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teen struggle

You Can’t Fix Your Struggling Teen’s Problems, But You Can Do This One Powerful Thing

(Inside: Watching your teen struggle can be so incredibly hard. We often can’t fix their problems anymore, but we can do this one powerful thing.)

One of the hardest things in parenting is watching your teen (or big kid) struggle and feeling helpless.

That’s where my mom was with me when I was in my early 20s.
 
I can’t exactly put my finger on why I was in such a funk. I’d followed the formula (college, then career), and yet there I was in the golden-young-twenty-years feeling lost.
 
Not just lost, panicked. With screeching anxiety. Pounding me every second.
 
Maybe it was that everyone else was getting married and my boyfriend had written a two-sentence letter, put a stamp on it, licked the envelope, and mailed it to break up with me. (Me calling him: “Did you just break up with me in an actual letter?” Dumpster fire moment.) Or maybe it was that everyone else seemed confident in their direction, and I was bouncing between temporary living places and uncertain about my career.

I just couldn’t.

Couldn’t manage my emotions.
 
Couldn’t make decisions.
 
Couldn’t get on top of life.
 
But, my mom…
 
My sweet momma.
 
She invaded my space in the best of ways: she typed up all of her favorite verses about hope, printed them out, and hung them all over my doors, next to my bed, by my mirror – nourishment sprinkled everywhere.
 
Y’all my mom doesn’t even like that kind of crafty stuff.
 
I was overcome.
teen struggle
It’s so hard to watch your teen struggle. If you want to save time and simply download some encouraging scripture verses for teens, click here.

Now, two decades later, I get why that simple gesture meant so much to me – because I better understand pain.

Pain is like a spiderweb of cracks that slices through your life in crazy directions. There isn’t one magic “thing” that instantly heals the mess. Rather, it takes an accumulation of solutions to slowly bind up your wounds. For example, one small slice of crack gets better through taking care of your body (long walks, water, eating well, sleep). Another by connecting with your people (hugs, conversations, petting your dog). A different crevice mends through inputting inspiration (books, podcasts, church, prayer, encouragement). And other slice heals by seeking professional help (doctors, counselors, therapists, medication). Each little step towards self-care stitches small sections of your cracks back together until, over time, you feel healed.
 
Changed and maybe different – but definitely better.
 
During that period, I worked hard at healing and did “all of the above.” But when I look back, what sticks with me the most were the actions of my mom. Her going out of her way to remind me of her constant presence and support through hanging up God’s promises was powerful.

Now, I’m the mom. And I’ve experienced how excruciating it can be to watch my teen struggle.

Often, I can’t often fix their problems anymore.
 
But I remember that the small gestures…
 
A text.
 
A hug.
 
A warm dinner.
 
Words of encouragement.
 
Listening.
 
Or printed out verses plastered everywhere.
 
The tangible ways of reminding our kids that we’re always there for them – they all matter. Parenting will always have its ups and downs, including difficult seasons with unclear solutions. But, in the hard, when we feel helpless…moms, we can encourage. We can choose to operate from a place of hope knowing that being a mom who is always there for her kids has a positive ripple effect.
teen struggle
Download encouragement for your struggling teen.

It’s so hard to watch your teen struggle. Read more for encouraging parenting resources to help…

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.

Parenting Tweens and Teens Series

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
To the Mom Who Mourns That Kids Grow Too Fast

Watching your teen struggle can be so hard: encouraging downloadable printables can be found here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens (We’ve all been there watching our teen struggle. You are not alone!)

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
teen mature

Your Teen’s Maddening Behavior is Age-Appropriate and Here’s Hope

(Inside: Frustrated mom, your teen will mature. When you’re raising teens, it can feel like they will never mature. But teens do grow up. This is how I know.)

Can I remind all of us parents in the thick of raising teens that their maddening behavior is often age-appropriate?
 
After school, I sat working in my classroom when a big personality filled my doorframe. I smiled at my former student – I always love when graduates make the rounds, checking in with previous teachers.

He told me how he was working super hard at his job, which was weird because he didn’t like to be on time or exhibit a ton of effort in high school.

He told me how he’d found a passion, which was weird because he didn’t really seem to have any goals in high school.
 
He told me how he ran and lifted weights every morning, which was weird because he didn’t display that kind of self-discipline in high school.
 
He told me how he was taking some college courses and loving them, which was weird because he never really liked academic work in high school.
 
Except none of it is weird.
conversation starters teens
Do you want to better connect with your teen? Good conversations help teens grow and mature. Download these 400+ conversations starters.

When he was one of my students he was incredibly likable (of course!), but while some high schoolers displayed one or two symptoms of being a teen – he displayed all of them…

Apathy.
 
Lack of follow-through.
 
Big emotions.
 
Grumpiness.
 
Preference of playing video games and being on his cell phone over all other things.
 
Aversion to responsibility.

When you’re in the thick of parenting (or working with) teens, it feels like they’ll never “get it.” But here’s the thing: they will mature. Much of what we see is age-appropriate.

I remembered how this family stayed the course with their son. They had routines, talked-though expectations, and boundaries. There were consequences that modeled real life as much as possible. (If you didn’t get your homework done during the week, you spent your Saturday catching up on work…just like in a career.) They created a home that listened, encouraged, guided, and nourished. They chose their battles, held the line on what was important, and gave grace when needed. And through all the ups and downs of messy life, they loved him in abundance.
 
As I said goodbye to the mature young man walking away, I thought about how many times in my 20+ years of teaching I’d see this exact same situation play out. Many of the teen-symptoms that drive moms crazy truly, truly, truly are temporary.

So mommas, when we’re in the weeds…

We take a deep breath.
 
We remind ourselves raising teens is an imperfect, twisty journey.
 
We put things into perspective.
 
We give everyone grace, especially ourselves.
 
We know our kids need us and keep on parenting.
 
And we operate from a place of hope, believing that our efforts will pay off.

Your teen will mature and more encouragement. Read the full raising tweens and teens series…

My oldest two sons are now in high school, 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

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”
*I Will Miss These Years of Raising Tweens and Teens
To the Mom of a High School Freshman

teen mature
Your teen will mature and more encouragement… Join this community of moms of 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. 

teen mature
teen mature
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.
teen mature
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.
my teen has low motivation

Frustrated Mom – Your Unmotivated Teen Will Find Success

(Inside: My teen has no motivation. What should I do? Help me gain perspective on this!)

My teen has no motivation

I had a wretched evening. My middle school son and I battled over his schoolwork and I felt completely discouraged…

The next morning, I went to a student-of-the-year presentation at the high school where I teach. Each teacher picks a student who has stood out over the year. This award is a big deal.

Low motivation in teens is not uncommon

A teacher stood up with a graduating senior I’d had in previous years. She’d both warmed-my-teacher-heart and broken-my-teacher-heart. Incredibly likable, this girl was kind and fun to be around. But she didn’t like homework, or goals…or really doing anything academic at all.

Despite encouragement and talking-to and phone calls home, her mom and I barely dragged her over the passing line in my class. For three high school years, she struggled to find any success at all in school.

Are you tired of nagging your big kid to take care of their responsibilities? I would through a tough school phase with my son, and communicating through a checklist was a game changer. Read more in the description here.

How this teen became motivated

Then something happened – I don’t know really, but her senior year, we all saw a change in her.

She carried herself differently. With more confidence. Like she’d made up her mind to do well and now she was ready to take some steps.

She started making plans for after graduation – her future excited her. She took on more leadership roles in school – her confidence grew. She focused on getting assignments completed and turned in – her grades went up.

And now she was standing on a stage being applauded by a room full of teachers, administrators, parents, and peers.

Her mom beamed as she came over to say hello after the presentation. I asked, “What changed?” She said, her daughter…

Ready for this life-changing event?

This lighting strike moment?

…she said her daughter simply matured.

Related Article: A family connection activity to increase you and your kid’s happiness

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Moms, we keep giving our unmotivated teens the tools to success

No big dramatic moment, instead, at the end of her junior year, she quietly began to “grow up.” All the things her parents and teachers said to her finally started to sink in. And because she’d been given the tools to find success over the years, she knew to pull them out and start testing a few. Also, because everyone unconditionally loved her when she wasn’t using her gifts, I imagine she knew she had nothing to lose by simply trying.

This mom’s words were exactly what I needed to hear.

Just because my kid fought me on completing homework well, doesn’t mean he always will….

And just because our kids don’t always make good choices, doesn’t mean they always will… Just because our kids are moody and cranky with us, doesn’t mean they always will… And just because our kids can seem apathetic with no ambition or direction, it doesn’t mean they always will…

Sometimes kids just need time…

to grow…
to let it all sink in…
to be a late bloomer…
and mature.

 

Related Article: How to Get Your Teen to Their Aha Moments (Better communicate with your teen)

Have faith – your kid will find their way

Moms, we stay the course. We keep loving and encouraging our kids through the high moments and the low moments. Even if our kids don’t respond to our “motivation” and “wisdom,” we keep giving them tools. We keep placing in their toolbox life lessons and tangible steps of how to be successful along with a ton of unconditional love.

And then we know – we really know and believe…
…that maturity will happen…eventually.

Join this mom community of moms of older kids

Are you parenting tweens and teens? Then you’re in the right place and I’d love to stay connected. Get instant access to 17+ helpful freebies and monthly empowering emails by clicking here (or below).

gifts for moms

Read more in the helping your big kid thrive in school series…

As a high school teacher for over two decades, I love, love, love watching kids learn. It’s okay if there are struggles in their educational journey. Not just okay – normal, even. We just keep stressing the importance of education and giving them the tools for success. And then we encourage our kids and love them well.

I hope you enjoy these articles.

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR PARENTS
Teen, These Big Reasons are Why You’ll Like Trying Hard in School

GETTING ORGANIZED
A Simple Way to Motivate Teens to Be More Responsible

BOOKLISTS
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that Will Also Build Character
Compelling Books that High Schoolers Will Want to Read

my tween has low motivation
Photo by Rubén Rodriguez on Unsplash