Parenting a teen is not without it’s challenges no matter who you are. Pro volleyball champion Gabrielle Reece talked to us about raising her teens.
What are the biggest challenges in raising teens in today’s age?
One of the biggest challenges is trying to understand how to navigate their world and our world regarding the electronics. Since we didn’t grow up with it it is hard to know exactly what is a realistic and fair system to put in place. It’s an amazing amount of information that they have to navigate.
How do you and Laird prioritize family time and communication?
For Laird and I think it’s about quality over quantity. We try to stay connected and present when we are together and encourage everyone to enjoy whatever they’re doing when we are apart. That and we say no to a lot of outside things that keep pulling us away from being with the family. Another really helpful practice is just to share family dinner whenever you have the opportunity. We make that a point in our home and usually 5/6 nights a week we are at least all across from one another at the table.
As a mother of teenagers, how do you encourage confidence in their everyday lives?
You love them, encourage them to embrace who they are, celebrate others and then give them tools for their lifestyle. Talk to them about nutrition, food, movement and even try to see it from their side. Our teenage daughter needed orthodontic treatment and rather than just slapping braces on her teeth, we tried to be sensitive to her life and we explored all options. We ended up getting her in Invisalign treatment because they were so easy to use, effective and you can hardly see them. So it’s a constant cooperation between their lives and what you think is best.
How do you keep them off their phones/tablets and get them to do active things?
This is about one of the hardest things in modern day parenting. You set up clear rules but it feels like you’re always reinforcing them. My kids don’t get a telephone till 12 but still keeping the little one off the device, games etc. is an every day challenge. I admit we have not even come close to getting it right.
What is the biggest piece of advice that you can give to moms and dads of teens?
Every family and every dynamic is different. The best advice I can give is not too much advice. Listen to them, try to remember what it was like to be that age, keep them busy and productive, love them, if for some reason they are being dramatic do not go down the rabbit hole with them, honor that that’s how they really are feeling, but stay where you are. The obvious stuff is make sure they have a good solid group of friends they feel connected to, help them find some form of physical activity they enjoy and support all of this with a nutritionally filled foods.