As a 20 year Life and Business Coach I often have incredible mother’s who secretly connect with me and share their fears and challenges of raising kids between the ages of 12 and 17. Yes, I’ve raised 2 boys….Yes, I’ve learned a few things along the way but~~~However, I WAS that difficult teenager. My poor, wonderful parents had to face the challenges I threw at them for many years.
Because I WAS that girl I want to give parents 10 things to remember while parenting your pre-adult children:
- Hormones cause brain damage—those hormones cause emotions that will settle down in a while but they cause boys and girls to become incredibly emotional and dramatic—this will pass!
- It’s not personal. I knew how to hurt my parents with comments like “you’re the worst parents ever!” “I hate you!!” I promise you, I said all of that and more! I did not mean a word of it! I was just mad I wasn’t getting my way!
- The insecurity of a teen is real! I remember wondering “ where do I fit in?” “do I fit in?” Why are all the popular girls skinny while I have wide hips?” Seems silly but for a teen these challenges are real! Be patient and help your kids find something they are really good at! Once you find your niche’ it’s easier to navigate peer pressure.
- Stay an adult! Don’t argue with your child at their level!! Do you remember believing you knew everything until you grew up and had a family of your own?? In hindsight we would all say “wow, we didn’t know anything!!”
- Don’t make the “bad boy or the bad girl” attractive by demonizing them. When I was told I couldn’t date a certain boy I ran away from home because I knew my parents “just didn’t understand him” which made the attraction even bigger! Find a creative way to bring that person closer to your home and they may self-select out!
- Your kids know your family values! Even when I was misbehaving I knew I was doing all the wrong things, I just wanted to fit in- to be cool! Pray for your kids- for safety, for wisdom, and for purpose!!
- Don’t let your teens cause strife in your marriage because they will play off of that! I would walk a mile to the end of our driveway to “talk” with my dad before he got home! During that “talk “I would let him know how mean mom had been!! (I know, I was awful. My mom got very hurt during those years)
- Some situations may be more than your teens bargained for –sex, porn etc! Don’t shame them, keep the conversation open and focus on the cost of the behavior. Being shamed or being told they are “bad” will only cause them to feel they are damaged goods and they will act out.
- Cover them in love even when they hurt you. Love is actually what they are crying out for! This takes patience and maturity on your part.
- Don’t let yourself go to the “worst case scenario”, don’t decide they will never be a good adult, don’t decide they will get pregnant, don’t decide they will become a drug addict! That kind of thinking will make you respond out of fear rather than faith!!
At my 10 year Class reunion I had my fellow students ask the simple question “so what do you do now? To which I replied “I am a Pastor’s Wife”……my classmates looked a little surprised! My teen years were certainly a winding road but God had his eyes on me all along.
God has your kids too! Have faith, pray, love, and work hard to be as unoffendable as possible! Your teens love you- but they just want their way!