Monday, November 02, 2009

Teens and Your Marriage

posted by Michele Olson

Need another reason to work on your marriage especially when you have children? Don’t be too shocked, but those little kids are one day going to grow up to be teenagers.

Raising teenagers? Said to be like nailing jello to a tree!

Your teenagers and your marriage? Interesting combination ripe with all the elements of a fourth of July fireworks show.

Want a way to cut down on the drama?

One study showed: “Even when controlling for maternal characteristics and background characteristics, adolescents living with both biological parents who were continuously married exhibited lower levels of problem behavior than peers from any other family type.”*

The truth is that teenagers can add stress to your marriage. Instead of crisis being fueled by outside sources, they can come from within.

Teens driving.

Just those two words can cause any parent to seem like a deer in headlights.

Little kids, little problems. Big kids, well…you know the rest.

If there were ever a time you need to be working on your communication and conflict resolutions skills in your marriage, it’s during these years. Spend some time in the pre-teen years talking about how you will parent with some of the bigger life issues. Keep the lines of communication open and work on the day to day unity so you will be on the same page when something arises with a teen. Continue to take the time to be together as a couple and to talk openly about your thoughts on parenting.

Stay committed. Don’t let the kids pit you against each other. A strong marriage is a really good tool when raising teens.

Some of the best advice I ever got? Don’t get on the roller coaster. Your kids are going to be on the roller coaster and they need their parents to stay on the ground while they go up and down through their teen years.

If you are in the midst of a hard time, remember this will not be forever. They are going to grow up, mature and leave the nest. Don’t forget to enjoy the absolute refreshingly original ideas that can come from your teen. Pick your battles.

Be brave little buckaroos. This too shall pass. God speed.

Raising teenagers and your marriage? Got any tips?

*Source: “Family Structure, Father Involvement, and Adolescent Behavioral Outcomes”
Carlson, Marcia J. Journal of Marriage and Family Vol. 68, Number 1. February, 2006. Page(s) 137-154.

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