You’ve raised a tiny human person all the way through to their teens. You’ve nurtured a business from a humble start-up to a booming success. Growing both brings growing pains
Let’s first acknowledge that you’re incredible! But next, let’s acknowledge that raising a teen whilst juggling a successful business comes with its own set of demands.
The testing teens
Teenagers get a bad rap, but it’s helpful to remember it’s a time of steep learning curves and deeply felt emotions. As big as your teen may seem physically, emotionally they still require a steadying parental presence.
But there are only 24 hours in the day – so what happens when your business is demanding a huge chunk of them? Something has to give.
Reading between the teen lines – even when they cross them
Remember when they were so sweet, breaking your heart with their tears when you left them? Believe it or not, that may still be what’s happening here, only more loudly and with more slamming doors. While it’s not that same separation anxiety, terrible teen behaviour is often the result of those same “big feelings”.
- Like a tantruming toddler who cannot explain her needs, a terrible teen may be struggling to find the words to ask for your help, attention or patience.
- “I need you – be here for me” used to look like teary goodbyes at the childcare gate – but now days it will sound more like accusations.
- A foot stamping and resounding “NO” of a two-year-old….is pretty much the same now. This may be your teen telling you that you don’t understand what’s going on with them and that they wish you could fix their problems.
- Just like a baby demand your attention while you tried to get things done, your teen sees you putting in long hours, not to mention your heart and soul, on your business. Even though they’ll loudly declare they don’t want to spend a moment of their precious time with you, this may not be true.
While your teen is practicing fierce independence, they’re still people who sometimes need their “mum” or “dad”. They’ll never, ever admit it though. So business owners, and employees alike cop the wrath of angry teens for devoting time to projects outside their needs. Your business, is an easy target because it’s there, part of the family, day in, and day out.
Mood swings and bad grades
Teenagers can be moody and monosyllabic. And though it’s no fun living with the one-word responses and general attitude, keeping the lines of communication open is really important. Left to their own devices, teens can withdraw completely. This can affect them socially, emotionally and academically, too.
Keep an eye out for noticeable changes in behaviour. Tiredness, slipping grades and emotional outbursts can be markers for depression and anxiety. The good news is that with the right interventions, you can see your teen through this difficult stage. A visit to the GP is a great first step. And next, as hard as it may be, you need to reconsider your workload.
Outsource to invest time where it counts most
You love your child, and you love your business. You’ve invested so much in each one and it’s your dream that they both reach their highest potential.
But they’re not the same. Yes, your business needs you and you may feel as though it runs best when you’re there. But successful business owners know that delegating responsibilities to capable staff is a clever strategy for restoring life balance.
When it comes to raising your teenager, you are hands down the best person for the job. And despite them exhibiting behaviour that suggests otherwise, your child wants you there. So, make arrangements to free up your time from the business so that you can devote energy to these last few years of “hands-on” parenting. You and your child only get one chance at the teenage years.
Minimise conflict by making quality time
Re-organising your time may be the simplest solution for resolving ongoing conflicts at home. Free up a little more time for yourself, your business and your teen while eliminating some of those high-tension areas. Working long hours is a valid complaint from your teen. How they act out that complaint has some… usual suspects.
- Housework – while chores are probably a major source of conflict in your home, you can give yourself, and your teen a break. While your teen should still contribute to the family, a cleaner to do the big stuff is a relatively affordable way to calm the farm.
- Homework – if attention to study, homework and academic achievement is a key point of conflict at home, then get in a tutor. Good quality high school tutors don’t just teach the curriculum, they work on your child’s mindset and attitude. That, right there, makes the real difference. They also help your teenager to study smarter, not longer – so while the pain remains, it’s simpler, and managed by someone else. Read more about how a high school tutor can help.
- Social Life – going out, staying out and funding all that fun is the next big problem for families with teens. Is your child accusing you of never being around? Every working parent can relate! Get creative and think about ways your child can meaningfully participate in the family business. It’s a great opportunity for them to upskill, earn an income, and better understand why devoting time to the business is important for the whole family. Teenagers generally respond well to being treated as though they are capable young adults, so why not give them some responsibilities and watch them shine?
- Screen Time – OK, this one you can’t outsource, but you can share. By making time through getting some help at the office, and around the house, you can spend some time on the couch enjoying a screen with your teen.
- Teen Time – make time to do things your teen enjoys, together. It might be hitting the shops, a salon, a restaurant or sporting event. Taking time out of work for your teen, finding those things in common that help you to re-connect will make a big difference.
Your teen may actually…. gain some respect for you
Well, let’s not cling to that hope, but spending time with you, at home, and at work, will let your teen see you in a different light. Doing some work in the family business, she may just see you as a “woman in charge”, a capable person, a respected person, someone others look up to. Hanging out together will show him that you can actually be fun. You’re not always exhausted and overworked.
The most important thing to remember is that if you want to change the dynamic of a relationship, you need to initiate a change. Even when the other person is a screaming ball of hormones.
You are the most vital part of your child’s support network. It can be a rough road to the other side of the teens, especially when you run your own business, too, but the rewards are worth it. Hang in there!
Contributor: Hayden McEvoy built A Team Tuition on his own transformational experience as a student struggling with ADHD and receiving D grades to becoming a successful A grade student, elite athlete and ultimately a successful business owner. Hayden believes that tutoring, done correctly, can change the life of a student.