Parenting is probably one of the biggest challenges in my life. There are days that I win as a parent and days that I fail big time. Every day it's a different twist and turn. I have a teenage daughter and an 8 year old son. They have different personalities, likes and dislikes. Most days they don't agree but on the days that they do, it's a wonderful blessing to see them together.
|My kids when they were younger!|
Photo credit: Delana Brooks
When I share with some people that I'm absolutely loving the teenage years, most look at me like I'm crazy. Especially raising a teenage girl that's full of emotion and attitude. It's not easy BUT I'm just resolved to enjoy every phase and stage of my children's lives. Those were words of wisdom given to me by a colleague years ago and I've never forgotten it. Before I know it, she will be an adult and living on her own.
If I CHOOSE not to enjoy these years, I WILL MISS OUT!
I recognized early on that in her short life span, she doesn't have this world figured out. Heck, I'm more than twice her age and I don't have it all figured out. I'm here to support her and help her navigate life. God entrusted my husband and I with her and I vow to do my best to love, encourage and support her through good and bad times.
Here's a few lessons I've learned about teenagers:
- They need you to be their parents NOT their friends. I'm not her equal and I'm not going to try to be. She needs boundaries, discipline, and guidance. NOT friendship from her mother.
- Teenagers want you to listen to them on their schedule. There are times when my daughter will wait until the most awkward times to want to talk through a situation. I'm normally ready to go to bed, in the middle of cooking or headed out the door. Those are the moments when I have to take a step back and listen.
- As hard as it is, they have to learn from their mistakes. They need to understand that choices have consequences.
- The teenage years are when you HAVE to move from directing every facet of their lives to consulting/coaching them through the rough spots. God is writing their story. Let Him do it! This is when they will learn to resolve conflicts, find their voice and fight their own battles. They need to learn how to interact with adults, teachers, coaches, etc. I can't be her mouth piece in every situation. She has to learn to make decisions for herself.
I recently asked (on my Facebook page) the keys to success when raising teenagers. Here's just a sampling of the many comments shared.....
- Pray for them & pray with them!
- Patience & open communication
- Being supportive
- Intentionally develop a "village" of trusted adults for your child.
- Meet them where they are. Avoid trying to make them who you want them to be.
- Sometimes you have to steer them into the pain to help them learn valuable lessons while they are still in the "nest".
- Give them room to make mistakes.
- Listen without interruption.
- Lead them by your great examples.
- Use wisdom, have faith and watch God do the rest!!
I leave you with a familiar passage of scripture from Proverbs 22:6...
Train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old, he will not depart from it. (KJV)
Point your kids in the right direction, when they're old they won't be lost. (MSG)
What's your parenting advice for parents of teenagers?
(Posted by Renee)