Archive for January, 2010


“I really expect the parent to be the parent…”

The following is recent comment to the blog entry: W hat do you expect out of your teen?

This comment offeres an additional view- and expanded view on the topic.  It is well written and I didn’t want it to be overlooked by our readers so I have posted it as a stand-alone blog entry… I hope you enjoy and we are interested in hearing your thoughts

I think of expectations a little differently. I really expect the parent to be a parent. I expect parents to be pay attention and listen well and not to be focused on being their child’s best friend.

 Good parenting, not perfect, but good parents will reap that reward later. Parents tend to be either impatient, selfish or in denial. While we parent, we are supposed to be the adult in charge. Not the all powerful and do as I say, not as I do parent. We need to lead by example.

In our current culture, we can and do put stress on our children to hurry up and “get it”, get the sarcasm, have common sense, get the nuances, get the ‘big picture’ and produce. Or there are those of us who like saving their children from having to do anything. They do, answer, and decide everything for the child up until the child leaves the nest. I don’t want my child mad at me or hate me and they LOVE me when I do their laundry or pay for everything. Then that young adult, when first out on their own, can’t handle the smallest of decisions or take on talking to adults or having phone conversations or even being the slightest bit assertive if their hamburger is undercooked. Okay so what’s the balance?

Think back to when you were a kid. What was missing? What was good? We can all learn from the past and that is one of the best tools we have. If not your parents good and bad habits, were there other role models that opened your eyes?

Parents also need good team habits and consistency. Don’t talk bad about the other parent in front of the child. Don’t call a decision that your spouse makes ’stupid’ or overrule a spouse. Even when you don’t agree, it can be handled in private. Yes privacy – a wonderful thing. Children and young adults do not need to see the foundation cracking under pressure. Important issues should be discussed well in advance. In decisions where neither parent agrees, the parent that says ‘no’ should always win. No’s always win.

So I guess what I’m saying is that, what we expect from our teen should not exceed what we expect from ourselves. We need to expect good forethought from each parent, good follow through, good consistency behaviors and good supportive loving and above all forgiveness that only Jesus can teach. After all, we are all individuals and we only have the blessing of the gift from God for a few years under the same roof. We need to recognize the individualism and not squish it. Realize the good, the ways to improve, asking for input from them (i.e. What do you think you should do, what do you expect me to say?), making them think for themselves. Fostering all of this and not taking any easy or following what another parent is doing will bring upon respect for the way you make choices on their behalf and thus give them a self respect that was taught from the foundation up.

~ Elaine, mother of 4

What do you expect most out of your teen?

There are so many things we wish for our kids.  We want them to graduate high school, to possibly go on to college, tech school or even join the military.  We want them to grow up to be “productive” adults, to possibly have a family someday, to have and hold down a great job.  We even want them to grow up to be better than we are. 

All of this is wonderful.  It really is.  But the question is:  How is all of this attained?

In my opinion, the answers are simple: One day, one character trait, one choice at a time.  It’s our job to help them wake-up each morning knowing it’s a new day; to show them and help them learn kindness, selflessness, sympathy, empathy, courage, responsibility, integrity, self-respect, the respect of others, modesty, and the list goes on.  We are also to teach them that every choice affects another and every choice matters.

The question I’d like to pose is, what do you expect most out of your teens? Is it an achievement (to be top of their class), great character, staying drug free, or even refraining from sex?  What is it?  Whatever it is, is what you will invest your time most in to.

For us, we spend a great deal of time teaching our children that they are valuable to us and to God, that they have a purpose in life and that purpose stretches beyond what they will do for a living.  We teach them to respect others, mean what they say, look out for the underdog, and never give up- in that order.

I’m not saying we’re the standard by any means.  Everyone has to parent, not betraying their own conscience.  I’m simply challenging you to re-examine what you expect most, then work towards that goal.   However, please be balanced and not expect too much.  Don’t live vicariously through them and don’t expect perfection or you will be sorely disappointed. 

My hope is that, above all else, you challenge them and guide them into being all they are meant to be, starting with character and letting all else follow.

It’s no easy task, but you can do it.


Are you willing?

I’d like to explore the idea that it’s ok to allow your teenagers to dictate to you how “it’s going to be.”

Times have changed.  Cost of living has gone up, electronics have become abundant, what’s allowed on regular television if much more graphic, movie ratings have lowered their standards making it that what was once rated “R” is now rated “PG”.

  So many things have changed.

I used to say that teens have changed and maybe that’s true to some degree.  However, I think it’s much more accurate to say that parenting styles have changed.  In my opinion, and don’t get angry, I feel parents have allowed their teens to become adults before their time.  It’s become less about parenting and more about being house buddies.  If this is the case, then OF COURSE teens have changed.

We, as parents, need to take responsibility for what part we play in the lives of our children.  I don’t mean to say that every mistake or attitude that comes from our kids is our fault.  I’m implying something greater:  I’m implying that our kids look to us for answers.  They may not ask the questions aloud, but they silently watch us to see what our next move will be.

For instance, if you tell you teen they can’t have their phone, is it true that all they have to do is throw a fit and you’ll give in?  Will you tell yourself that you’d rather deal with letting them off the hook then have to face their wrath? 

If you know your teen is smoking, is your answer, “Well, I can’t control them.”?

Your teen may seem peaceful for the moment if you allow this but I can promise you one thing, sticking your head in the sand only fuels something inside of them.  they secretly tell themselves, “I’m not worth the trouble.”

Be willing to stand firm for the sake of your teens.  Be willing to be the parent first and the friend second.  Be willing to do what’s right even if it hurts.  If you do, I guarantee you will offer your teens the answer they are looking for:  I AM WORTH IT!