Generation Cedar

Parenting Teens: Learning & Growing Together

Remember when our kids were little, and sleep was scarce, and needs were enormous? Now we call those the good days.

And every mom I know will attest to this: “No one told us it gets harder as they get older.” Raising teenagers is a big, fun, scary job. But here are a few things I’m learning in the process:

We are learning and growing with them.

If you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re not alone. And it’s a good thing to tell your teen that. “Let’s give each other grace as we figure things out together.”

This too shall pass.

Whatever it is, for them or you, it will pass. Remind them of that and remind yourself.

Don’t take things too personally.

This is a hard one for me because I am a “feeler.” But it helps to remember that sometimes teenagers say and do dumb things. Sometimes they say things that hurt your feelings, whether intentional or not. It is our job to try to remain steady through the flighty emotions they are dealing with. They will feel safe if they know we don’t crumble at their every fault. (Again, talking to myself here!)

Hug them and talk to them.

Show them affection even if it’s not always reciprocated. They love you, even if they don’t always show it. But your affection and reaching out shouldn’t be contingent upon theirs. Be there. It will make a big difference in a little while.

Write them letters.

Years ago, I bought my teens a spiral notebook with the inscription “To (name), Love Mom.” We exchanged this notebook back and forth, writing letters to each other. I found that almost always, my children open up about things in writing they don’t always communicate verbally. My son still writes me occasionally in his notebook at 23.

Bonus Tip

Try to do something fun with your teens every now and then. Connect with them over something that is meaningful in their lives. And pray, pray, pray!! Pray for them, over them and with them.

They will well remember all your efforts to love them and see them through this turbulent part of their lives. Stay calm, and parent on!

12 Responses

  1. My oldest, my 19 yo daughter, decided she’d had enough of us and left home in May. I was terribly sad, but I felt the Lord was telling me, “You just leave her to Me.” He was also telling me she would be back and we’d be closer than ever. In all her life, she’d never been away from home or a parent. (If she did leave home, it was with a parent. Or a parent would go on a trip, but she’d be home with the other parent.)

    Because I’m a nerd, I typed in her birth date in a spreadsheet, and typed in the day she left. EXACTLY 7,000 days. If that isn’t a God number, I don’t know what is.

    Four months later she’d had enough of living with other people in harder conditions and came home and she is more kind and thankful to me than she has ever been and is all over the Bible and seeking to see her life through God’s eyes.

    God is ALWAYS with us, even when the ride is a roller coaster!

    Thanks for diving back into the blog. Your presence is such a light.

    1. Oh, Anne! Thank you for sharing this. God does answer prayers. My son, whom we had great difficulty his whole life, who left home at age 17, is in the marines now and I can’t tell you how he has changed. Spiritually, and relationally with us, he GUSHES in his letters about how much respect and love he has for us, how he wishes he could have seen it, etc. His letter today said, “I crave the Word. It’s the best part of the day.” I just can’t tell you, if you knew everything, what a tremendous joy and answer to prayer this has been. I am rejoicing with you over your daughter too! What a miracle.

  2. Such a good word!! Mercy, no one ever told me about teens OR young adults!!!!! That has been an eye opener!! Not always in a good way!! I am a *feeler* too, it ain’t easy to let things slide sometimes. Thank you for this encouragement!!! If you got any on young adults I am ALL ears!!!

  3. I have been asking God for a Mentor Mom of Teenagers. I am thankful God put me in your space for a few hours. This is such a good reminder. I give “unwanted” hugs occasionally and through the silly dramatic protests, I know she is happy to know she is loved even in these hard times.

  4. Kelly:
    Thank you for this! What are some ways to pray for our teens? I pray for my son to follow God’s will for his life, for his purity in mind and heart, for his future spouse if it’s God’s will for him to marry. What are other areas I’m missing?

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