Posted by on Oct 15, 2010 in Advice, Encouragement, Family, Mom stuff, Parenting, Personal, Teens & Tweens | 11 comments

I haven't been this excited–and honored–to guest post elsewhere since I moonlighted at 5 Minutes for Mom and Rocks in My Dryer during my Compassion International trip to Calcutta

A few weeks ago, my friend Tsh aka (in)courage sista aka SimpleMom asked me if I'd be interested in writing a post for a new series she was launching ~ 

Seasons in parenting ~ hope from the trenches

After I was all Elaine Benis Get! Out!, I calmly said, "Sure."  She asked me to offer a few suggestions about parenting during the teen years, and since I have three, I figured I was as qualified as the next mother.  

So I started writing.  

Then I wrote more…

And then even more…!

Good gracious, by the time I was done, the post was 1,700 words strong and I was scared Tsh would either have a stroke or ban me from her site.  

She did neither; instead, she was enthusiastic, encouraging and more than gracious, consistent with who I've always found her to be.  To make it digestible, Tsh decided to break it into two posts.  Part one of "Parenting Teens" is published today; if you like what you've read, please be sure to see its conclusion on Monday.

* * *

Because I knew this post was scheduled today, on their way to school this morning I asked my sons (13 and 16) what they most appreciated about the way we parent and what they'd like us to do differently (note:  they go to different schools so I was alone with each one when I asked).  There wasn't a lot of time to think about it, but both boys surprised me a little with their ready answers:

Thomas, 16:  "You're in our lives without smothering us.  You actually care…and you aren't stupid."  When I asked him what he meant by stupid he explained, "It's ridiculous how easy it is for some of my friends to lie to their parents."  The sad thing is he's talking about good kids and good parents who don't believe their kid would do that, when "that" could be any number of things.  Please don't be blind to your child's capacity for doing the wrong thing, even if it's a "little" wrong thing….

Stephen, 13:  "I like it that you actually punish us.  And that you don't make me go to bed at a certain time."  Huh?  Who IS this kid?  I had to laugh because it's not that often that "punishment" is warranted, but we've always tried to make it proportional to the offense.  

Also, that thing about bedtimes?  Through seventh grade we did impose strict bedtimes; but because the kids all get up reasonably easy for school, we're relaxed about it now.  The beautiful thing is all three of them know when they're tired, and that it serves them best not to stay up late.  Had we demanded a certain time, they would have resisted; but when they're empowered to decide for themselves, they go to bed early-ish.  Go figure.  

Neither kid offered a suggestion for what they'd like us to do differently…but given enough time, I'm sure they'll give me a list…!

Maybe I'll luck out and they'll forget I asked! {wink} 

Your turn:  Did you read my post at Simple Mom?  I'd love to hear your best tips for parenting teens!  I KNOW I don't know it all, so it'd be wonderful if you could encourage ME with something I haven't yet considered!