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Ways To De-stress From Raising Teens
By Joanne Kimes and R.J. Colleary with Rebecca Rutledge, PhD,
Authors of Teenagers Suck: What to do when missed curfews, texting, and "Mom can I have the keys?" make you miserable

I'm sure there are a few parents out there raising teenagers who don't have any problems what-so-ever. Their kids help out around the house without being told, love to spend time with their younger siblings, and have lemonade stands every weekend to raise money for the poor. But for most of us that live on planet Earth, raising a teenager can be a very stressful job filled with constant battles and loud door slams. This is nothing new. In fact, raising kids has always been met with frustrations.

I'll never forget when I had my first kid! I spent my nights with a crying infant and my days being overwhelmed with the endless amount of things that had to be done. I remember calling my friend, a mother of three, begging her to explain why she would voluntarily procreate again and again. She tried to ease my breakdown by telling me that the first three months of parenting are the hardest. After that it gets much easier. Well, you know what? She lied.

True, after the first three months the stresses faded, but there were new stresses that swept in and took their place. Teething pain, illness, tantrums, night terrors. And now that my baby is a teen, the latest stresses are rudeness, self-centeredness, overall insolence. Sleep deprivation seems like a cake-walk compared with the stresses of dealing with a rebellious teen.

Yes, along with the joys of parenting come the frustrations as well (as does a messy room and an empty refrigerator, but we'll stick to the issues at hand). And whenever the frustrations become too much to handle, we must find ways to decompress. Taking time for yourself is not selfish, it's mandatory. You cannot be a good parent if you're ready to blow at any minute. Got it? Good.

With that in mind, here are some of the top ten ways to lower your stress level so you can get back in the game of parenting. Just remember to put on your protective gear. It's tough out there.

Top Ten Ways to Relieve The Stress of Parenting Teens:

  1. Take a long walk. Exercise has always been a great way to release endorphins and put a smile on your face. And when I say "long walk" I mean one that allows you to come back when the kids are asleep so you don't have to deal with them anymore.
  2. Listen to music. Grab your kid's iPod (I know you don't have your own since we all spend more money on our kids than on ourselves) and download some of your oldie's but goodies classics.
  3. Get therapy . . . retail therapy that is. Buy yourself a little goodie and then hide it from you kid. If it's anything they want, they'll borrow it, break it, stain it or lose it in no time flat!
  4. Take a long hot bubble bath . . . and if you can take it at a day spa after an hour long salt rub with eucalyptus oils, all the better.
  5. Read a good book. I'd suggest anything that's based on the life of a baron woman who lives on some far away island with white sandy beaches full of hot shirtless men whose argue over whose turn it is to rub sunscreen on your back.
  6. Dance. Not only will it be mood lifting for you, but it'll embarrass the heck out of your kids and make them run fast in the opposite direction leaving you all alone. Ahhh!
  7. Take yourself to the movies. Who cares if there's nothing good playing. As long as there's a tub of popcorn and an oversized box of candy, all is right with the world.
  8. Call a friend. Preferably one that has kids that are your kid's age and are far worse behaved than your own. Hearing about the heartache they bring will put your life in perspective.
  9. Go to timeanddate.com and set up a countdown calendar. Program the exact moment your kid turns eighteen and can move out of the house or go off to collage. Then just sit back and relax as you watch your time as parenting a teen slip away.
  10. Drink in excess. It's worked for every other stressful time in your life and raising teenagers is no time to stop now! If you don't like to drink, the nearest substitute is chocolate . . . and lots of it!
Copyright © 2009 Joanne Kimes and R.J. Colleary with Rebecca Rutledge, PhD, authors of Teenagers Suck: What to do when missed curfews, texting, and "Mom can I have the keys?" make you miserable

Author Bios for Teenagers Suck: What to do when missed curfews, texting, and "Mom can I have the keys?" make you miserable
Joanne Kimes has written for a number of children's and comedy television shows. This is her eleventh Sucks book. She lives in Studio City, CA.

For more information please visit http://sucksandthecity.com/

R.J. Colleary attended Emerson College and moved to L.A. to become a writer for shows such as Saved by the Bell, The Golden Girls, and Benson. He teaches writing to graduate students at Chapman University and works steadily as a playwright. He has survived two teenagers and is currently surviving one more at home in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Rebecca Rutledge, PhD is a clinical psychologist who specializes in family therapy and individual therapy for children and adolescents. She writes columns for Your Health, Memphis Women's Journal, and the Shelby Sun Times, and lives in Memphis, TN