blog » January 11, 2019 by Renee Herren

#30Seconds In-Depth: Parenting Twins, Tweens, Teens & In-Betweens With Mom of Five Heather Holter! by Renee Herren

Blog Teens Parenting
11 days ago
#30Seconds In-Depth: Parenting Twins, Tweens, Teens & In-Betweens With Mom of Five Heather Holter!

Ah, the dreaded tween and teen years. If you're in the midst of parenting tweens and teens, you might feel lost, like you're in uncharted territory. But don’t fret! There is no reason to dread parenting this age group! Tweens and teens can present a lot of heartache for parents and caregivers, but also opportunities to shape and influence who they are becoming. Heather Holter shared her experiences and tips to help us navigate parenting twins, teens, tweens and in-betweens! Heather is a work-from-home mom who has five kids ranging in age from 10 to 16 (including twins!).

Q: What is the most important thing to know about raising twins? What is one thing you should make sure you do, and one thing you should never do?

  • Always treat them as individuals, not half of a pair. Let them choose their clothes. Don’t make them dress alike unless they choose to. Let them choose different hobbies and hairstyles, etc.
  • Make sure to praise their individual strengths. Help them to find what they are good at, and feed that talent. It doesn't matter if they are good at different things.
  • Never compare them. You don’t want to make them feel like they always need to compete with each other. They are not both going to have the same strengths and weaknesses. That’s OK! 
  • Most importantly, love them! Spend time one on one. Make them feel special, on their own, not because they are twins.

Q: What is something you didn't expect about raising twins? What is the hardest thing? What is the easiest thing?

I did not expect them to be so different in personality. I also did not expect the enormity of messes they could make together!! It is terrifying!

  • The hardest thing is helping them not to compare themselves to each other. As babies, double feeding, crying and changing was the worst – and also the messes!!
  • The easiest thing is I have never had to entertain them. They are each other's best friend. They never get bored and have someone their age to relate to.
  • The best thing is, I can relate to them as twins because I am a twin myself. They were born on my birthday!

Q: What is the most important thing to know about raising teens? What is one thing you should make sure you do, and one thing you should never do?

It isn’t as scary as people think. It is actually quite enjoyable. They enjoy more adult activities and are fun to talk to.

  • When they are being mouthy, which they will, never scream back. It doesn’t work. Think about the “whys” to the behavior and react accordingly.
  • Always make sure they know you love them and they can talk to you about anything and won’t get in trouble.
  • Let them see you as a human that makes mistakes. I have told my kid some of the mistakes I made as a teen. This way, they will know I can relate.

Q: What is something you didn't expect about raising teens? What is the hardest thing? What is the easiest thing?

I didn’t expect it to be as easy as it is, I expected them to act much worse and get in more trouble. So far smooth sailing.

  • The hardest thing is knowing what to say when they are struggling or upset. I usually try to think of a time I had that struggle.
  • The easiest thing is being able to talk to them like adults and give them more household responsibilities. They make great helpers!
  • Both my son and daughter are amazing teens! They have a great attitude, outlook and are responsible kids!

Q: How do you navigate teen dating? Are there rules you have about it?

My teens are 14 and 16. I haven't faced this issue until recently when my 14-year-old daughter got her first boyfriend. The only rule I have is they can’t be alone together. A parent needs to be home and if they are in her room the door needs to be open. I expect to be allowed to talk to the boy about concerns I have. I thought it would be scary, but so far, after a month, it is going well. My daughter knows what she wants, and tells him if she doesn't like what he does.

Q: What is the most important thing to know about raising tweens? What is one thing you should make sure you do, and one thing you should never do?

  • They may struggle with not being little or big. So, you may see some behaviors that you thought were a thing of the past.
  • Always listen to their concerns, and let them cuddle with you if they want to. It could be the last time!
  • Never say anything that could harm their self-esteem. I have done this and it is hard to take back.
  • Most importantly, make sure they know you love them no matter what! Give them plenty of understanding and support.

Q: What is something you didn't expect about raising tweens? What is the hardest thing? What is the easiest thing?

I didn’t expect the body changes to happen so rapidly! It is scary! The hardest thing is the tantrums/crying/refusal to do tasks. I blame hormones. The easiest thing is being able to get rid of a lot of younger kid clutter and toys. My living room finally has no kids’ toys! Make sure they know they can ask you about the changes they are going through and feeling they have.

Q: Thinking of all five kids, how do you make it work, between parenting, working and personal time?

Time management is key. Lists, schedules, and routines are my BFF! I prioritize what needs to be done each day, in order of importance. Some things end up needing to wait. If something doesn’t get done, I need to remember there is always tomorrow. Everyday musts are work time, homework time, mealtime and then whatever activities the kids have scheduled. Nearly every day I make home cooked food for dinner and we all eat together. This, I feel is the most important thing families can do to connect. Working at home gives me the flexibility to be there for whatever my kids need me for. They always come first before anything else. 

Be sure to follow @maxedoutminivan and read her 30Seconds tips!

Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead
I feel like I have so much to learn from a mom of FIVE! Thanks for being our next twitter chat expert, Heather Holter !
Heather Holter
Thanks! But just like everyone, every day is a learning experience.
Renee Herren
Heather gives such sound advice. This is going to be a great chat!
Donna John
Five kids??? I'm sure you're full of great stories. Can't wait to chat with you!
Meredith Schneider
Heather Holter, I thought having 4 kids was a lot! Can't wait to hear all you have to share with us tonight!

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