When it comes to raising my teen -- my motto is -- there are no rules. See, originally I had a rule book and I was convinced I could thumb through it on any occasion for moral support as to how I should approach any number of situations I might find myself in parenting a teenager daughter. Where -- you ask -- did I get this rule book from? A trained therapist perhaps? And the answer would be no. My parenting rule book has always followed that Seinfeld episode where George Costanza does the opposite of every impulse that he harbors in order to be successful at life. (FYI following this practice he actually lands a job with the New York Yankees). And since all my experience being a teenager with my own mother is a jumbled mass of memories that I have carefully tucked away never to be unleashed -- I don't have a healthy model on which to base my current approach to parenting a teen. The truth is my basic philosophy for raising my daughter is that I try to reject any behavior that feels even slightly reminiscent of my own mother and do the exact opposite.
While I am only two years in -- I have learned quite a few things from this experiment of raising a teenager with zero guidance (and modeling my parenting tactics based on the way George Costanza made his decisions) and here are just a few random things I've learned so far -- which I thought could be helpful to any of you in the trenches raising teens.
- When your teen comes home do not barrage her with twenty or for that matter more than ONE QUESTION. See, my impulse, after my teen has been at a sleepover is to see her and immediately ask her -- " how are you, what happened, who did you sleep next to, what did you eat, did you have a good time..." but taking my cues from George Costanza I do the exact opposite. I ask her NOTHING. I just smile at her and wait for her to tell me what's up. And when she does start talking I RESTRAIN MYSELF and make sure to not get all questiony with her and be very chill about the whole thing.
This post originally appeared on The Staten Island Family