Dr. Zoe Shaw, A Year of Self-Care

From One Mom to Another: How to Help Your Teen Mature


Parenting teenagers can be very challenging and stressful on all levels of the matter. I have been in the teenage phase for the past four years, and though it’s not always tough, there have been times where it has left me feeling exhausted, depleted, and downright insufficient to be a mom. My teenagers, as well as all teenagers on this planet, will deal with hormones, mood swings, wanting independence, and being an adult. These desires are not wrong by any means; it’s part of life, and we can help them get where they need to be. They are trying to find themselves and figure out this phase of life, and it’s tough for them and for us moms.

Now I’m far, far from an expert and I, myself, fail every day but here are three things that we awesome moms can give our teen so he or she can blossom into strong, kind, and disciplined adults. Don’t get me wrong, there are many other important things we can and need to do such as communicating, focusing on quality time, and disciplining, but the following three really triggered something in me and my teen parenting struggles in this season of life.

Here are 3 things to keep in mind when parenting teenagers:

1. Stay Consistent.

If I’m being honest, this is one area I fail at every single day when it comes to my teens. All teens need to know that there is consistency when it comes to discipline and consequences. It makes them feel secure, knowing that mom can handle their behavior when they test us by standing her ground no matter what and not giving in to them. Unfortunately, when it comes to these areas of parenting, I start off strong but after a day or two I get so caught up in the everyday that I tend to forget. Sadly, most times I would rather give in to them to avoid the chaos, the whining, and attitudes. I’m definitely not happy about this at all. It’s my downfall, and I know I’m not helping them by giving them what they want. It instills a sense of entitlement and, my friend, we all know that in real life we don’t always get what we want. Consistency is such a tricky thing to do, but so worth the craziness that goes with it.

2. Give Choices.

A part of being a teenager is trying to become independent in areas that follow them into adulthood. That’s why we need to give our children choices when they face certain decisions. We can’t always decide for them, and we shouldn’t. They need to be able to use good judgment and choose the best option for their life. I know they are going to make some misjudgments, but this can be a learning opportunity that will allow them to grow in maturity. These life experiences will help shape them into disciplined adults. I am not suggesting we give our teenagers full reigns on all decision making—just a little slack on the leash, but you still need to have enough control to pull them back to reality when needed.

3. Allow Disappointments.

I must admit that I don’t like seeing my kids struggle with disappointment. In fact, I try to cushion the blow by sugarcoating whatever it is they are dealing with at the time. This may be the reason they struggle at times. Parents, we are not doing them any favors by blocking emotional letdowns, heartbreak,

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or disappointment. We must step back, keep mama bear in a cage, and let them experience healthy hurts and hang-ups during the teen years. Of course, they won’t have to face these trials alone because we will be there if needed, but they should work through some of it as independently as possible so that when we aren’t around they won’t crumble. This will prepare our teens for the real world because there will always be disappointments in life, but it’s how we handle them that’s most important. So, mamas, let’s allow our teenagers to figure this life out and the beauty of it. They will survive, just as we have.

Lastly, the teenage years do not have to always be a struggle or chore. Yes, there are moments of disrespect, rebellion, back talk, and drama (hello, teenage girls!). However, we can embrace this time by looking at our teens as individuals who are experiencing a huge season of change, and although we don’t always see the fruit of our parental guidance right away—we can trust that it’s making a difference. Moms, you all rock!

Mama, these articles may encourage you:

If Your Daughter Is Boy-Crazy, You Need to Read This
What Your Kids Get When You Let Them Fail
I Survived the Middle School Meltdown, So Can You!
Dear Parents of Millennials: It’s Time to Stop It
Why You Need to Let Your Teenager Go
How to Reach Your Preteen When They’re Pushing You Away

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You’ll enjoy this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: When Is Your Teen out of Control and What Do You Do? (with Dr. Zoe Shaw) – 032

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