Toby & Roo Talks Teens!

I am just so thrilled that I started this series as have had some truly wonderful parents of smalls share their thoughts on the teen years. As a blogger with teens, I definitely fall in the minority amongst the parenting blogs but this series really gives me that opportunity to connect that little more with those with smalls. I feel that perhaps the teen years don’t feel quite so lonely now as a blogger.

The series has seen the Unmumsy Mum share her thoughts. The Mother Pukka, too. We’ve seen Charlie, from Mess & Merlot, as well as the London Dad and Kate Orson, Mother of Daughters and the Beta Mummy. I’ve many more fabulous bloggers lined up for you too and today I am delighted to welcome the Instagram guru that is Harriet from Toby & Roo to share her insights prospectively into this era of childhood that so many seem to fear! Harriet, thank you. Over to you!

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I know it’s a long way off but what are you dreading about your children becoming teens? I think on a very basic level I’m dreading the attitude! My son is already breaking out the most epic of strops and I am not looking forward to chucking a bundle of raging hormones into the mix. On a more serious note I am genuinely and breathtakingly terrified of the online bullying side of being a teen – how am I going to protect them when it just wasn’t a thing when I was a child?

What are you looking forward to? Hmm. I think I’m looking forward to having a little bit more freedom with them and I’m certainly hoping for family time that involves us all having a giggle and enjoying each others company on a slightly better wavelength. I’d be a liar if I didn’t say I’m hoping Edith wants to do spa days and things like that, only because I remember loving it with my mum (and still do)! I’d equally love it with the boys. I’m also so excited to watch them turn into adults!

As a parent, what issues do you imagine are important when raising teens? I feel like trust is a huge thing – I recently read an article about having a text code whereby your teen could text you “X” if they were feeling under pressure or unhappy in their situation and you would call them to say I have to pick you up from wherever you are there is an emergency – so it freed them from the peer pressure and from ridicule, but you also had to stick to the understanding that you wouldn’t ask questions, even if they were miles from where they said they were going. You’d trust that they had known the situation that they were about to be in was a bad one and they weren’t afraid to come to you. I had a very similar relationship with my mum. I told her everything – from boys to booze: EVERYTHING… because I knew I wasn’t going to have the book thrown at me but that I could confide in her and trust her to help me. We had trust.

What kind of parent do you think or hope (!) you’ll be when your children are in their teen years? I hope I can be a relaxed mum – not a push over but one that my kids can say isn’t stifling them growing and making mistakes, but also one that isn’t happily standing by and watching them screw up without any advice or warning. I don’t want to be their friend – that is one thing I’ve never felt is great when parents become “friends”. I’m their mum, but I would also like to be a confidant…

I’ll probably read this back in ten years and howl at my naivety…

Is there anything you’d like to say to your own parents before your children become teens or were you an angel? Ahem… yeah… I have actually apologised to my mum on a number of occasions for the stress I must have put her under during my teens years and in fairness I really wasn’t that bad. I think I’ve always been headstrong but a headstrong, foolhardy teen isn’t a good combo! My husband was a HORRIBLE teenager apparently so when I listen to him grovelling to his mother I feel marginally better!

Is there any advice that you would give your children before they get to the teen stage? Yes, but I know for a fact it will fall on deaf ears. I would urge them all to ignore peer pressure and be themselves. Even at the tender age of 5 and 4 the boys have started to change their likes and dislikes to suit their friend’s at school (which went down especially badly when Reuben declared he wanted to support the rival football team to his dad because “so and so” does…) Just TRY not to let other’s change you or bend you to their will!

Do you envisage raising teens to be an easier stage than raising littles? I think it will come with its own, totally unique challenges. More difficult? Maybe not, but easier? No. I doubt that too!

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Harriet, I love your answers. I particularly sympathise with the sentiments around trust. With trust, the whole teen stage is just so much easier and, as you say, that goes both ways. Trust and communication are vital through these stages! The having a chance to spend time as a family doing things that you all enjoy is wonderful (most of the time and particularly if they aren’t having a whole load of attitude at that point!) and about and watching them grow ( again minus the attitude!). The online bullying is a real fear but there is so much more awareness around this now so, hopefully, this will be reduced considerably by the time yours reach the teen years. You do make me giggle about your husband having been a horrid teen. Here’s hoping that it’s not payback with your children! Your answers are wonderful and I really doubt that you will look back and think you were naive!

The online bullying is a real fear but there is so much more awareness around this now so, hopefully, this will be reduced considerably by the time yours reach the teen years. Oh, and your advice around the text code X is just fantastic and something I’ve shared with my three. Finally, you do make me giggle about your husband having been a horrid teen. Here’s hoping that it’s not payback with your children! Your answers are wonderful and I really doubt that you will look back and think you were naive! Thank you just so much for being part of this. It has been an absolute pleasure to read and share your thoughts.

Harriet writes a blog at www.tobyandroo.com and her fabulous Instagram can be found here and her twitter here

If anyone would like to take part in this series, please mail me at helen@justsayingmum.com

38 thoughts on “Toby & Roo Talks Teens!

  1. Really enjoyed reading this and I wondered what my answers would have been. Raising teens is definitely less of a physical challenge, but certainly more mentally challenging. And yes to having more time to yourself, and you can definitely have more adult banter with them x

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  2. If you can keep channels of communication open and trust flowing then parenting teenagers is a lot of fun – they are nteresting and full of ideas. You’ll probably never receive such honest feedback than that given by your teenage children! best wishes with your kids as they get older #TweensTeensBeyond

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  3. What a clever idea to feature bloggers who have smallies and what they think about the teen years ahead – I love this, especially as you just can’t imagine it when they’re so little but I’m approaching the teen years with my eldest and I just don’t know where the time has gone. Harriet has highlighted many things we’re all aware of – especially the cyber bullying thing, that terrifies me. It’s so good hearing from bloggers like yourself too who have been through it all. #TweensTeensBeyond

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    1. Oh thank you for such a lovely comment. It’s hard trying to get this parenting thing right but I love how through blogging we are constantly learning how others are handling it and what works for them or sometimes what really doesn’t work. I seem to know a lot about what doesn’t work some days!

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  4. Your emphasis on trust and communication Helen is to me the most important aspect of raising teens and they are so interlinked. Also it is interesting that Harriet doesn’t want to be “friends” with her teens, I so agree with that. It is important as they grow up that they continue to view us in our capacity as “parents” nurturing and guiding them through the highs and lows of the teen years and maintaining boundaries. Thanks for sharing this. #TweensTeensBeyond

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    1. You have to maintain the boundaries for sure. The amount pf times I have said to my girls in particular “I am allowed to parent you!” – actually, I say that a lot! Thank you for your comment xx

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  5. It’s definitely reassuring to know that cyber bullying etc has good awareness now and I hope that it continues to grow and become more so over the next 10 years for when my little is bigger. ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬ Helen, always a pleasure

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  6. Yes trust is such a big one. I think a lot of the groundwork for trust is done when they’re small – you try to be honest and reliable and there for them when they’re little and hope that you’ve done enough to earn their trust for when they’re older. I love this series! #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. I feel that if the hard work is put in when they are small around trust, openness and good values then the teen years are a little easier (notice how i said a little easier and not easy?!). Would love for you to take part in this series if you’d like to? xx

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  7. I love this series – it’s so interesting (and challenging!) to imagine what the teen years will be like when your kids are still so young. I agree that avoiding peer pressure is so important and something you can try to instill in your kids when they’re younger, but I know how influential friends can be when you’re a teen. #ablogginggoodtime

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  8. Thinking of our children as teens is hard. I been through it once and Booey is almost 12 so here I go again. At the moment we have a lovely relationship and I know she will tell me anything, I just hope it stays that way.
    #FamilyFun

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  9. Naive? Not at all. As a parent of teens I think Harriet has it all sorted out already – lets hope in practice it all goes to plan too as no 2 children are alike and what works for one most certainly isn’t guaranteed to work for another. But, like you say – keep communication and trust open and I’m sure it’ll be plain sailing 😉 #fortheloveofBLOG

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  10. Interesting to come across a blog discussing teens, as our relatively new blog foucuses on tweens, toddlers and a Baby. I feel I will need help ready for my 11 year old hitting his teens, as it’s always tricky stumbling through parenthood with your first! I also do enjoy Toby &Roo Instagram feed. #fortheloveofBlog

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  11. I just love this series, these are some fab answers. I was a nightmare teen, which I think was largely because my parents were quite strict. Thank you for linking up to #fortheloveofBlog xx

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  12. These posts are always so insightful and I can’t help but look at your comment above this and feel a little guilt at having been the same. I have read a few of these now Helen and it’s interesting to see how similar themes emerge. These will be fabulous to look back on for those that have participated, Harriet included. A way of comparing notes – have you got that lined up?!!! A before and after series?!! Oh and I adore the name Edith. Thanks for sharing with us at #tweensteensbeyond

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  13. This is brilliant, I have never heard of the code texting before and that is a pretty smart idea. I must say I haven’t thought much about the prospect of bullying but mostly because I cannot bring myself to ever ever think of anyone hurting my children, it makes my insides go all funny. No teen or parent should ever to go through something like that. Some excellent advice too, lets hope those ears aren’t too death eh!? Thanks for joining at #familyfun, oh and #ablogginggoodtime xx

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