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Since I’m in the trenches of raising teenagers myself right now, Shan from The How-to Guru is sharing with us! She offers a much better perspective, you know because she’s been there done that kind of thing and in fact, did raise incredible teenagers. I know because in my former public school teacher life, I taught her son (shhhh–don’t tell that I’m that old), and her daughter spent time with my mine when we attended the same homeschool group. Shan knows her stuff!
If you’ve been around The How-to Guru for any time at all, you know how much I adore my family, but I’ve got to set the record straight! You’ve heard the jokes about teenagers, right? The ones that poke fun at how all Moms should dread the inevitable teen years?! Now that I’ve raised one teen, in the trenches of raising another, and had years of youth volunteering, I’m here to expose the Mom lies, y’all.
Mom lies everywhere
Who was it exactly that said I should dread my own children becoming teenagers? Oh yeah, it was almost every Mom, Grandma, or Aunt that sat in my salon chair during my years as a stylist. It was always said in jest, but as a young Mom, it was terrifying to me.
Thanks, Ladies. Thanks a lot!
After all of the Mom lies through the years, fear loomed in the back of my mind as my first-born went from toddlerhood to becoming a young boy. Negative words spoken to my Mom’s heart caused anxiety about my sweet little boy becoming a nasty, sarcastic teenager or my baby girl turning into an eye-rolling display of selfishness.
I’m not gonna lie, the hormonal years that start around age 12 or 13 can be tricky. It’s tough on them because of all of the changes they are going through. It can be a little rough on us because they are a little unpredictable. BUT…
Your kids do not automatically turn into angry little monsters that hate you and want to make you miserable just because they had their 13th birthday!
What REALLY happened
Something I didn’t expect happened with my oldest – time went way too fast and my first-born was turning 13-years-old before I knew it. I waited for the ball to drop or for the walls to cave in. You know what? There was no pomp or circumstance.
I’m not going to tell you that I didn’t worry, experience disappointment, or have hurt feelings from time to time. BUT, I was also able to watch my sweet little boy become an incredible, God-honoring, young man. He has now graduated from college, served his country, and married his college sweetheart. About three months ago, he and his wife moved back to our small town and bought a house only 1/2 mile away from us!
My daughter is 17-years-old and her maturity, life skills, and zest for life far surpass mine – and I’m an adult! She has awesome humor, compassion for others, and is simply a joy to be around. We have so much fun.
My kids (and I) are far from perfect, but man, I enjoy their company, and so do tons of other adults that tell me so on a regular basis. Don’t miss out on this wonderful story unfolding before your very eyes because you’re dreading the future!
How to raise incredible teenagers
There is no magic potion. I don’t have all the answers. All I can tell you is what I’ve learned from my own failures and triumphs, and those around me that shared their details with me.
Stay on your knees
First and foremost, you can’t raise incredible kids for the glory of God without God’s help. I can’t tell you the number of hours I spent (literally) on my knees in my closet – begging God to lead us all. I prayed for humble hearts, godly spouses, victory over bullies, purity for them, and forgiveness for me when I completely messed up! God has done amazing things IN SPITE OF ME BEING THEIR PARENT! Mainly, I had to back away from the ‘driver’s’ seat and give their lives to Him.
Pick your battles
I can remember receiving a baby shower book from an older Mom that gave the advice of picking your battles when raising kids. Think about it: if you are constantly on their case about everything, they will tune you out. Sit down with your husband and decide [ahead of time] some basic ground rules – together.
Mom lies tell you to give in to their every whim so they won’t hate you. Truth: stick to your guns and ignore this entitlement craze in our country. It’s so obvious to spot the young adults that were allowed to get away with this “I want, I get!” mentality as teenagers.
Have a united front
One of the best things you can do for your teens is to have unity with your spouse. Period. Discuss the non-negotiable rules for your teenager and stick with your spouse when times get sticky. Even if you don’t agree (and you won’t), discuss it in private. Not in front of your kids!
You will continue loving them more than you punish, although their mistakes will change through the years.
Stop being their B.F.F.
During the teen years, you and your kiddos can have some fun times – we had lots. They make me laugh harder than anyone else I know. But when it comes right down to it, you should not be their best friend when they are teens, and you should quit trying to be. Let me reiterate… you aren’t their best friend, you are their MOM.
Glimmers of hope to look forward to during or shortly after the teen years:
- they’ll realize that everyone is not in their corner like you have always been
- they’ll realize that the strict rules you had were not always convenient for you
- they’ll realize all of the sacrifices that you made so that they could have an amazing childhood
- they’ll appreciate all of the traditions and family photos that you made them do
- they’ll remember the meals you made, the clothes you washed, and your unconditional love
- when they are adulting, they will be one of your best friends (it’s OK now!)
Ignore the Mom lies and focus on the wonder of the teenage era. Teenagers will disappoint you, lie to you, and break your heart sometimes, because, well, they are human. It doesn’t sound much different than toddlerhood, does it?
It’s all worth it to see the little people you have loved spread their wings, form their own views, and take flight as well-rounded, responsible young adults. There will be awesome days when you find out that they make great choices and/or have a heart of gold for God and His people.
So, for the love of all things holy, don’t play into the Mom lies and dread the teens years. Keep doing what you’re doing – adjusting when needed, and you’ll see …
The relationship with your kid can still be fun, wonderful, and special as they become a teen — it’s just different for a little while!