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The Truth Behind Parenting Teenagers
and other effective parenting teenager strategies.
Could you use a little perspective in your parenting?
How do you know if your parenting efforts are being as effective as they can be?
Click now to visit my blog and together we can look at some of the most common stumbling blocks that happen in nearly every family plus ways to look at those challenges that can make a difference.
There is an old saying that goes something like this.
"Parenting teenagers is a little like trying to nail gelatin to a
Is that how you're feeling about parenting your teenager?
I understand. My name's Colleen and I've been parenting for over 26
years. Currently I'm on my third teenager. And guess what? I'm having a
blast being the parent of a teen.
Let me share with you some mothering concepts that I have learned over
that can be of tremendous help to you as you are parenting your
Parenting teenagers effectively means understanding your
role in their life.
I'm going to put it to you straight, mom or dad. You are not your
teen's best friend.
Someday, as adults, perhaps you and your teen can realize that
goal...but while your
son or daughter is a teen, you have the awesome responsibility and
privilege of raising them. That comes before being their friend. And
frankly, it's way more important. They can get friends anywhere. You
are their only mom or dad. Parenting teenagers is tough!
You do not exist to make your teen feel good about themselves. And your
teen does not exist to make you feel good about your parenting
abilities, either. Your son or daughter is an independent human being
working on being able to fly away and live their own life. Your job as
their parent is to guide them through the growing process so they can
and will fly away.
Sound scary? Good. Now you're on the right path.
Setting expectations when you are parenting teenagers.
This concept is important throughout all of the years required to raise
child (see my parenting tip page for
more information), but
takes on special meaning when you are parenting teenagers.
To keep your homelife sane, your teen son or daughter needs you to set
clear expectations. In other words, to know how you expect they
will behave and
be in all types of circumstances. And don't stop there. Tell
your teenager why you have those expectations of them, too.. Many
studies have shown the
correlation between high expectations and better grades...and I have
found that to be just the tip of the iceberg when parenting a teenager.
Effective parenting teenager strategies means raising the bar for your
teenager. Expect the best from him or her and
your teen will work to achieve that best for you. Along the way they
develop self-discipline, initiative, persistence and a host of other
character qualities that they will need to survive and thrive in the
You can do this, mom or dad. I have great confidence in you.
Need an example or what I'm talking about? Okay.
In our home, teenagers take four years of math in high school, whether
or not the state or school district requires it. Whether or not they
are thinking about a career in the math/science/engineering realm. And
our teens take the math
courses that personally challenge them. For our family, that
had one teenager in math honors courses, one in math Advanced Placement
(AP) courses and one
in general math courses.
Each teen has struggled, learned, been frustrated, hung in there,
thought mom and dad were pushing them too hard, had
failures and found successes. All have learned problem-solving skills,
analytical thinking, perseverance, self-discipline and that they're
capable of more than they think they are.
Believe me, none of them would have kept up the program without their
dad and myself guiding, encouraging, supporting, hugging, and requiring
them to finish.
Lots of times it was not fun for them or for us. So what? Our job
parented each teenager was to be the leadership in our family, not
sure everyone had a fun time.
Oh, by the way, we did have lots of fun along the way. Because
we often used fun and humor to keep our kids' heads in the game. We
working together as a team. But the fun was not the main focus. Our
teenagers knew we wanted only the best
for them (we told them so!) and their futures and we were willing to be
the 'heavies', when
necessary, to get the job done.
of our children are adults now and are doing just fine for themselves.
They are really wonderful young men to know. One of our daughters is
colleges, planning her future. We are enjoying her immensely. You
can feel the same way about your teens, too.
Setting boundaries when you are using effective parenting
Parenting teenagers successfully means your teen will try to go down
many paths and
your job is to keep guiding them down the paths that are right for
them. So there will be tension. That's fine. Put a smile on your face
and stay calm. Like I said above, a sense of humor helps. So does
having strong boundaries.
Boundaries is less about rules than it is about guidelines.
Nevertheless, once you set a boundary, it is up to you as a parent to
enforce it. You need to understand that from the time they are
toddlers, kids test the boundaries you set for them. That's their job.
That's how they learn that you are serious about the things you are
teaching them and the ways you are parenting them. You enforcing the
boundaries you have set with your kids
is how you earn their respect.
How does this earn your teen's respect? Because you are proving you
mean what you say. Period.
By the time children are teenagers, though, they need to hear your
reasoning behind the boundaries. They do not, however, have to agree
with your reasoning in order to comply. You are the parent, remember?
Not their best friend.
Parenting teenagers effectively means getting them to drop
Listening is a vital skill when parenting teenagers.
What you need to know when mothering is that your teenager is
attention to how you listen to him or her. Do you put down your
or cell phone when they need to talk? Do you look them in the eye, ask
them questions and then be quiet and listen with interest and intensity?
Your teen is craving your attention. He or she is hungry to know you
care. No matter what you say...the way your teen knows you really care
and can be trusted with the things inside of them is when you give them
yourself; your attention and your time.
I can hear you now. You don't have time for the long, drawn-out
conversations you hear your teen having with their friends. You're not
even sure you want to hear all that stuff.
is the real deal, mom or dad. If you are parenting a teenager and
truly want to have a healthy, productive, enjoyable relationship with
your teen, this is where the rubber meets the road in your homelife.
Yes, you may need to have those long, drawn-out conversations with your
teen. Remember, they want to talk with their friends because their
friends make them feel special. How would you like your
teenager to be drawn to you in the same way?
Here are more examples.
For one of my kids, I would have to chat and listen for a full 30
before he was ready to let me in and truly share with me. That was the
price of admission every time we had a meaningful talk. Was it worth
For another one of my kids, building trust means listening to all the
drama her life. (Remember the drama when you were a teen?) By listening
carefully to the tales of teenage woes from this teen, I am able to
guide her as she unravels the complexities in human relationships she
experiencing all around her. And I also have the opportunity to gently
point out to her over and over again, that drama in relationships is a
choice, not a requirement. Over time, she has been able to choose less
drama and encourage her friends to do the same.
Never forget this. If you won't take the time to listen, really
listen to your teenagers, they will find someone who will.
Read that again. And again.
Do you really want someone outside your family to be the primary
sounding board for your teen? By the way...when it comes to teenagers,
the love and respect goes to the one who cares enough to listen. That's
just how it works.
The bottom line in all of this is that teenagers require us as parents
to really hear them before they are able to hear us. The process is
simple and it works. But it does come at a cost that many parents are
unwilling to pay.
The cost of time and self.
What will you choose as you are parenting the teenagers in your life?
Enjoying parenting teenagers.
Is it possible to enjoy the process of parenting teenagers? My
experience is a hearty yes.
You can build influence in your teenager's precious life.
You can laugh and play together as your teen matures into adulthood,
with you as one of their primary guides.
One of the great secrets of parenting a teenager (or any other age
child) is to enjoy them.
When you treat your children with respect and love. When you take on
your responsibility as the leader in their life. When you look them in
the eyes daily and tell them how important they are to you and that
they were put on this earth for a vital purpose.
They will grow to hang on your every word. To ponder any and all
you give them. To value your opinions. To know they are loved and to
desire to live a life that will make you proud and them
As a parent, your investment is costly and long-term. When you reach
the stage when you are parenting teenagers, you can know the
bittersweet rewards of successful parenting as your teen becomes more
and more independent of you all the while developing a new, adult
relationship with you.
Are you up to the challenge of parenting a teen? If you're reading
this, then, yes, I'll bet you are.
Educate yourself on what it means to be a parent, whether
you are parenting teenagers or have other children, as well. You'll be
glad you did.
recommend any of these parenting helps (as with any resources, take
for your situation and leave the rest):
The Total Transformation
Excellent and extensive parenting training program. Developed for families experiencing behavioral challenges and it works because it does such a clear job of teaching parenting and childhood development fundamentals.
Motivational Speaker Brian Tracy
How to raise happy,
healthy, self-confident children
Relationship experts Dr. Henry Cloud
and Dr. John Townsend
10 Parenting Tips
Comments from visitors to our site:
"After reading the article I have more hope
about dealing with my teenager daughter who seems to be angry and mean.
And as I am writting to you now I am overwhelmed with mixt emotions.
Thank you for your advice."
"Thank you for the good information on
raising a teenager. My daughter has just turned 13 and I am finding she
is changing! I do believe that listening is the key, and I have to
remind myself of that! Thank you for reminding me on how to be a good
Colleen Langenfeld is a mother with over 29 years of parenting experience and helps other busy moms around the globe at www.paintedgold.com.
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