Teenagers

Parenting teenagers presents many challenges, but these reads will help you overcome the struggles you may face in this season of motherhood so you can still enjoy the relationship with your child. #gritandgracelife

Get Your Teens Off Screens

5 Ways to Get Your Teenager Off Screens Now

My oldest son has the most beautiful head of blonde hair I have ever seen. I know this is an odd statement, but it’s true. I have been stopped by strangers in public who compliment me on his cool hair, even though he is past the cute baby stage and well into the gangly preteen years. It’s the envy of his friends (I’m not lying about this,) and a color many women pay hundreds of dollars to maintain. But for me personally, I’m tired of seeing it. Let me rephrase. I’m tired of seeing just the very top of his hair as he stares down, neck craned in that awkward “I’m staring at my phone” posture. I want to see his eyes. […]

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This Mom Is Sending out an SOS That Will Make You LOL

This Mom Is Sending out an SOS That Will Make You LOL

In the spirit of keeping it real with you, I thought I’d write today on how much of a hot mess I am. Side note, it’s currently 3:53 pm (I like to call this time the witching hour in our house), and I’m hiding in a dark room listening to my 5-year-old “make juice” for supper. If you already have kids then you know how bad this is and if you don’t, then let me tell you, it’s bad. I just don’t have the energy today to stop him. And I’m in over my head. It probably started last night but it’s all kind of a blur right now. I went to visit a friend’s new place after dropping my teenage daughter off

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High-School-Graduation-A-Mom's-Rite-of-Passage

High School Graduation: Things Are Changing, but for the Good

My eldest daughter’s high school graduation had befallen. I’m not sure how we got here. Yes, seems like only yesterday… On the other hand, I had the wrinkles to prove it wasn’t! Created not only by the passage of time but also probably gained by potty training failures, elementary school multiplication tables, middle school emotional swings, high school auto accidents, and a revolving door of boyfriends. We had to shop for a little white dress to go under the white graduation robe. We couldn’t have a bright red dress showing through, now could we? This was just one of the activities, plans, and expenses as we prepared for the day we had all worked so very hard for. We had an entire list.

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row of teens on their phones phubbing

Is Your Teen Phubbing You? 4 Fixes to Try Now

When I was growing up, the family joke was that my parents would be able to identify me by my palm (because as a teen I would ask for money with my hand open). Now, we can say we can identify our children by the tops of their heads bent over their phones. Have you ever been talking to someone and noticed they are only half paying attention to you and are staring intently at their phones? If you have a teenager, I’m sure you’ve experienced it. The person is focused on their device while ignoring you—a person in close contact with them. Welcome to the season of phubbing. Phubbing is defined as “the act of ignoring someone you are with and

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A moms four most devastating words

The Most Devastating Words You Can Say as Mom

I was listening to the radio a while back, and the three grown men who were hosting began a dialogue about punishments they were given as a child. The list was vast. They laughed through their comparisons of infractions they accomplished and the penalties they were awarded: grounding, car keys taken away, dad’s belt was among them. Then one of these gentlemen paused and said, “I’ll tell you the worst—it’s when my mom said, ‘I’m disappointed in you.’ That one was horrible.” The moaning and commiserating began. “That’s the truth; there’s nothing worse. It makes you feel awful,” one said. “Yeah, my mom said that and I remembered it for days. There is nothing worse than disappointing your mom,” replied another. Now, these

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8 Things Moms Should Say to Raise Strong Kids

Say These 8 Phrases to Raise Strong Kids

In their most powerful form, words have the ability to shape one’s character, self-esteem, and relationships. They can impact us for better or worse for the rest of our lives. As moms, our words in particular shape our children, and the longer my motherhood journey continues, the more I discover this to be true. I’ve witnessed the positive impact of my words—evidenced by my girls’ grins, hugs, and outward joy—as well as the pain that my words can illicit, spoken in the moments of impatience or anger. Both can have a lingering effect. If you’re like me and looking to add more life-giving phrases to your everyday vernacular, here are 8 things (outside of “I love you”) you should consider saying to

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You Need to Talk to Your Teen Girl About Sex, Here's How to Do It

You Need to Talk to Your Teen Girl About Sex, Here’s How to Do It

Are you that mom who would rather stick an icepick through your eye than talk to your teen girl about sex (seriously, it doesn’t have to be that bad!)? Or maybe the idea of sex conversations makes you squirm a little. We need to talk, girlfriend! First, let’s talk about why you need to have the conversations. Notice I said conversations. This really should be an ongoing conversation that starts in preschool. But if you are behind the 8 ball, and even if you fear that your daughter may have already had sex, take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay. It’s time to talk. The reason why research has demonstrated that abstinence programs have not been successful (teens who participate in

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5-reasons-to-thank-your-prodigal

5 Reasons to Thank Your Prodigal

As our friends get older, which unavoidably means we’re getting older too, we find we’re welcoming many of them into the Hurting Parents Club. “You’re late,” we sometimes want to say, or “What took you so long?” We don’t say these things out loud because we know that would do absolutely nothing to ease anyone’s pain. And they would never consider they would one day thank their prodigal. But this state of affairs among our more seasoned friends has caused me to want to formally thank our very own “prodigal”, Matt, for rebelling early and vigorously (I’ll get to why I’m grateful for the vigorous part in a minute). I use quotations around Prodigal because even now, Matt wears this label on

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How to Teach Your Child Not to Hold Prejudices 2

How to Teach Your Child Not to Hold Prejudices

Why does it feel so uncomfortable to talk about race and racism in this country? Deep down in our gut, we know something just isn’t right and that makes us squirm. Humans strive for internal consistency, and when it’s not there we become uncomfortable. A part of our mind knows that we are all one family: the human race. The other part knows that we harbor some racism, stereotypes, prejudice, or discriminatory thoughts. Yes, we do. This makes us uncomfortable. When we become uncomfortable, we actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it. So, it’s normal to feel that way. I invite you to feel it now and keep reading anyway. There is something called multigenerational transmission process, which just means

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Is My Teen Out of Control or Is This Normal? with Dr. Zoe Shaw – 232

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Email | TuneIn | RSS | More“Is my teen out of control, or is this normal behavior? At one point do I need to begin enforcing changes?” These questions often consume moms of teens and preteens, and on this throwback episode, Darlene Brock and Julie Bender ask psychotherapist and relationship coach Dr. Zoe Shaw for advice. Dr. Zoe discusses how to approach privacy and your teen’s internet and social media use; how to recognize which moments you should step aside and allow your teen to make mistakes, and when it’s time for you to intervene; and If you have a teen (or will soon), this episode is filled with the answers

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teenage son hugging mother from behind outside

The Joy Series: Parenting a Teen Is Hard, But I’ve Found Gratitude Among the Grumbles

Motherhood at any stage is a joyful experience, yet with each stage comes its own challenges. We’ve moved from diapers to building blocks to car keys in the blink of an eye. Parenting a teen is similar to dancing: the music changes often, and we can either change with the music or sit it out. I have found joy in choosing to adapt to the music, and meeting my son right where he is, in that moment. Meeting My Teenage Son Where He’s At Even though life seems to rush at us with so much to do, I love being able to share it with my son. Meeting him where he is has allowed me into his world. He shares his hurts

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Moms-Be-Sure-to-Make-Memories-That-Will-Last-a-Lifetime

Mom, Be Sure to Make Memories That Will Last a Lifetime

I recently traveled through Northeastern Georgia as we headed to the mountains of North Carolina. We have the privilege of enjoying the autumn in the tranquil and beautiful land between the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Observing the burst of color in the month of October leaves one in awe of the beauty of creation. While heading to our final destination, we spotted a Fruit Stand – Corn Maze – Hayride – Bakery – Ice Cream Store and Pumpkin Patch. Yes, these were all there in one location. With fare like this, we had to stop and see which of these we couldn’t live without. Parking in an absolutely full lot, alongside another load of pumpkins being delivered from the

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Do High School Girls Want to Be Sophisticated Ladies?

Do High School Girls Want to Be Sophisticated Ladies?

“Hold your head high when you walk.” “Make sure your skirt and shirt are pulled down.” “Don’t be louder than a boy.” “Cross your legs when you sit in a skirt.” “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” “At times, it’s OK to be seen and not heard.” “Make eye contact and say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘yes sir’.” “Why buy the cow when the milk is free?” “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” “Girls who talk about other girls will most likely talk about you too.” “Always act like a lady.” These are just a few of the simple lessons in life I remember my mom teaching me as a young girl. They

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To the Mom Who Feels Like It Never Ends

Your Guide To the Best Momisms All Moms Use

“When you’re a parent, you’ll understand.” How many of us heard these words from our mothers on one or more occasions growing up? If you’re anything like me, you heard these words quite frequently. And if you’re also anything like me, you swore you’d never say anything that ridiculous to your children because, quite frankly, it was never clear exactly what you were supposed to understand. Moms have their own special language, passed down from their mothers and their grandmothers before them. It’s like a secret code, and you can only decipher it once you become a mom yourself. I know this, because I am now a parent, and all of a sudden, I magically understand. A Mom’s Special Language: Momisms As

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Being a mom—the job that keeps on giving (even though it doesn’t pay)

Being a mom—the job that keeps on giving (even though it doesn’t pay)

I’ve read so many articles about the veritable “mom salary” over the years, and I’m trying to get my bearings on why this hasn’t gotten any traction. I mean, seriously! We, moms, do it all! I’m not diminishing those hands-on dads or single dads. Just telling a mom-type story. I was a stay-at-home mom for many years when my kids were younger. That was a tough time financially, emotionally, and physically. I went back to work part-time when my youngest was in second grade and full-time when he was in fourth grade. Now he’s in 11th grade, and here’s the deal. The mom’s salary should be real. The last five years of parenting have caused me to be more aware of the

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7 Essential Tips to Relieve Middle School Anxiety

7 Essential Tips to Relieve Middle School Anxiety

Middle school is one of the most emotionally-charged seasons in every human’s life. Bringing up this rite of passage, from elementary age to high school, is always a good way to create lively conversation between adults. Although it’s a season of life that most of us are glad to leave behind, there’s just something about sharing those vivid, awkward memories of middle school anxiety that make us both laugh and cringe at the same time. However, the mother of a child in the midst of middle school anxiety needs every little bit of help available when she sends her “just yesterday they started school” child out the door…knowing full well that today might possibly be the day that her sweet baby is

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Sending Your Kid to College is Very Much Like Kindergarten

Sending Your Kid to College Is Very Much Like Kindergarten

Several years ago, my oldest child left for college, a large university two hours away. As she prepared for this exciting adventure, I took to pen and paper to express my feelings. The sentiment is likely similar for many who are sending your kid to college, a gap year, the military, or wherever. So, this is for you… To My College-Bound Daughter You are leaving for college in less than two weeks. I knew that this moment was coming, and maybe it was a little denial or perhaps it was genuine thoughts of “it is a long way off…” Either way, now the moment is practically here. and I’m having a mini panic attack. I realize all parents have this moment in

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