This week, we are talking about parenting teens, and sharing some ideas for ways to get through the unique challenges associated with parenting this age group. There seems to be a dearth of information out there in Catholic circles, mostly because parents want to respect the privacy of their own teenagers, but I worry that the silence leaves some struggling moms and dads (and teens!) feeling like they are all alone. You are not alone! The main points I share for getting through the teen years are these:
1) See the big picture.
Much as we need the reminder when they are trying toddlers, we need it all the more so when they are teens: This will not last forever. They will grow up. They will change. They will mature. Today is not forever. Frustrating moments may feel never-ending, but the truth is that every stage of he journey toward adulthood is a temporary one. Keep trying your best and keep your eyes on the prize!
2) Remember your own teen years.
While this may cause some anxiety (because we know ALL TOO WELL the trouble we got in as teens!), it can also help you shift your perspective and become more compassionate toward your teen when they are having a tough time. Remember the dumb things that mattered SO much to you way back then? It felt real, didn’t it? Understand that that is your teen’s limited perspective now. They will outgrow it, but this is a normal stage for them to be in, and they are truly sometimes suffering in the moment.
3) Don’t take it personally.
This is hard to remember, but it truly is not about you. It’s about hormones, it’s about confusion, it’s about drama at school, it’s about sports team problems. you;re teens are not acting out as a rejection of you and all you have done for them and all you hold dear. They are acting out because that is physically and emotionally a part of this stage of growth. Sometimes, too, our teens push our limits and test us because they know they CAN. It is a privilege to be that “safe” and steadfast relationship for them.
4) Remember who they are.
That sweet 7-year-old boy is in there somewhere, beneath the layers of sullenness and eye rolls. That generous 5-year-old girl is in there, beneath the Goth make up and earbuds. Your job is to see that person you knows well and love through to the other side of these tumultuous years. Remind them who they are. Call them to be their better selves. Whether they let on or not, they are listening!
5) Change your attitude.
The teen years are actually pretty awesome. Big kids can be a bigger help around the house. They are people you can actually have a conversation with. They bring new ideas, new people, and new adventures into your home and family. It’s a joy to watch your children grow into the people God wants them to be. Revel in their youthful energy and idealism!
This week we also have more feedback on our recent topic of NFP. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Please share your ideas and feedback with me about this week’s show topic.
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You’re Worth It! Change How You Feel About Yourself By Discovering How Jesus Feels About You