3 Things Parents Need to Know About their Teens

By Janis Meredith | Posted 10/26/2020

Do you remember what it was like as a teen? Being a teenager can be scary and awkward. The emotional highs are up in the clouds and the emotional lows are down in the dumps. It can be a tough season for the whole family.

Being around teens can sometimes be trying. I’d like to share some things that might help you take a step back and look at your teen a little differently.

(I will be sharing some wisdom from author Paul David Tripp, author of Parenting.)

Teens aren’t eager to get wisdom and correction.

Most teens think they know more than they do – especially more than their parents or other adults. Thus, the eye-rolling and disinterest that some of them exhibit when parents or adults are talking. Yes, this is annoying, but the answer is not to correct in a mean way or demean the teen.

Your job is to make wisdom attractive.

You don’t do this with nasty, inflammatory confrontations. No wisdom is imparted in these moments. If you hit teens with a barrage of verbal bullets, they will either run for the bunker or come out firing themselves. (Paul David Tripp)

Making wisdom attractive means imparting it in loving and timely ways, not as a weapon or punishment.

Teens are protective of their friends.

If you feel the need to have a discussion with your teen about one or more of their friends or teammates, approach them with calmness, sensitivity, and love. Attacking their friends verbally or name-calling will only make your teen defensive. Your goal should be to ask thoughtful questions that encourage your teen to think about their motives and choices when it comes to friendships.

Teens live in the moment and don’t think long-term.

Teenagers are notorious for living only for the moment, which may result in them procrastinating responsibilities until the very last minute. It’s important for parents to lovingly challenge that mindset–today is not the only day that matters.

Our teenagers need us to be on-site, teaching them to look at the long view of life, not with harsh condemnation and frustration, but with empathy and forbearance. They need our help to see that every choice, every action is an investment and that it is impossible to live life without planting seeds that will be the plants of life they will some-day harvest. (Paul David Tripp)

Effective parents do a good job of remembering what it was like to be a teen with a roller coaster of emotions and hormones raging. It’s too easy for us to forget, but let’s force ourselves to think back on it every now and then. Remember how you wanted to be treated.

When you find yourself getting frustrated with your teens, take a break and try to look at life through their eyes before you impart on them the lecture you think they must hear. Work on two-way conversations–you’ve got the time right now because no one is going anywhere anytime soon.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.