens, but I didn’t realise that it was that bad. Much food for thought in this interview! Really loving this new series 🙂 #bigpinklink

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    1. It’s a terrifying stat isn’t it? I loved Kate’s answers as I’ve loved her approach to hand in hand parenting and her giggle parenting approach – she really is full of wonderful advice. Thank you for your comment lovely x

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  12. This is great advice. I am not quite there yet although I have the edges of that independence coming through now (eldest is 10). The relationship we build with our children is so important. In many ways we are working on helping them in their teen years when they are young because we are building the basis for them understanding themselves. Great questions. All we can be certain of is that the teenage years will teach us even more about parenting and of course ourselves. #marvmondays

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    1. I thunk that there is so much wonderful advice out there now – particularly in the blogging community so hopefully there will always be someone to help along the way lovely x thank you for your comment x

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  13. Kate always speaks such sense and this comes across in this interview too. I totally agree with her about how ‘the stereotypical view of teenagers has a lot to do with…society’s attitude’. The kids aged 11 – 18 that I teach aren’t half as bad as the media would sometimes portray the ‘yoof’ of today 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. She has such a wonderful perspective doesn’t she? I’m pleased with your view on teens also – they do seem to get a hard time of it when most of the time they really are a wonderful group to be around. Thank you for your comment x

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  14. What a brilliant series! I think unexpressed emotions are definitely at the heart of all issues of bad behaviour, adult and child! This was very interesting to read and hand in hand parenting sounds right up my street. Thanks for joining in with the #bigpinklink

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  15. Come on now…I reckon Kate has some teenagers hiding in her closet! How else can she come up with such wonderful, insightful advice?! This was so interesting to read and I really do agree with her approach. I had never heard of hand in hand parenting, but it sounds interesting and I shall read up on it with the helpful links provided. Thank you so much Helen for the series and Kate for your clarity and insight. Alison x #DreamTeam

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    1. Ha ha – I reckon you could be right! Kate has such a balanced approach to parenting – I was nodding away the whole way through the interview as if listening to someone who had parented teens! So pleased you enjoyed it x

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  16. This is fabulous. I love Kate’s blog and the Hand in hand parenting approach. My parents definitely used some of these ideas as I was very open with them (about most things!!) as a teen and mostly made decent decisions. I think I have the same aspirations as Kate does, I hope TM will feel able to confide in me (or his dad).

    Loving this series!!

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  17. I LOVE this post and with a 10 year old boy I need this kind of advice right now. I want to make sure I get the teen years right as I know how important and crucial they are. I’m going to check out her FB page. Thanks! #dreamteam

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    1. Oh I’m certain that if you’re prepared with all the right advice you’ll be absolutely fine. Kate’s advice is just so effortlessly insightful and informed – definitely the approach we should all be taking. Thank you for your comment xx

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  18. What a great interview – the teen years are far away but Kate is already so prepared! I’m worried about the internet too and how that will affect my daughter when she’s a teen – or probably even sooner. There’s no avoiding it, is there? #dreamteam

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  19. I haven’t heard of this hand in hand parenting approach but I think perhaps I should have started it ages ago because my boy is fast becoming moody and withdrawn. Kate sounds really prepared for the struggles that do inevitably come. I think no matter what you do it is going to have some challenge to it because learning how to be an adult is a tricky phase of everyone’s life. Really enjoying this series and looking forward to the next one! Thanks for sharing on #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. Oh you must go and have look – you’re in for a treat! Sorry to hear about your boy but I think that’s quite a typical trait in a teen – you’ve just got to find the best way to deal with it – so hard not take it personally and want them to revery back to the gorgeous little ones they were. Have a look at Kate’s approach and see if some it could apply lovely xx

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  20. I love reading Kate’s blog and this interview is so insightful. This past year as my stepson has gone from 12 years old to teenager, we have been dreading that change in his mood, expecting a sudden withdrawal. It is so true what Kate says that it is a different kind of parenting and perhaps we need to talk to them more…it’s a big change from years of non stop chatting away! I’m really loving this series Helen, thank you for sharing your latest installment with #dreamteam xxx

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  21. I think the teen years are something that terrifies us all – especially the thought of our children growing that much so quickly. 😦 Hand-in-hand parenting sounds interesting though, something I’ll look into! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

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    1. I think if we are prepared and have some kind of game plan of how we are going to parent then it’s ok really! Hand in hand parenting is an incredible approach – you’ll love it! Thank you for your comment xx

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