There are a lot of things that we don’t get right as parents of teens. My guy and I often stumble around with wild eyes searching for answers as we navigate through the hormones and mood swings. I feel like I share a lot of mistakes that we make, so I also wanted to include a success story.
Two years ago our family was making a move to a new city and state. With three less-than-enthusiastic teenagers. Before the move, we talked about the characteristics of the new neighborhood and home we would want, and made a list of those desired traits, assuring the children that we would try to fill their requests. This was not difficult because their ideas were practical and in line with ours.
We had a friend who had lived in our destination city and who knew how to interpret school district statistics, so with her advice we focused on two distinct areas of the city. After talking with out realtor about our list of characteristics, we scheduled a weekend to see the area and go house hunting with the whole family.
We had a list of 34 homes that fit our collective criteria to see in two days, and we went to work. My guy and I explained to the kids that everyone had a 20% vote on the house that we would buy. The youngest immediately asked, “What if I don’t like the house that everyone else loves?” and to her satisfaction was given the answer, “Well, then we probably won’t buy it.”
After a lot of searching we found our perfect home in that two day window of time, with 100% of the vote for the same house. When we tell people about our experience, they often think we are crazy for giving our children that kind of power, but this was not a risky experiment for us because we can trust our kids and their judgment. We value their input and ideas because their perspective is different and they see things that we don’t see.
The result of our democratic house hunt is a home that all three teens are proud to live in, and a feeling of being listened to at a time when they had little say in what was going on in their lives. Now, if I could only figure out how to get them motivated to clean it every now and then….