Parents want the best for their kids. The teen years can erupt an entirely new set of worries as our kids are growing fast and our time with them is swiftly slipping away.
We have so much to teach them before they leave home. If nothing else, I hope my teen knows this.
To The Teenager Who Really Wants to Do Everything
From the moment you get up to the late-night hours, you go.
Your non-stop schedule full of hard classes, work, sports, youth group, and an active social life keeps you going all day, every day. In your spare time, you want to feed the homeless, build houses, and travel to Ghana to play with those precious children you sent me pictures of while begging incessantly to go.
Please listen to what I have to say about it all.
My teens are probably sick of hearing this, but I often say to them, “Stay in your own lane, kid. Your car was built for that. Let the other cars drive in their lanes and you stick to yours. You’ve got a long, wonderful, and exciting road ahead.”
I say it so often because I want them to take these words to heart and carry them with them. It’s my way of sending them out into the world with an invisible shield.
“You are so beautiful,” I’ve said to my daughter so many times.
“Thanks, mom, but not really. At least I have a pretty good personality.”
This response to my compliment bothers me. Not because she recognizes the value of having a good personality. Of course, I agree that who she is as a person is everything. We talk about character and values all the time. And we both know that our physical appearance is not the measure of our worth.
Behind every teen athlete is an exhausted parent.
You’ll find these moms and dads shivering on the bleachers, draped in blankets and coats. They’re holding umbrellas while they show up in rain, hail, sleet, and snow. They cheer on their kid at every game because that’s what they do.
My teenage daughter is a competitive swimmer. She has committed to the sport for years and found a passion that continues to endure through early morning practices and countless swim meets that take up a huge part of her life.
As with most dedicated athletes in high school, the training schedule can be relentless and exhausting. The new, club-level mentality of around-the-year play demands our teens make their sport their first priority.
Parents of teens have an arsenal of things we tell our kids multiple times a day. And often, they are questions, demands, and reprimands.
Dealing with Teenagers
“Pick up your room!”
“Get off your phone!”
“What stinks in here?”
“What in the world are you doing?”
“You’re going to be late!”
And this is parenting.
But what our teens actually need to hear, we may forget to say.
As if middle school weren’t hard enough, high school is a whole new level of pressure for our teen girls. Many of the same issues they battle in fifth through eighth grade carry on into high school with even more gravity.
High school is the bridge that leads to adulthood. Our teen school girls are overwhelmed with the pressure not only to look good but to gain the approval of others. They also face a myriad of challenges to prepare for college and a future career.
Ten Habits I Want to Teach My Teens Before They Leave Home
In these last years where you will be under my roof and under my rules, I want to make sure you have mastered the following habits. I know you get tired of my incessant requests, reminders, and demands when it comes to these things, but if you learn them well, I will have done my job successfully.
As the #Metoo movement continues its momentum and takes over the headlines with brave women (and men) coming forward to call out perpetrators everywhere, now is the time every parent should be talking to their tween/teen daughters about sexual harassment, assault, and abuse.
The statistics are alarming when it comes to the risk our teenage girls face in becoming a #metoo victim.
I don’t know when it started. Exactly how things changed. I remember when you were a child, excitedly begging for mommy to take pictures of you doing pretty much every single thing.
But now, well, you push away my phone pretty much every time I dare to capture your image.