Practical Suggestions for Parenting Through the Teen Years

Does this sound familiar? Yesterday morning went something like this:

Me: Liv. Liv! Olivia! Olivia Marie! (at the top of my lungs)

Liv: Crickets.

Me: Stomping up the stairs, muttering under my breath, Disrespectful!  She’s ignoring me!?  I bet she’s just hoping I’ll give up.  I’m not giving up!  In fact, I’m the opposite of giving up. I’m the parent! Storming into her room to find thirteen-year old Liv finishing her hair, singing, with her earbuds in.

Liv: Hi, Mom. Almost ready?

Me: Crickets.

When our children were young, we would often share stories of the joys and struggles of parenting. Over and over, we would receive the well-intended but doomsday advice of, “If you think parenting is hard now, just wait until he’s a teenager!”  I would think, “Wow, that’s encouraging. Not!”

Communicating with teenagers can be challenging. It’s like they have their own language, and it’s different from any language we learned in school. We are raising the first generation to have access to the entire world on their phones. Who am I kidding? They even have access to the world through their watches. I just saw that soon there will be devices that enable us to project our smart phone and all its icons onto our forearms. To raise a teenager these days, it often feels like a parent has to be an expert in technology, communication, counseling, reading minds, and finance. You do not have to be an expert in everything, but there are some things I would like to share with you that can make it easier as you prepare to be a parent of a teenager.

We read all kinds of what to expect books when our kids were young, or even before they were born. I am waiting for How to Get More Than a One Syllable Response During the Teenage Years or Help, My Teenager’s Earbuds Are Permanently Attached! or Why Do I Feel Like My Teenager Has Been Invaded by an Alien?

If you would like practical suggestions from a mom of three teenagers, consider joining us this weekend at Preparing for the Teen Years. I will share my personal stories of success and failure in and how to get ready for having a teenager in your home. It is my desire to help you prepare for the teenage years by giving practical suggestions on how to communicate, relate to, celebrate, discipline, and understand your future teenager.

The teenage years can be challenging, but they can also be full of fun and celebration. As we watch our preteens grow into teenagers, our goal is to help them launch into God-loving, responsible adulthood. This can often feel like a balancing act, but I encourage you to seek advice and wisdom from those who have gone before you in the fun and ever-changing journey of raising teens.

Jennifer Withers is Pastoral Leader of Preteen Ministry here at Stonebriar Community Church. She has been married to her husband, Shane, for twenty-three years and they have three children. Alexandra is a college sophomore, Derrick is a junior in high school, and Olivia is a seventh grader. Jennifer enjoys evenings at home, travel with her family, and summer camp with preteens. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Christian Education at Dallas Theological Seminary.

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