Families, communities, and nations can be strengthened by following simple rules in dealing with their teenagers. In my world the word “teenager” is almost a dirty word, yet I know many awesome teenagers. How can both of these be true?
I have the wonderful opportunity to be the mother of six awesome individuals. I enjoyed their teenage years even though they were sometimes stressful. Now I have the opportunity to watch them parent their children, with four of our seventeen grandchildren being teenagers at the present time.
Christie Halverson posted an article titled “7 Secrets to Raising Awesome, Functional Teenagers.” The author’s seven secrets are: (1) “Love them fiercely. Love everything about them, even the annoying stuff. Love them for their actions AND their intentions. Let them know in word and deed how much you adore them….” (2) “Listen and pay attention. When they walk in the door after school, you have a precious few minutes when they will divulge the secrets of their day with you. Be excited to see them….” (3) “Say yes more than you say no. The world is forever going to tell them no…. I want to be the YES, YOU CAN in their lives. I want them to leave my house every day feeling invincible.” (4) “Say no often. You need to say no to experiences and situations that will set your child up for harm or unhappiness…. Be the parent. Set up rules for their safety, both physical and moral….” (5) “Feed them. A lot. And not only them, but their friends too…. This allows you to not only meet and know their friends, but to keep an eye on your teen as well.” (6) “Don’t sweat the small stuff. When living with teenagers, it can be so easy to see the [you name it] …. Instead, and before you open your mouth to yell at them, put yourself in their shoes. Find out about their day first….” (7) “Stand back and watch the magic happen.”
Halverson then gives a glowing description of the teenagers I have the opportunity to know: “If you let them, these glorious creatures will open their hearts and love you more fiercely than you could possibly imagine. They are brilliant, capable, strong spirits who bring with them a flurry of happiness. They are hilarious and clever. They are thoughtful and sensitive. They want us to adore them. They need us to adore them. They love deeply and are keenly in touch with the feelings of others. They are just about the greatest gift God gave to parents.”
I know from personal experience that her “secrets” are good ones for parents and teenagers. I have the opportunity to know many teenagers, and I am in awe of them, their abilities, and their accomplishments. I know that we can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by following these simple rules in dealing with our teenagers.