Teenagers: Reminders for Parenting Teenagers

  1. Parenting matters during adolescence.  As our children enter adolescence, we’re easily pulled into the belief that since peers increasingly matter more, parenting matters less.  We believe we’re losing our influence.  We’re not.  “There is no substitute for good parenting during adolescence,” a sociologist friend assured me.  “Teenagers need parenting based on bonding (knowing they are loved) and monitoring (knowing they have supervision and accountability).”  As peer influence increases, care needs to remain consistent.  We need to continue acting like their parents and offer structure and say no when necessary.
  2. We must recognize the task of adolescence and enable that task rather than thwart it.  The main task of adolescence is to separate- to give up dependence on parents and become increasingly independent.  It is to establish a sense of self-identity by asking, “Who am I, separate from my parents?”  We must vow to allow our teenagers the space and freedom to pull away, express their individuality, and begin to gain confidence in their new definitions, though they may not always feel too comfortable to us.
  3. The purpose of parenting is to work ourselves out of a job.  The purpose of parenting is to care for kids in such a way that they learn how to care for themselves.  Active parenting is a temporary job with planned obsolescence.  Signs of independence- even our children’s pulling away- remind us that we’re doing our duty.  We allow them to become people who don’t need us anymore.  We aim to work ourselves out of a job but not out of the relationship.  We recognize that letting go has two purposes: It slowly gives them independence from us, and it also gives us independence from them so we may have the freedom to move on to new roles and challenges in the next season of life.  We parent and then de-parent.
  4. See them as gifts, not possessions.  Psalm 127:3 states that children are gifts.  We don’t own them; they’ve been loaned to us temporarily to raise and let go.  They are not given to us to meet our needs and expectations.  They’re not here for us; we are here for them until they are grown and on their own.  Their purpose in life is not to please us but to grow up and please God.  We treat them with the same respect we want to receive.  We don’t confine them or define them with our expectations.

©2001 Taken with permission from Carol Kuykendall – Give Them Wings– All Rights Reserved

Taken with permission from AllProDad.com.

© 2007 iMom. All rights reserved.