Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Let's Talk Teenagers...

Teenagers!  What can we say about teenagers?

I knew when I started having children that I feared the teenage years. Yes, feared. Not because I was a terrible teen – I was actually pretty tame compared to most, but I knew the potential. Now that I have three, I understand that fear.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my teens! They are all good kids. I can’t complain – they give me a run for my money most days, but, overall, they do a good job. Yes, I’ve seen the horror stories of teens gone wrong! Some of you may be parenting those children – to you I offer my most heartfelt prayer. I have “good kids,” and I’m struggling.

Before we start, let’s get one thing straight right away – teen is not a numerical designation, it’s a hormonal one. Teen begins at 12 and ends about 22’ish. There’s a decade there, not the simple seven years they would lead us to believe.

I understand that God created teens so that we’d be willing to let them go. Unlike birds who give their babies the proverbial boot out of the nest, as humans, we want to hang on. That is until our teens realize that we know absolutely nothing and that they are just fine on their own (as long as we are fully financing them). That is when there are days that a little distance doesn’t sound like quite such a bad thing.

Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t the teens. Maybe, it’s us. We’ve invested so much that we don’t want to just throw caution to the wind and let them live their own lives. I know I struggle with that. I’ve lived my life protecting, cherishing and helping my babies, it’s a hard job to do a 180 and let them make their own mistakes. But, we must, right?

I look at each gray hair on my head, and I’m pretty sure I can identify the date and time it sprouted. I’m sure one day these grays will be badges of honor, but, for right now, they are evidence that teenagers exist in my life.

What about your teens? Do they put grays on your head? Do you lay awake at night wondering just how you are going to be the angel on their shoulder guiding them through right and wrong from a distance? If you do, then join me. I need your advice, your commiseration and I need to share in your joys. These are tough times – it takes a village to raise children, but it takes an interconnected network of spies, angels, and prayer to raise teens.

What are your thoughts on teens? I’ll take all the advice I can get!


  1. What a great topic! I am on the younger side and would love to hear about this! I have a 12 year old son, but my 9 yr old son seems to act like a 13 yr old girl. Weird. :) Each day - A new thing. :)

  2. I've raised 3 teens to adulthood. I have 4 teens currently at home. 1 pre-teen (10..almost 11). A 7 year old and almost 5 year old. I can say I've been there done that and more is yet to come :)

    I have to be honest....the first 3 were a cinch. Why? I don't know but some of the horror stories of their friends, I'm just thankful they didn't follow suit.

    Right now....the 4 teens at home are easy compared to the issues I get from the 10 year old. I tell people all the time that she will be the death of me...the major cause of all my gray hairs :)

    I do enjoy my teens (young adults) very much.

    God's blessings on this journey with your teens.

  3. I think it's much, much harder to raise teenagers today than it was in the past. There are so many options, so much freedom, so many "things," so many temptations, so much media and pop culture emphasis on growing up fast, and too much parental fear of providing structure, rules, and expectations. All of this exacerbates the natural urge that teenagers have to rebel and to "be the boss of me" (with, as you say, reliance on parental financing). On the other hand, teenagers are fun, exciting, intelligent people who add spice to our lives, enrich us with their ideas and love and even their pecadillos, challenge us to be human and humane....and thankfully usually make it through those years (with teenage years ending later in life than in the past, I'm prone to believe) reasonably unscathed, as do their parents.

  4. How funny, I too have been doing several posts on the teen years! With my oldest turning 13 this year, this topic has been on my mind for the past few years! lol

  5. Having raised one who is almost 21, married, and a mama; currently raising an almost 18 yr old, 16, 14, 12, 10 & 8 yr old, I can offer some advice. Run, don't walk, don't pass go, ... haha Seriously though, the teens I have raised have been fairly mild compared to others out there. They have their issues and we work through them. As far as letting them go - I've not got any problems with this. By the time they are finished with school, it's time for them to go. They can stay at home during college if they follow our rules. If not, they can work and go to school and learn to trust in God more. I love my kids but they have to learn how to make their own way in life. I can't do it for them. I have given them the tools they need to survive - it's up to them to use 'em.

  6. I appreciate all the feedback. Letting go is hard, but Tina is right that we have to be able to do it for their good as well as our own. I just wish it was as easy doing it as saying it.



Thank you for commenting - I love to hear your thoughts!