Lately I’ve read several books on parenting teens – since I’ll be doing that in less than five months. Scary, isn’t it?!
So far, I’ve noticed three consistent themes for approaching the coming years.
- Listen. As in don’t interrupt, don’t criticize, don’t judge, don’t jump in with advice. Just open my ears, my mind, and my heart to the words that are being said as well as the thoughts that are being expressed behind those words.
- Love. Show my love through touch – an arm around the shoulders, a hug, a pat on the back – and through words – not just saying “I love you,” but affirming through praise for a job well done or a positive character trait displayed
- Let go. Realize that independence needs to be granted slowly but surely, giving certain freedoms as maturity is shown and trust is built. Allow them to make some decisions, then be willing to let them fail and take the consequences, if necessary. Cover this step in prayer!
Books are helpful, but I know experience will be a great teacher as well!
What do you think of these three ideas? Any lessons you can share from your own experience as a teenager or a parent?