Raising a teen? Phil Callaway shares wise parenting advice.
I’m always quick to tell parents that we loved it when our kids were teens. “Were you medicated?” one of them asked. No. But it wasn’t all easy. Raising teens is like a Chinese buffet. There will be sweet. There will be sour. And there will be fortune cookies that make no sense. Here are honest comments from parents of teens.
– Wendi says, “I changed the Netflix password so my teenager has to come out of his room to talk to me.”
– From Steve: “At the airport I kissed my 13-year-old on the forehead. He reacted like Dracula getting impaled by a wooden stake.”
– From Travis: “Nothing makes me more nervous than a text from my teenage son that says, ‘How soon will you and mom be home?’ I write back and say, ‘I’m just pulling into the driveway.’”
– From Claire: “Why is it whenever I try to talk to my teen he’s staring at his phone but when I call his phone he doesn’t answer? Help!”
Maybe you feel like Claire today. Maybe you’ve uttered the immortal words, “Kids these days. They’re ungrateful. Entitled. Narcissistic.” The first time I did this, I thought, “Hey! I’m sounding like my parents.” The truth is, each generation since Adam has waggled their fingers at the following one.
Yes, the teen years are tricky waters for parents to navigate, but they’re even trickier for teens. Each zit is leprosy. Each celebrity photo mocks them with what they’ll never be. There’s insecurity. Pressure to be cool. Conflicting messages about who they are and what they should believe.
To compound matters, many of us parents have placed too many luxuries in their laps, including the phones they’re staring at. Researchers blame the smartphone and social media for some alarming trends. Today’s teens are depressed, anxious and lonely. But they’re also finding that today’s teen is less rebellious than his parents were. The percentage of teens smoking, drinking and taking drugs is at a long time low.
If you have a teen in your life, would you do two things? Write his or her name down and paste it to the fridge. Pray when you see it. Our teens are up against some tough stuff. Secondly, encourage them and show them kindness. I still remember kind words a grownup spoke to me at the back of a church. I was a struggling teen. Those words shaped me more than he could know.
At a family reunion, a 102-year-old gramma heard the adults whining about kids these days. She laughed and said, “I knew ALL of you when you were 14; you all turned out pretty well. So will they.”
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