I had the great pleasure of catching up with the owner of QTeablendz, wife and mother of 2, Jasman Miller. We chatted a little about her joys and struggles of raising a teenager. Check her out her interview below.
You are a mom of a teenage daughter. How is that? Tell us a little about her.
Being the mother of a teenage girl, I would say my journey has been adventurous to say the least! At 19 years old, I was a single and unprepared mother! At first I didn’t realize the importance of raising a child. I just knew basic survival skills, such as, protecting her, providing food, clothing, and shelter. I soon realized I gave birth to an actual human being with feelings, emotions, thoughts and opinions. My daughter’s name is Aaneia, she is 13 and will be entering high school this upcoming school year. She is so much like me; however, she expresses herself in ways I couldn’t growing up. I admire so many things about her. Aaneia is very caring, passionate and a born leader!!!! One thing I do know is no one can ever convince my child to do something she does not want to do. At times she has her “rebellious” moments, but I feel a lot of that comes from her trying to discover who she is. This is where the adventure gets interesting!
I have a 8 year old daughter and moms of teenage girls always tell me how rough the teenage years are. You and your daughter have a pretty healthy relationship. Was it always that way?
Yes, we’ve always had a healthy relationship and I believe the biggest part of that is communication and transparency! Let’s not get it twisted my daughter gets on my last nerve sometimes, but I try to give her everything I feel I needed at her age. I’m a parent first, but when she needs a friend I am that too. We all heard the phrases “I’m not one of your little friends” and “who do you think you are talking to” growing up. This was said quite often in my home as a teenager. This registered with me as I don’t have that connection with you and you don’t have a voice! So I am often very transparent in my discussions with Aaneia and I allow her to express her feelings and emotions when they arise. She’s human, and as teens they feel a lot more than we give them credit for!
We all know how essential it is to have great communication with our children. How do you get her to open up to you?
Boy oh boy, it was trial and error! I find it necessary to build that trust and relationship starting at a young age. It’s important to listen to them. Aaneia was a talker at a very young age, very inquisitive and wanted to know everything. So, I try not to get annoyed with her questions. I would always tell her to look it up and we’ll discuss it. That’s important when developing communication in serious or even general conversations. As Aaneia got older and the dialogue of our conversation became more serious I got us a mommy-daughter journal, which was super helpful as well. We are able to get to know each other as individuals, not as just mother and daughter.
When situations arise in her teenage life that she needs advice about, I want her to chose to talk to me about it. Building that rapport is important and I am grateful we have that. I had to learn what way would be most effective when communicating with Aaneia.When the topics are a little bit more uncomfortable I find it easier for her to communicate via text or a through video messages. That is OK with me because this is how kids communicate anyway these days.
Now as lovely as Aaneia is, we know kids will be kids. What are some effective discipline methods that you implement?
This is my parenting style in a nutshell. I am strict, yet understanding. I know that kids are going to make mistakes, they are going to mess up. I try to react out of understanding their behavior, instead of anger or disappointment. We live in a world where everyone is quick to point the finger atone another. I teach my kids accountability! Aaneia, just like any other teen is curious, sneaky and thinks her parents are stupid. So when Aaneia is caught in the act, the discipline that I find works best for her is taking her phone for an extended period of time!! (World ends) lol. Having her understand why she’s being disciplined and communicating that certain behavior will not be tolerated. I’m very careful to address the actual behavior and not to demean her.
Lol kids love their phones. We still haven’t decided when we would give the kids phones yet. Here is the big one! When do you recommend bringing up the dreaded topic of sex? If you already had these talks with Aaneia, did you just give her the basics or were you straight forward and detailed.
I’ve been discussing sex with Aaneia since the age of 9! Yes, that seems early, but it really isn’t. Just think it’s all around them. Of course just like anything else it’s stages to it. At age nine, I wanted Aaneia to understand her body parts. Aaneia started her cycle at the age of 11. Rightfully, the next step was menstruation and the birds and bees. Now at 13, with her going into high school and her body developing our conversation and dialogue changes. I now discuss more details with her. One thing I don’t do is make sex a negative topic! Again, I want to be very transparent with my daughter. We all know sex doesn’t feel bad. I stress to Aaneia she is the PRIZE, and she has to be very selective of who she choose to give a piece of herself to. Of course we discussed the basics of teen pregnancy, STDs, and all of the bad things that can come with having sex without the proper knowledge and protection. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is she is going to experience sex one day. My job is to give her the information and tools she will need to avoid any life-altering mistakes. It’s uncomfortable but so necessary! If not they will be getting information from friends and peers that are learning blindly. Teaching them self-love is important so when the boys come around professing their so-called love our daughters see right through it!
I so agree, it is very important to have these conversations as uncomfortable as it may be! What do you struggle with the most parenting your teenager?
My biggest challenge/struggle is choosing my battles. I try not to react to every single situation that I’m faced with. Boy is it hard!!!! When I look at a situation, I often think if it needs a reaction. However, it feels easier for her to seek counsel from me when difficult situations arise.
Parents, trust me when I say, what we say to our children doesn’t go in one ear and throughout the other! They are listening! Do you know how often my daughter comes back and tells me mom you were right after a learned lesson! Trying to drill it into their head won’t prevent them from making that mistake. This is big for me because I’m normally responsive to every little thing! The struggle is real!!
Yes, I still to this day recall things my parents said to me as a child, teen and young adult. How do you feel about teenagers on social media?
This is definitely one of those things Aaneia and I will agree to disagree on. I think social media is a gift and a curse. I feel a child who is so impressionable doesn’t need to look and seek the worlds approval. Of course I get the, “everyone else is doing it” comment from her. She’s right! Social media is a privilege, so if you allow your teen to utilize it, it needs to be monitored! There are so many different apps that you can use to put on your child’s phone to monitor them. To make sure they are being responsible and the content they are viewing is age appropriate. I would say spoonfeed social media to your children. My daughter currently has Snapchat and TikTok. I follow her accounts and use a monitoring apps to make sure she’s doing the correct things on those apps sporadically. As she gets older and show more responsibility I will loosen those restraints. We’re currently under negotiation for Instagram for this upcoming school year….wish her luck!
Ha! Social media is really one of those things. I know how it influences and give adults anxiety. It’s great that you are monitoring her usage. If there is one piece of advice you could give another parent with a teenager daughter, what would that be?
Have a relationship with your child outside of a “parent to child” norm. Don’t just force your child to do the things you like or you think is fun. Aaneia is very artistic, so our quality time is spent doing things she enjoys. I bring myself into her world. Put yourself in their shoes and think of all the things that you needed from your parents at that age.
Whether your parents were too strict or they were lax, we all needed the latter. Being a helicopter parent does not work, and being your child’s friend with no boundaries does not work! Build a relationship with your child that meets both of your comfort levels.
Jas, thank you so much for this interview. I know that this will be a light to many parents who are fighting their way through the dark. Of course we all want our children to stay little but the reality is they grow up. To find out more about Jasman, her crew and QTeablendz you and find her HERE and HERE!