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Watching Kids Grow Up

We NEED the Pain from Watching Kids Grow Up

(Inside: Watching your kids grow up is painful, but maybe that pain serves you well. Maybe you need it. And this is why…)

I think I know why it can be so painful for parents to watch our kids grow.

Let me back up…
 
Once my second (of three) sons started high school, a panicked feeling of where-did-the-time-go hit me like a Mack truck. I’m not exaggerating when I say, I’d wake up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, thinking how is this period of time with kids in my home almost over? I love raising big kids; I don’t want this season to end. How am I actually here, and where did the time go?
 
(I am never dramatic or hard to be around at all.)
 
This happened night after night.
Want parenting resources? Check out EMandK’s Etsy shop.

Until a random thought hit me in the middle of an ordinary day and made me feel a smidge better: maybe moms-of-bigs NEED that sinking feeling that time is slipping through our fingers. Perhaps the pain in our hearts helps us “finish strong”?

Even though I’m closer to the end than the beginning, I still have years of big kids in my home in front of me. And we all know that that means…
 
Grocery shopping.
 
Games and activities.
 
Checking grades.
 
Maintaining household routines.
 
Appointments.
 
Carpooling.
 
Busyness.
 
And in the whirlwind…
 

When we’re exhausted from a long day at work and our teen wants to talk at 10 pm, we find the energy because we know how fast it all goes.

When we’re busy juggling activity drop-offs, signing field trip permission slips, flipping the laundry, and running to buy poster board, we still rinse and repeat daily. We find the time to volunteer to be on the booster club and live stream the game so the far-away grandparents can watch because we know how fast it all goes.
 
When we’re overwhelmed with our tween’s middle school behaviors or lack of school engagement or friendship struggles, we continue to stay present and look for solutions. We find the resources because we know how fast it all goes.
watching kids grow up
Connect with your kids over these conservation starters for families of teens.

When our teens need to learn to drive, we teach.

When they can’t seem to remember to hang up their wet towels, we explain. When their friends descend upon our home like locusts, eating our food and staying too long, we welcome. We find the patience because we know how fast it all goes.
 
When the mail holds the graduation announcement of our friend’s child, we just stop everything and soak in that we’re not quite there yet. Then we book the vacation or slow down dinner or linger at the park on the swings. We focus on just enjoying our people because we know how fast it all goes.
 

I hate the pain I feel over how fast our kids grow. But as I look back over the time with my kids in my home, how many times has that sad feeling helped me just stop all the things I think I should be doing and focus on what really matters to me?

My family.
 
My home.
 
Noticing, despite all the things that go wrong, how much goes right.
 
That pain becomes purpose. It gives me perspective, so I take the good from it and carry on feeling grateful for the exact season I am in.

Are you watching your kids grow up? Read the full parenting tweens and teens series.

My two oldest sons are in high school now, and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler.

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but now parenting them is, as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teens Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN

How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You
*400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

PARENTING
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope
Raising Tweens and Teens – THIS is what it looks like…

HEARTWARMING STORIES IN RAISING OLDER KIDS
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
To the Mom Who Mourns That Kids Grow Too Fast
Moms of Big Kids, Did You See Your Sacred Moments Today?

Want parenting resources? Check out EMandK’s Etsy shop.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped your kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community below. 

 

gifts for moms
goodbye to elementary school

Goodbye, Elementary School: Honoring the Past and Moving Forward with Joy

(Inside: Today we are saying goodbye to elementary school. Our family’s been there for over a decade. I can’t believe this day is here. )

Today we’re saying goodbye to elementary school.

Our youngest son is wrapping up 5th grade.

We’re saying goodbye to so many memories.

Captain America backpacks and little shoes climbing on the bus.

Unpacking school supplies into small desks and taking pictures of our kids by the locker with their names on it.

Book fairs, ice cream parties, parent meetings, Bingo night, and family dances.

We’re saying goodbye to sifting through the take-home folders stuffed with stars-stamped-on-top papers.

The baggie books brought home to be read three times each to a family member.

Field trips to the Nature Center, Mill City Museum, a local pumpkin patch, Target Field to see their rainwater recycle system, and Mall of America Nickelodeon Universe.

goodbye to elementary school
In middle school, one of our sons did not want to do his schoolwork, and it became a huge source of tension in the home. I didn’t handle the situation perfectly, but I kept trying and finally figured out how to better communicate with my son to where we both felt things were going smoother. Read more in the description here.

We’re saying goodbye to finding a show-and-tell item to tuck into a brown paper bag.

Signing reading logs, checking daily planners, and listening to them practice their recorders.

The Fun Run and Field Day and outdoor recess.

We’re saying goodbye to their projects, like the Living History Museum where they researched someone famous, dressed up like them, and showed off their information board and iMovie in front of tables in the library.

The cute Mother’s Day crafts like the Time Magazine cover where the mom is drawn with lines for hair and big round circles for glasses, and shaky crayon words spell out “Mother of the Year.”

Coasters with their picture decoupaged onto it, crooked mugs shaped out of clay, cards stamped with a heart-shaped print of their overlapping hands, pictures drawn of the family, and square 1 art magnets of their painted masterpiece.

We’re saying goodbye to the Halloween parade with proud kids walking through the halls, showing off their costumes.

Decorated Valentine’s boxes stuffed with cards and candy.

Class parties with rotations of candy corn bingo, bowling in the hall where you have to hand pick up the pins, snowman fingerprint ornaments crafts, and creative snacks like Oreo worm dirt pudding.

We’re saying goodbye to musical performances called things like “Wild Things Zoo Review” where they sang “Never Polka with a Porcupine” and “Raptor Rap.”

Parent-teacher conferences where we look at all the various art projects hung around the room, and we snap a picture of the crest they created representing all the things their classmates should know about them.

And chatting with other parents as we wait in the lobby for our kids at the end of the day.

But mainly we’re saying goodbye to the most wonderful teachers and the best school community.

I’m all nostalgic over here.

I’m not remembering any of the hard stuff.

Instead, I’m just feeling grateful.

For eleven years in a place that nourished and taught my kids well.

Today, we’re saying goodbye…

Then looking ahead…

To so many more great family memories still left to make in whatever the next chapter might bring.

You’re saying goodbye to elementary school and hello to the big kid years. Be encouraged by the full “raising tweens and teens series.”

My two oldest sons are in high school now, and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but now parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.


ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen
You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teens’ Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You
*400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope
Raising Tweens and Teens – THIS is what it looks like

HEARTWARMING STORIES IN RAISING OLDER KIDS
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
To the Mom Who Mourns That Kids Grow Too Fast
Moms of Big Kids, Did You See Your Sacred Moments Today?

goodbye elementary school

Join this community of other moms who have said goodbye to elementary school and hello to so many other new wonderful seasons…

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

goodbye to elementary school
goodbye elementary school
get lost in motherhood

Moms of Big Kids, Get Lost in Motherhood if You Want…

(Inside: “Don’t get lost in motherhood” was a piece of advice I got when I first became a mom. Unpacking the mixed messages moms receive.)

“Don’t lose yourself in motherhood.”

I rocked my third child to sleep, enjoying a few tender moments of holding a baby and reading on my phone. Mom blogs were new to me, and I ate them up like honey. Hearing the hearts of fellow mothers felt beautiful, beautiful, beautiful – and the piece of advice that was dancing in front of my eyes was…

“Don’t lose yourself in motherhood.”

I’m not sure I knew exactly what the recommendation meant, but I took it as this: To fully enjoy life and be a strong woman, I SHOULD meet some of my goals (personal and professional) during this season of motherhood.

“Don’t lose yourself in motherhood.”

This suggestion grew deep roots in my mind. Maybe because I needed to work at least part-time for financial reasons, and it felt like validation. Also, I love chasing dreams, so despite the busyness, it felt great to give wings to a few of mine.

But then somewhere in this mom journey, the advice that once empowered switched to burdensome.

Because you know the “blip” from Avengers: Endgame?
 
Blink – it happened here.
 
My kids are in 10th grade and 9th grade and 5th grade and oh-my-heart, their focus has shifted to activities and friends and driving and talking about college. No one has listened to my suggestion of stopping all this growing up so fast.

I’m big emotions over here. Now, when I hear messages about going for one’s dreams or meeting that goal, I think – that’s such a great idea FOR ANYONE OTHER THAN ME.

I just need a hot moment. Or ten. Or a hundred.
 
I’m not feeling a full-steam-ahead season.
 
I don’t want to sign up for all the things.
 
I don’t want to work longer-than-necessary hours.
 
I don’t want extra obligations, no thank you.
 
And please, I need zero suggestions of some long quest for self-improvement.
 
I don’t want to feel like a failure because I’m not doing enough self-care or meeting the “right” kind of goals.
 
Off, off, off noise.
don't get lost in motherhood
Do you want a simple, fun way to connect with your family? Read more in the description.

The only “more” I want right now is to focus on simply being present.

I want to not sweat the small stuff but still invest the time into guiding and parenting my kids through the important stuff. I want to say yes to the family movie. I want to cheer from the sidelines at their games and concerts. I want to go out for ice cream. I want to open our home to friends and not worry about the mess, noise, and late hours. I want to pile into the booth, order dinner, and hear about my family’s day. I want to walk around the mall with them to shop for hoodies. I want to smile at the pile of shoes and backpacks by the door because that means everyone’s safely home.

I know I’m not going to enjoy every moment of raising big kids. Of course, there will be hard parts. But I just want to be around so I can lean into the moments that I do enjoy.

I’m sure someday I’ll be back to wanting to chase that goal – but not now. Not even a little bit.
 
“Don’t lose yourself in motherhood.”
 
Not every message we hear about mom life is for us.
 
And if it is for us, that certainly doesn’t mean the message is for every season.
 
Previously, maybe I didn’t want to get lost in motherhood – but right now, I don’t care if I do.

Read the full series on how important you are, momma!

Do you really understand how important, how vital, how life-giving your role as a mom is?

Maybe you feel like you just poured the bowl of cereal this morning, but that’s not all you did. You nourished your kid. And through simple daily interactions, you teach responsibility, leadership, love, grace, faith, courage, and kindness. Your child will go out into life and share his or her gifts. Then pass everything you taught down to their kids. And next, their grandkids – your impact keeps rolling.

I’m getting chill bumps. Your ordinary work is extraordinary. 

Let me continue to convince you through the full series on the importance of motherhood: 

Why Moms are Important: This is the Impact You Make
Momma, How You Inspire Other Moms in Every Day in Amazing Ways
3 Realizations that Will Help You Enjoy Motherhood More

don't get lost in motherhood

“Don’t get lost in motherhood” and other mixed messages. Join this community of moms of older kids as we unpack this mom life together.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
quit sports

It’s Okay to Feel Disappointed When Your Kids Quit Sports

Your kid quit sports, and you hate that you feel disappointed. Here are some good things that might come from your kid quitting sports.

Can we talk about parenting disappointment?

I don’t mean the socially acceptable disappointments like binge drinking or wrecking the car or failing classes. I mean times when we HAD A PLAN (a good, thought-out plan) that our kids decided NOT to follow and the disappointment hits unexpectedly (and annoyingly) hard.

My high school-age son quit soccer.

At first, I was okay with it.
 
But then he got asked to play on a just-for-fun winter league with his former team (“wear the red uniforms!”), and when I saw all those boys walk out with the new uniforms and my son wearing last year’s, my stomach twisted into a left-out-knot. Later, I questioned my son’s choice, “Soccer is so fun, why are you quitting?” He wavered but landed on his initial decision.
 
That night, I tucked myself under a blanket of disappointment and stared at the ceiling hating that I felt such big emotions over soccer. Because we’re not supposed to feel disappointed when our kids choose a different path. We remember the “miscarriage” or “hard pregnancy” or “infertility” days, and we know that we’re crazy-lucky to have kids.
 
But, guess what, moms and dads…

Parenting naturally evokes big emotions, and we GET TO FEEL.

We get to feel disappointed because we like sports, played sports, get how it all works, and wanted to share our knowledge with our kids.
 
We get to feel a loss because we loved watching our teens play and hanging out with the other parents.
 
We get to feel sad about not having the car rides home to talk about the game, grab a hamburger, and crank up the music.
 
We get to feel the let-down of not connecting with our kids anymore over something we love.
 
And we get to feel panicked because being a teammate teaches so many great life skills and provides an automatic community, and it seems like they’re going to miss out.
 
About soccer or AP classes or music or whatever that thing that YOU love that your kids are not having right now.
conversation starters teens
Do you want 400+ conversation starters to bring your family closer together? Grab them here.

They’re our feelings, and we get to FEEL all of them. Guilt-free – big emotions are a part of the parenting experience. But then, somewhere in the middle of the heart storm, let’s also remind ourselves of something else: what we KNOW.

God cares about our children way more than we can fully comprehend and is moving in their lives in mighty ways.
 
For example, maybe not playing soccer again will be the best thing that’s ever happened to my son.
 
Maybe the change is because he will meet new friends, perhaps even people he needs to know. (Like my friend who met in high school someone who helped him get into his current profession where he’s thriving.)
 
Maybe the change is because he’s going to get involved in something different and discover new sides of himself. (Like some of my high school students who have quit sports, taken more leadership roles in clubs, and flourished in new ways.)
 
Maybe the change is because he needs to slow down and the break from hurry-hurry is going to do wonders to his mood and attitude.
 
Maybe the change needs to happen for him to gain confidence in making choices and discerning the whispers of God’s voice – all in a low-stakes environment wrapped in the safety of our home.
 
Maybe my teen has learned all he needs to learn from the sport, and it’s time to move on.

So, about those parenting disappointments, I say – feel them.

Feel them deep and hard.
 
Then zoom out.
 
And remind ourselves what we KNOW: we might feel some loss to not connecting with our kids in one of the ways we envisioned, but only a minute’s worth. Because there’s much gain – crazy amounts of gain – in watching our children grow up into their own beautiful selves.

Join this community of moms raising big kids

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms

Read the Full Series on Parenting Tweens and Teens

My two oldest sons are in high school now, and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler.

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but now parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

Raising Tweens and Teens Articles

SCHOOL
Teen, Forget Grades, These Big Reasons are Why You’ll Like Trying Hard in School

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen
You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teens Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You
400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope
Raising Tweens and Teens – THIS is what it looks like…

HEARTWARMING STORIES IN RAISING OLDER KIDS
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
To the Mom Who Mourns That Kids Grow Too Fast

quit sports
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.
once a mom always a mom

Once a Mom, Always a Mom – What a Gift

(Inside: Once a mom, always a mom. Your kids grow, but you will still always be their mom. What a gift that is to us and to them.)

Once you are a mom, you’re always a mom.

I released the bowling ball, scrunched my face at the result, then turned around to see my mom holding her phone out recording me.
 
I laughed out loud.
 
I am in my forties.
 
And I was throwing more gutter balls than not.

As moms of tweens and teens, we can grieve that our kids are growing up way too fast. But the truth is: motherhood doesn’t end once our kids blow out their 18th birthday candles. Once you’re a mom, you are always a mom.

It doesn’t matter how old your kids get….
 
You will always cherish spending time with them.
 
You will always wonder how they’re doing and want to know their thoughts.
 
You will always hope that your kids are finding friends and people to connect with.
 
You will always see the best in your children and know what they are capable of. You will always hope they are as confident in themselves as you are in them.
 
You always want your kids to discover their talents and be proud of how they are contributing to the world.
once a mom always a mom
ONCE A MOM, ALWAYS A MOM FAMILY CONNECTION IDEA: Instead of playing cards, play a round of “5 questions.” Pick 5 interesting questions from this list of 400+ and learn more about each other.

You will always want to comfort them when life gets hard – you want them to know that you are there, and you cherish when they choose to open up to you. And if they don’t want to confide in you, that’s okay – you hope they will reach out and find other help.

You will always pray for their safety, health, and well-being.
 
You will always look for hope in your children’s situations and be ready to cheer them on.
 
You will always think about your child and hold them in your heart.
 
You will always love them, more and more each passing season.
 
And you will always be ready with your phone to record a moment you’re enjoying with them – even if they are middle age and throwing gutter balls.
 
You can’t shake motherhood.
 
No matter how many years flip by.

Once you’re a mom, you’re always, always, ALWAYS a mom.

Once a mom, always a mom – and your importance to your family is immeasurable. Read the full series on the importance of motherhood.

Do you really understand how important, how vital, how life-giving your role as a mom is?

Maybe you feel like you just poured the bowl of cereal this morning, but that’s not all you did. You nourished your kid. And through simple daily interactions, you teach responsibility, leadership, love, grace, faith, courage, and kindness. Your child will go out into life and share his or her gifts. Then pass everything you taught down to their kids. And next, their grandkids – your impact keeps rolling.

I’m getting chill bumps. Your ordinary work is extraordinary. 

Let me continue to convince you through the full series on the importance of motherhood: 

Why Moms are Important: This is the Impact You Make
Momma, How You Inspire Other Moms in Every Day in Amazing Ways
3 Realizations that Will Help You Enjoy Motherhood More

Join this community of moms parenting teens and tweens.

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 



once a mom always a mom
parenting tweens and teens

Raising tweens and teens – this is what it looks like…

(Inside: Parenting tweens and teens carries so many unique emotions, moments, and experiences. This is what raising tweens and teens looks like…)

Raising tweens and teens looks like your stomach flip-flopping all day at work because your child has her absolute-whole-being set on getting The Part, and in the next 8 hours, she finds out.

It looks like catching a glimpse of your tween curled up under blankets on the couch and your heart melting because he reminds you of a decade ago. When he was a baby, you thought it wasn’t possible to love him more – but it turns out that you absolutely do.
 
And discovering that the creak of the garage door signaling your young driver safely pulled in is one of the best sounds ever.

Raising tweens and teens looks like sometimes finding it hard to relax in your own home because your teen is pushing all of your buttons.

It looks like daydreaming about tossing your kids’ devices (phone, iPad, video game consoles) out the window and driving over the tangled electronic heap multiple times.
 
And emotional exhaustion from the normal adult responsibilities plus trying to figure out what’s going on with your moody tween and discerning if you should help with a solution or let them figure it out.

Raising tweens and teens looks like spending crazy amounts of time in the community from church to school events to Target.

It looks like not realizing that it meant so much to you that your kid’s team gets that last basket in – your tense body clasps its hands together as you hope big for a buzzer-beater.
 
And gathering bonus kids and other parents into your circle, enriching your life more than you could’ve ever imagined.

Raising tweens and teens looks like finding a wrinkled English paper in the depths of your teen’s backpack. You flatten it with a stroke of your hand and read the words your tween wove together to be stunned by the amazing person that she is becoming.

It also looks like being frustrated by your child’s choices, setting boundaries, and holding the line. It’s knowing that if your big kids sometimes don’t like you, you’re probably doing a great job as a parent.
 
And finally understanding what grace means and how to wholeheartedly give it to your family and, most importantly, yourself.
parenting tweens and teens
Do you want to better connect with your teens? Download these 400+ conversations here.

Raising tweens and teens looks like a jammed packet schedule with the magician parent(s) getting everyone to and from where they have to be (mostly) on time with (hopefully) what they need to bring/wear.

It looks like trying to squeeze in conversations (because you so want to get to know your child) in the car, around the dinner table, while waiting for password reset emails.
 
And watching family movies, going on road trips, checking grades, ordering pizza, sifting through laundry, collecting dishes from the bedrooms, tripping over shoes piled in front of the door, and hoping someone will carry the piles on the stairs up.
 
Parenting tweens and teens is busy – it’s 8 pm feeling like midnight.
 
Parenting tweens and teens takes brain power – it’s saying a lot of prayers.
 
But it’s also –
 
Stopping.
 
And peering out the window to see your teen shoveling piles of snow off the driveway while wearing shorts and a hoodie.
 
And laughing out loud.

Because the most random of moments slow your whole world down and help you see – really see – your beautiful humans.

Their faces. Their smiles.
 
Hearing their laugher. And the sound of their voices.
 
And then feeling with every bone in your body how rich and full your ordinary life is.
 
Parenting tweens and teens.
 
It’s a gift.

Read the full Parenting Tweens and Teens Series

My two oldest sons are in high school now, and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You
*400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope

HEARTWARMING STORIES IN RAISING OLDER KIDS
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best

Do you want to better connect with your teens? Download these 400+ conversations here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens…

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life-phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life-chapter. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
kids grow too fast

To the Mom Who Mourns that Kids Grow Too Fast…

(Inside: Kids grow too fast and that can make moms who love raising their babies incredibly sad, but here’s something you need to remember…)

To the momma of big kids who feels like it’s all going too fast.

To the momma who experiences tinges of sadness to full-on-tidal-waves of emotions on birthdays, holidays, and first school days because another year is over.
 
To the momma who has so desperately wrapped her hands around time and tried to reign it in, and yet, the moments have slipped through her fingers leaving her wondering if she’s been present enough for this motherhood journey.

Let me remind you of something: you were there.

You were there when the nurse placed a sweet newborn in your arms or when those lovely adoption papers were signed. How you stared at your little one’s face convinced you’d never seen anything so beautiful. And you’ve had a million moments since looking at your child in wonder.
 
You were there the first time your baby pushed his lips together to form the word “ma-ma.” And for the first shaky steps. The first bite of jalapeño chips your 3-year-old demanded to take – his reaction made you laugh and hug him. And the first toothless grin. The first bike ride. Or drive. Or dance. A million times you’ve witnessed your kid’s firsts.

You were there to lift your toddler into her car seat and high chair and crib. You pressed your hand against her forehead and decided to call the doctor.

You flipped the grilled cheese sandwich and halved the grapes. You researched best toddler beds and read about napping routines. Over the years, from a million different angles you’ve watched, prayed, planned, and met your child’s needs.
 
You were there to see your kindergartener play soccer; tiny cleats clustered around a ball. Your child’s hand nestled safely in yours to find his classroom, meet the teacher, and choose the “I get home on the bus” card. You’ve packed lunches, made Valentine’s Day boxes, taxied to practices, photographed games and concerts, attended conferences, bought poster board at 9:00 pm – each passing year, in a million ways you’ve supported your kid in school and activities.
 
You were there to take your 2nd grader to the beach. You watched her leap the rolling waves, the scene catching your breath. And a million more times you’ve packed the suitcases and driven to the mountains, the lake, the theme park, the grandparents’ house for togetherness and memories.

You were there when your 4th grader turned ten. Double digits, a big deal.

Repeatedly, you’ve lit the candles, sung the song, and seen your child make closed-eyed wishes. In a million instances – birthdays to holidays to baptisms to family gatherings – you’ve attended milestone events; you’ve given the gift of traditions.
 
You were there for 6th grade, the start of middle school. You bought the new shoes, clothes, and school supplies. You helped your tween try to find the activities and friendships that made him feel connected. You set up routines, checked grades, reflected on what’s working and isn’t, and then tried new parenting approaches to best help your child. From a million directions you’ve cheered your kid on during life’s transitions.
 
You were there when your 8th grader’s emotions tore through the house like a tornado, the debris impacting the whole family. You inhaled patience and exhaled guidance for everyone to take a break. You then helped unpack big feelings, spoke God’s love and truths, gave perspective, and invited apologies. A million times you’ve been the rock, the safe place to land, the home that nourishes and teaches and encourages faith.

You were there when the garage door creaked open and your 10th grader filled the door frame.

Confetti of life-with-teens peppered the house: laundry next to the hamper, piles of dishes in bedrooms, friends crashing around, pantry raids, bowls of cereal. Then, repeatedly, exquisite emerged: good conversations, an unexpected head against your shoulder during a family movie, inside jokes, “I love you” said in words and actions. You’ve been there for the million everyday moments.
 
You were there for your 12th grader’s final year of high school. You had no idea watching your child gain independence dished out equal measures of sadness and pride. The trek hasn’t always been easy and there’s still much to learn, but you’ve relished seeing your child grow. Your lovely, wonderful kid – you’ve had a front row seat to the million instances that’ve shaped who she is today.

I don’t know exactly where you’re standing in this journey, but when the mom-ache starts, the kind that sends bolts through your body making you acutely aware that the parenting years are just a blink, remind yourself…

You’ve experienced the full journey of motherhood: everyday moments to big events, the challenges to the joys, and all the love – so, so much love.
 
You didn’t miss out.
 
Through it all, momma, you were there.

Kids grow too fast, this community is with you on that. There are more great resources for parenting raising tweens and teens on this page. Read the full parenting older kids series…

My two oldest sons are in high school now, and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but not parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

TEACHING GRIT
The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You
400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman
Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope
Raising Tweens and Teens – THIS is what it looks like…

HEARTWARMING STORIES IN RAISING OLDER KIDS
I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

Join this Community of Moms Raising Tweens and Teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms
raising teens

I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens

(Inside: Raising teens and parenting tweens can be hard, but also so fun. Someday, I will look back at these years through rose-colored glasses and miss it all.)

“Mom, why are you hugging me so long? I’m just walking one house down to the bus stop, like normal.”

“Because…” I squeaked out. “You’re only wearing a hoodie. And it’s snowing – hard. And we live in Minnesota. I JUST DON’T KNOW IF I’LL EVER SEE YOU AGAIN.”

Wiggle out of my arms. Eye roll, then smile. “Bye, mom.”

Teens are exasperating.

In raising older kids, there are times you wonder when that infamous frontal lobe will fire up. There are big emotions, doing the minimum, and “I raised you better” moments. Because of that, I think we’re supposed to hate these parenting years.

But I don’t know…

So far, they’re kind of my favorite. And someday, when I’m way past this season, I will miss these years.

Yes, the hoodies make me crazy, but then that same son walks back through the door (alive!), plops down on the kitchen stool, and pours out words – the class-clown-did-this and the teacher-said-that… He laughs; I laugh. It’s intriguing to watch how our teens process their worlds.

Then, there’s watching my tween son (I have 3 boys) power kick the offense’s soccer ball across the field shutting the other team out. He pumps his arm quietly by his side. I love how these raising-older-kids years hold lots of small moments that piece-by-piece build our kids’ confidence.

Or when my kid texts me that he aced his math test. It’s rewarding for me to see my kid learn that hard work does pay off.

I’ll miss piling into our car and driving to Nana and Papa’s house in a small town, USA.

My sons hunt for frogs, fish at the pond, and run around with their cousins like little kids again. No peer pressure – just a safe place to be themselves. I love these sacred family moments.

After a long day of school and work, my family crams into a booth at Culvers. We order burgers and fries and the food tastes so good because I didn’t have to cook it. The conversation doesn’t have to be perfect; I just like being surrounded by my people at the end of the day.

I will miss the hugs and kisses and prayers before bed.

 

family at dinner table
Connect with your growing kids over these 400+ Conversation Starters. My favorite way to use them? Go out to dinner, and go through a couple while you wait for your food.

I love it when our house is filled with friends.

There is eating pizza and bantering over video games and playing pool and shooting hoops in our driveway. I will miss the energy.

And I like going to all of their concerts, games, and school functions – we enjoy how regularly seeing our community is weaved into the everyday fabric of these years.

Or it’s fun to read my son’s English paper and think: Huh – so that’s how his brain works. I love getting to know my son better.

Or when we’re watching a family movie and my tween rests his head on my shoulder. I freeze, not wanting to wreck the sweet moment. I like that they still need me.

I will miss the gangly arms and legs around the Christmas tree, their excitement in front of our traditional chocolate mint birthday cake, their voices at our Thanksgiving table.

 

raising teens
Bring your family closer together in 30 days – check out the Family Prayer Journal Here.

Yes, there’s also attitude, disgusting rooms, missing school work, broken rules, conflict (wear a coat!), and standing firm as a parent when it’s no fun, but I won’t remember any of that.

It’s like giving birth, I remember the baby more than the pain.

I won’t recall how daily annoyed I was at the shoes and hoodies and backpacks and band instruments and sports equipment piled in a tangled heap on the entryway floor – I’ll just remember that I was glad my three boys were all home, safe under one roof.

I will remember these parenting years all through rose-colored glasses.

I will miss having a house full of tweens and teens.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.

You are parenting tweens and teens.

It’s an amazing life-phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kid, and celebrate the awesome momma you are. 

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get encouragement in your inbox geared for someone exactly in your life-chapter. It’s totally free and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

Plus, you’ll get instant access to all the great resources in the freebie library. Join our community here or below. 

gifts for moms

Read the full parenting tweens and raising teens series

My oldest son started high school last week and I’m still in a coma because of it. Even though I’ve taught high school for over two decades, I’m confused as to how I’m actually old enough to be a parent of a high schooler. 

Teaching high schoolers has always been a passion of mine, but now parenting them is as well. I could research, write, and talk about this topic until eternity. I hope you are encouraged by some of my articles.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TEENS
A Simple and Effective Way to Encourage Your Teen

COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR TWEEN/TEEN
How to Get Your Teen/Teen to Their “Aha Moment”
How to Get Your Tween/Teenage Son to Open Up to You

PARENTING
Parenting is Hard: This One Thought Can Help You Better Thrive
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
Dear Kids – Know the Difference Between “Chores” and “Maintenance”
To the Mom of a High School Freshman

BOOK IDEAS
Book Ideas for High School Teenagers
Book Ideas for Middle School Tweens

GIFT IDEAS
Gifts for Teen Boys
Gifts for Teen Girls
Stocking Filler Ideas for Teenagers

 

raising teens