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.


2 Responses to “What do you expect most out of your teen?”

  1. 1 Elaine
    January 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I think of expectations a little differently. I really expect the parent to be a parent. I expect parents to be parents. 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.

  2. January 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Interesting addition to the topic. This was actually going to be a future blog but you covered it… thank you.

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