Trial and Error Teen Parenting Manual

Listen while driving

I used to be in the teen parenting trenches. I survived. My kids did too. I half-jokingly tell them I hope one day to make enough money to pay for their counseling.

Some parents have it easier than others. They have firm handles in place in case the teenage wheels come off and they’re able to stop the raging hormonal craft before it crash lands. Others, like me, learn as we go.

Hear and Be Near

I learned some critical things:


·      Your teen will remember all the words you wished you hadn’t said.
·      They may have selective recall of the words you really meant.
·      They seem to have little need for your advice, but they do listen.
·      No one likes living in or around a battleground.
·      Older teens have good BS Detectors. Honesty works both ways. 

After a decade working with community teens, I see that they live in a crazy mixed up world. They need far more preparation than K-12 schooling. When teens say you don’t understand, they’re probably right. In some ways, they'd like you to know more, just so you'd know what they face. And they really need people around they can trust. 

I had all the tools I needed when my teens were home, but I didn’t realize it. So here’s my hardware list for you:

·      Ears: Use them ALL the time. Listen well and respond with care.
·      Notes: Post-its, text, email. Send short reminders how much you love them.
·      Research the latest trends—the bad (STDs, drugs, influences) and the good. You need to know.
·      Volunteer at school: You’ll get to know their territory—wise tactical move.


Plan for the future
The key is to help your teen see far enough ahead to be able to make the wise choices to get there. A motivated teen can step around the adolescent minefield.
Such a short time together

School counselors have limited time to focus on your teen. Be the resourceful parent. It’s a balancing act between their independence and making sure they meet key deadlines for college/career moves. Remember, they haven’t done this before.

 Sometimes their resistance to us is actually their newfound recognition that independence comes with a cost that places a burden on them. Carefree days are not so carefree anymore--freedom's price tag.



I've also discovered: once a parent always a parent. I'm still available to mine and like to help others. And even if you've never been a parent, there will always be a youth who could use one.


(Grand)Parenting continues......
Oh, one more thing. In between my first teen and my second, I decided I couldn't do it without Help. God helped soften my combativeness.

As I learned more, I found that with God inside me I had access to qualities I desperately needed: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

God's advice is timeless--everything that's been done or gone wrong is on full display in the Bible. The best part for me is the 24/7 support system.
And who couldn't use that?


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