Last year I chaperoned my son’s seventh-grade class trip to Hollywood Studios. He was excited about having me chaperone and actually wanted me to. I think that was the first time I felt like I actually reached “cool mom” status. Listen, I am way cooler now than I ever was as a teenager. Check out some of these tips below that I feel made me reach “cool mom” status with my teenager and his friends.
Mom jokes are the new Dad jokes.
As much as it can hurt my son’s ears, my mom jokes are on point. Whether they are ridiculously annoying to him, or so bad they’re funny he laughs. I think it’s so important that especially this year, we find humor each day and can be humorous around our children. You don’t have to walk around with a straight face all the time to make it known to your teenager that you write the rules. You need to find that good balance between both.
Don’t be an embarrassment but it’s okay to be embarrassing.
Don’t underestimate the power of embarrassing your teenager. You have plenty of ways to embarrass them where they can laugh about it. For example, the other day I picked up my teenager wearing a “cool mom” sweatshirt to his school.
Get in their business and be sure to listen to them.
Snoopy is the new cool. As a parent, it is your job to utilize all resources so that your teenager knows they can’t get away with anything. Make friends with the parents that they’re friends with. Go through their phones and computers. Talk to them. Pry and ask them questions. It doesn’t even have to be in-depth questions, ask them how their day was. What was one thing that happened during the day that was positive and one thing that happened that was negative? Don’t allow yourself to forget what it was like to be a teenager. When you’re listening to them, think about how you would have responded or how you would have felt in a similar situation. You’re not going to agree with everything they say, and they’re certainly going to begin developing their own opinions about things but as a parent, we need to respect them for that.
Trust your teenager until you can’t trust them.
We have all made mistakes as teens. Don’t expect your teenager not to as well. It’s okay to have expectations, but when they do make a mistake acknowledge it and talk to them about their choice. Be slow to anger. Anger typically doesn’t get us anywhere with any type of relationship; whether it’s with our teenager or another adult. Remind them of the importance of trust, and what can happen if that trust is broken.
A year ago my son broke his trust with me when he wasn’t honest about something (let’s be real, it’s part of life), and while I was extremely angry I learned I needed to wait to confront him until I had calmed down a little bit. He learned an apology goes a long way, and that it was going to take some time to build that trust back up with me. To this day, we still talk about trust and I kindly remind him that a lot of the things he has the opportunity to do is a privilege because I trust him. Will he break my trust again? Oh, I’m certain of it but it’s a learning experience and it is my job to teach him.
Get to know the person your teenager is becoming.
Chaperone the field trips. Go on shopping dates. Grab lunch together. Be interested in things that they are interested in. My son is a huge football fan. Lives and breaths it — plays the game and watches the game. I have gone out of my way to learn football lingo and learn about different players and teams just to be able to talk to him about it. I am choosing to take an interest in something that he loves.
So even though I wasn’t as cool when I was in school as I am now. I wouldn’t change my coolness for anything. And, my collection of cool mom shirts continues to grow. I absolutely tell everyone how much I love the teenage years. They are hard, they are exhausting, and sometimes I question my parenting skills but I love the relationship I have with my teenager. I love being able to hold real conversations, have those uncomfortable talks and share my experiences from when I was the same age, and most importantly … tell him how proud I am of his success so far in life and push him to reach his dreams.