Wednesday, September 2, 2009

They said it!

Having the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of high-school teens gives me plenty of opportunities to hear about the joys and disasters of being a teen. And more often than not, both the ups and downs involve family members. So last night I asked them the following question:

If you could give parents everywhere a piece of advice about parenting teenagers, what would you say?

The answers were candid and thoughtful; here is the synopsis of their responses:

  • Don't be my coach. Be my parent. Just be there and tell me I did a good job, but let the coaches do the coaching.
  • Communication is really important to avoid hurt feelings.
  • Trust us to do the right thing. You raised us right, so let us make decisions.
  • Give us space when we ask for it.
  • Notice when we do things right, not just when we do things wrong.
  • Spend time with us and really listen to what we say.
  • Don't embarrass us in front of your friends or tell people stuff about me.
  • Take time to understand what is going on in my life so you know what I'm going through.
  • Don't always be a parent...sometimes be a friend, because I tell things to friends that I wouldn't tell to my parents.
  • Listen to us, because we might say something you hadn't already thought of.
In any case, a poignant reminder that kids need moms and dads investing in them every day.


  1. Well said by the teens.

    As the parent of a teen, one of the temptations I see in myself and other parents of teens is the tempatation to "drive" rather than "guide." Driving involves total control while guiding involves giving your children a little push now and then while allowing them to make decisions based on the morals and values you instill in them.

  2. Sometimes we just can't understand them when we refuse to but when we use our full patience and wisdom then it's a lot easier to reach out to them. Thanks for sharing this. By the way, these best gifts that you could give your better-half might interest you too. Thanks and have a nice and fulfilling day.

  3. Hi there. New to this site. I don't see a forum anywhere, so thought I'd post this question here. By the way, a forum would be an amazing source of support for parents and a way to generate discussion on these important topics being blogged about:)

    My husband and I... no, being honest... I am having an issue with my husband and our 7 children. Specifically, he is an incredible Dad, the kids love him, adore spending time with him, like to laugh with him, which happens often, they goof around with him, etc. I am not so blessed... I am the one who carries the burden of being the "bad guy." I make the kids do chores, eat properly, do homework, say no to things, etc. Dad gets to be the fun guy, that's it. I am exhausted from being the heavy. My temper is getting shorter and shorter and I didn't realize why until the other day when I was dealing with homework with two kids and trying to get our youngest busy so I could also begin cooking diner. Hubby was literally standing there, watching my temper flare and doing nothing... I lost it when my son asked me another question and said "ask your father! He's right there... YOU'RE RIGHT THERE!!! BUT YOU'RE NOT DOING ANYTHING!!!" That's when I realized how much a toll me doing all the hard stuff while he has all the fun was taking on me. We have talked about it and he says he will change, but never makes an effort to. He also said that he doesn't want to be the one to make them do the things they need to (or not do) because he was afraid of his father & doesn't want his children to be afraid of him. I tell him he doesn't have to be "mean" like he perceives his father to have been, that he can parent differently, but he still chooses to just let me keep bearing the burden alone. We are having HUGE issues with our 13yr old daughter and he has his fingers in his ears, while "" so he can't hear or do anything about what's going on. I couldn't be the fun one, even if the oportunity presented itself... I have no energy left for it!

    Am I doomed to be the 'mean one' our entire parenting lives? Any books out there on parenting for Dad's, specifically addressing balanced involvement? Help & prayers gratefully appreciated!



We welcome many points of view and great discussion. However, please be aware that comments go through an approval process. The blog administrators reserve the right to not post or delete any comments that are not appropriate (ie: comments with obscene, explicit, sexist, racist or otherwise derogatory language), impolite (ie: comments containing personal attacks, insults or threats), dishonest (ie: potentially libelous comments), or are spam. Thanks for understanding!