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kindness teens

7 Things About Kindness Teens Need to Know

(Inside: Growing kindness in teens is important. We know in the long run it’ll make them happier humans. We need to teach our teens these 7 things about kindness. Read on…)

As a family, I don’t think we mean not to be kind.

Life just happens.

Parents and kids can take each other “as their safe place” for granted. We’ve kept our emotions simmering under the surface all day, and when we walk through the door, things start bubbling over. 

The hurried bowl of cereal with small hoops of Cheerios littering the counter is left not because our teens are trying to be disrespectful, they’re just trying to make the bus.

Words exhale irritation because our kids’ grade book clearly says the due date of the paper, and they needed to have it done – not be in their rooms laughing at YouTube shorts, which we’ve told them, a million times and then some more.

Interactions are edgy because between work and dinner and school and activities, we’re just hoping to get to the correct soccer field with the right jersey somewhat on time and…for.the.love.just.grab.your.cleats.and.let’s.go.

Naturally-born-with-grumpy-dispositions consistently ping-pong around the house. It’s not that our loved ones are trying to be short-tempered, they just don’t fully see how they come across.

But we strive…

We continually come back together…

To pay attention to this.

If kindness is important to our family, it doesn’t just happen. We have to work at it as a team to weave these seven principles into our understanding of what kindness is and how we can create a home that nourishes each other through it.

Parents.

Teens.

We need to know that…

1. Self-kindness is important.

The God who spoke the universe into existence and says things such as he formed you purposefully in the womb (Psalm 139:13), knows every hair on your head (Luke 12:7), loves you more than you can fathom (Ephesian 3:18), and walks with you every day (Hebrews 13:5) did not create you to talk unkindly to yourself. 

We are His creation. His work of art. His masterpiece. 

Believe that. With hearts-open-wide acceptance. 

Then treat one of God’s most cherished creations (yourself) with the type of care and love He’d want you to. And when you’re kind to yourself, it’s often easier to let that overflow as kindness to others.

kindness teens
Get the kindness calendar HERE.

2. Sometimes you just have to fake it to you make it.

You don’t have to feel like being kind to actually be kind. Sometimes (lots of times), you just have to predetermine you will choose kindness, even when it’s tough. 

In hard situations, start small. Say one kind word. Then another. Do a thoughtful action. Then repeat. It builds. 

Then, ironically, kindness to others often soothes your own heart. One little step at a time, you just might notice your mood lifts. Life is weird like that.

3. Picking up and contributing around the house is one of the kindest things you can do for each other.

Life is busy and tripping over other people’s shoes sometimes feels like people not respecting that you are walking through that hallway too. Pick up and take care of your own stuff and see how that changes the dynamic of the home for the better.

4. Words of affirmation are important.

Everyone needs words of affirmation. Everyone. We need to be noticed for how we try and who we are. Notice. Say kind words. Text nice things. Your words hold power.

5. Know that kindness looks different to everyone.

Teachers love when student keep their phones away and engage in the lessons. Nothing makes a parent feel like a million bucks more than a long hug and genuine thank you. Being the cool sibling, the one who asks about her day and listens to her talk just might be how a sister feels loved. Watching the fingers over the guitar strings and listening to the sound floating across the room is the quality time the brother craves. That funny meme that popped up on your phone is the humor your friend needs texted to him. Kindness is noticing others and reaching out with care.

6. You help create the kind of environment that you want to live in.

Everyone in the family matters. If we want to come home to a kind place, we each need to be kind. Word by word, action by action – the health of the home depends on our daily individual decisions. But then, a beautiful thing happens. Slowly, a kinder atmosphere emerges, blanketing our home with a little more softness. And we did that together: helped create the kind of nourishing home each family member wants to come home to.

7. You don’t regret being kind.

It makes life so much harder for ourselves (and our loved ones)  to use harsh words, then have to eat some serious humble pie and apologize later. That we regret. However, choosing not to knee-jerk react. Instead, to take a breath, take a moment to calm down and think, and respond with wisdom, that’s the type of people we want to be. Kindness upfront is something we just won’t regret.

Life is busy.

With constant moving variables.

kindness teens
Get the kindness calendar HERE.

And in the hustle, we don’t mean to be unkind.

But we sometimes are.

We’re human.

So we pause.

We remind ourselves what kindness looks like. 

Make intentional choices. 

And move forward knowing that we’ll never be a family that’s flawless. The pursuit of perfection is impossible. But we can work together to be kind. So we’ll do that. We’ll be a family that’s kind to each other.

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

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Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

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. 

Read more in the 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
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…

 

teens kindness
Get the kindness calendar HERE.
kindness at home

Kindness at Home is Everything, Let’s be a Family that’s Kind to Each Other

(Inside: Kindness at home means the world. We all want to go home to a kind family. A kind family that nurtures and supports. Read on..)

Let’s be a family that’s kind to each other.

A family that looks up from their devices and smiles big when we see the other arrive home.
 
And asks about their day, because even though you don’t always feel like answering, it’s sure nice to be asked.
 
Let’s see – really see – one another every. single. day.

Let’s be a family that’s kind to each other.

When big emotions hit, a family that takes a deep breath and exhales slowly before answering. Who tries to respond instead of reacting.
 
And when words spew out, pelting across the room instead of controlled, thought-out responding, is quick to apologize. Who takes ownership of their actions.
 
Let’s recognize that we’re each other’s safe place, so we can all hold it together out there and unravel at home. Let’s put hard moments in perspective and freely give grace.

Let’s be a family that’s kind to each other.

Big kids who notice when the parents are juggling all-the-things and are quick to help in the kitchen.
 
Or parents who see their teens studying for the big test so make their lunch for the next day and bring them a glass of water.
 
Let’s be aware, help lighten loads, and try to meet needs.

kindness at home
One of my favorite things to do to create family connection is go out to eat (especially after a busy couple of weeks), and while we wait for food, ask a few of these conversation starters.

Because the world out there is tricky.

Navigating it can be like eating spaghetti with a spoon – messy, partially effective, and just plain hard. So, let’s recognize that small acts of daily kindness send big love through all of our lives.
 
Kind attitudes uplift.
 
Kind words heal.
 
Kind actions revive.

And doing our part matters: if we want to live in a home that is kind, we need to be the type of person who is kind.

Every family member is important. Vital, even. Each must daily show kindness, so we create the kind of nourishing home that we all want to come home to.
 
It won’t be flawless.
 
Perfect families don’t exist.
 
But families who continually come back to kindness do.
 
So, let’s be that.
 
Let’s be a family that’s kind to each other.

Kindness at home matters. We all want to live in a kind home and feel connected to our families. Read more in the Create Family Connection series.

We all want to feel connected to our family. I know, I do. 

One of my favorite things to do with my family is to create family time. Yes, life gets busy, and no I don’t do this all perfectly (who actually does!?!), but it sure is fun to try. 

I hope you enjoy these family connection articles and ideas too…

FAMILY ACTIVITIES
Know Your Child: One Way to Learn How Your Kid Feels Loved
400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens
7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family

INSPIRATIONAL STORIES
7 Reasons Why Raising Tweens & Teens is the Best
My Big Kids, No Matter How Fast Your Grow, I’ll Always Be Your Mom 
Moms of Big Kids, Get Lost in Motherhood if You Want

kindness at home
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens. We’re working together to create kindness at home…

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. 

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

kindness at home
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.
motivate teens

A simple way to motivate teens to be more responsible

(Inside: Motivate teens to thrive even when they are tangled in the normal struggles of being a teen. Here’s a simple way to encourage and motivate your teen.)

Are you struggling to daily motivate your tween or teen? 

The milk sits out – again. The clothes are scattered across the bathroom floor – again. The online grade book displays a zero – again.  

It’s frustrating because you know the things your tween/teen is choosing to neglect will always be a normal part of a human being’s daily responsibilities: your kids will forever have to pick up after themselves, complete work for their career, and file their taxes. It’s important they learn to complete responsibilities even when they don’t feel like it now. Grit is a valuable life skill. 

Yet, in trying to teach this, you hate how much it feels like you’re fussing at your tween/teen. And you see your child not responding – the approach isn’t working.   

I hear you. I’ve been there too.  

I had such a discouraging parenting season with my middle schooler, I checked out a stack of parenting books and plowed through. My solution ended up being super simple. I’ll save you the reading… 

 

motivate teens
Grab the checklist here.

Motivate teens: recognize the root of the conflict

It wasn’t that my 13yo didn’t know what to do, but rather, that we were like passing ships when it came to me sharing daily expectations and my teen expressing what best sets him up for success. We needed to figure out a better way to communicate.

Motivate teens: operate from a place of hope

Also, I needed to adjust my attitude. Before I even approached my teen, I reflected on what I know from 20+ years of teaching high school: teens want to thrive. They do. 100%. They just can get lost in peer pressure and hormones and impulsive decisions and procrastination and shutting down. I knew my son wanted to succeed, so I shifted my temperament and chose to operate from a place of hope. 

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens: get monthly inspiration here.

Motivate teens: try a new approach to communication

My son and I agreed that things needed to change, already a hopeful start. So, I asked him to list his daily responsibilities. We examined his agenda and made some adjustments.

We then decided our communication would be through the list: he checks off the tasks as he completes them and that’s how I see his progress. We’d discuss any issues at the end of the day. One time. That’s it.  We’d set up a routine, boundaries, and a new form of communication – things were already looking up.

Motivate teens: honor the boundaries you just set up by sticking to them

And because I really needed this checklist to work, I listened to what the parenting books1 said about the importance of setting up routines and boundaries, then honoring them by sticking to them. You hold those boundaries using what Dr. Henry Could and Dr. John Townsend call “reality consequences.” (Boundaries with Kids, page 58) 

This means, that I needed to use the logical consequences that result from my child’s actions to help him learn about the realities of life. In “real life,” choices we make don’t come without some sort of outcome, whether the result serves us well or does not serve us well. For example, if I’m kind to the people in my life, I end up with some really great friendships – a choice with an outcome that serves me well.  If I don’t switch my laundry, I end up with moldy clothes – a choice with an outcome that doesn’t serve me well.
 

It’s not about trying to turn my teen into a robot, but rather help him understand the realities of life and control he has over many of his choices and outcomes. If my son peers out his window before school, he can see the line of cars driving past filled with people on their way to work. If those employees consistently choose to do their jobs well, they get a paycheck in the bank – an outcome that serves them well. Of course, the reality of continually choosing to skip work would be losing that job and paycheck – an outcome that does not serve them well.   

So, we decided (him unenthusiastically) that just like all those workers he daily watched drive by, he needed to finish his checklist before he got to play his video games, something that highly motivates him. If the checklist wasn’t done, I wasn’t going to get mad about it – I’d simply hang onto his gaming devices, and we’d try again tomorrow. Then, we did our best to stick like glue to that routine allowing him to be in control of if his choices and their outcomes served him well or not.  

(Side note:  I’m not a fan of taking away activities that surround him with positive peers like co-curricular activities or youth group.) 

The checklist gives your teen control

By the end of week one of the checklist, I could already see a noteworthy improvement. I had stepped back and tried hard to hold my tongue, while he stepped up and got through the list his way. I could see that with this new strategy, he felt more in control. 

Was it perfect? No part of raising kids is flawless, and yes, I had to let some things go, but we both liked this framework of routine and communication.

Be consistent

We know how hard consistency can be in parenting; however, I found checking in once at the end of the day much more manageable (and enjoyable) than asking 1.1 million times if that flip grid for band got turned in.

Grab the checklist here.

Do we use this checklist forever?

Please, no – just to get over the hump. The goal is always to raise independent teens.

Praise your teen’s effort big-time

And then this is the best part: we praise our teens a ton. We notice all the effort they are putting in and tell them so, as much as possible. Ignore the eye roll, they are letting it soak in. They crave words of affirmation like we all crave chocolate cake.

Save time – grab the checklist here!

Mom-friend, because I know how valuable your time is, I made a downloadable checklist for you. The checklist covers the basics in: 

  • Morning routine, including making sure everything is ready for the day 
  • School routine, including verifying assignments are done 
  • Other healthy habits, like exercise, reading, and being creative 
  • Picking up and helping around the house 


It’s a one-page, printable is with realistic, healthy, and manageable expectations for tweens/teens. It’s also in word document form so you can tweak it to fit your child exactly. Grab the checklist and as a bonus, you’ll get monthly(ish) encouraging raising tweens and teen emails. They’re free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Momma, you’re doing a great job raising your tweens and teens

We all know there’s no magic formula to raising tweens and teens, and sometimes kids just make poor choices despite our best parenting efforts. But we also know that hearing each other’s stories of tangible ways we found a parenting win can be a great starting place when we’re trying to nail down our own solution.  

Maybe this checklist-solution will land your family at the end of the rainbow. Or perhaps it won’t…yet an introduction to the idea might spark a conversation where your teen eventually says, “Mom, I have an idea that I think will motivate me better than the checklist…”  

And that’s a win for everyone.  

Motivate Teens Sources:

[1] The parenting books that impacted me the most with their research, experience, and stories of when you’re trying to overcome a parenting challenge, connecting expectations with rewards and consequences that you see in real life were (affiliate links):

Have a New Kid by Friday: How To Change Your Child’s Attitude Behavior & Character In 5 Days (Dr. Kevin Leman)

Parenting Your Delinquent, Defiant, or Out-of-Control Teen: How to Help Your Kid Stay in School (Patrick M. Duffy, Jr., PsyD)

Boundaries with Kids (Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend)

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

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. 

Read the full motivate your teen to 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.

Help Your Kid to Thrive in School Series

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR PARENTS
Parents, Help Your Kids Thrive in School By Asking These 4 Questions
Why I’m Not Freaking Out that My Struggling Reader Has Low Reading Scores
A Mom’s 1st Day of School Wishes
Moms, You’ll Better Enjoy the End of the School Year Remembering THIS
*My Teen Was Struggling In School (With Distance/Hybrid Learning), So This Is What I Did
Teen, These Big Reasons are Why You’ll Like Trying Hard in School

GETTING ORGANIZED
Kid’s Morning Routine Checklist: Get Your Kids Out the Door Happy and On-Time

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

chores teens

Get Your Teenager to Do Chores with Humor and a Checklist

(Inside: Get your teenager to do chores with this lighthearted explanation of “chores” and “maintenance.” Get a cleaning checklist that works too…)

My dear tween and teenage kids,

You know I love you beyond measure, but we must discuss something and I need you to hear me or your mom just might lose her sanity.

There’s a difference between “chores” and “maintenance.”

Why are we discussing this you ask? Well because the other day one of you sighed big and said “I didn’t know we had to do chores today” when I asked you to hang up your wet towel that was crumbled on the bathroom floor. So, I feel that we need to straighten something out.

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Chores are when you snap on rubber gloves and dive deep into scrubbing the bathrooms. Chores are when you pull out the vacuum and make even lines across the room. Chores are when you ring out a mop and rub it all over the floor. Chores are what we do as a family once a week.

Maintenance is when you – ready for this? – hang up the towel you just used after your shower. Or put the clothes you just wore in the hamper. Or your cereal bowl into the dishwasher. (And then wipe up the dribbles of milk from the counter.) Maintenance is putting the milk back in the fridge, your shoes in the mudroom bin, and your coat on the hook. I don’t need to go on, you get it…

Know, my dear children –  I don’t expect you to be perfect. You all know I’m not! But I am asking you to shift your mindset, even if it’s only a little.

Chores = big actual cleaning

Maintenance = the small daily acts of putting the stuff you just used away

You might someday make enough money be able to hire a cleaning company to do your “chores” (dream big!), but you will FOR SURE have to do “daily maintenance” until the end of time. So, it’s important that you learn that skill set now.

Thanks for listening to my words. I love you to the moon-and-back, forever-and-ever. You are my everything and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you – except hang up your bathroom towel.

Love, Your Mom

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Get your teenager to do chores: here was the game-changer for me!

Can you relate to my letter to my kids? Do you long for your house to remain straightened? Are you tired of the house-cleaning-drill?

And, really – it’s not so much the cleaning, it’s the unhelpfulness of the tween who apparated-Ron-Weasley-style into some unknown corner of your home in the middle of the chores (Room of Requirement, maybe?) and the turtle-pace cleaning speed of your teen. Mix that with working all week and then spending half of Saturday trying to motivate your people to scrub with purpose, and you are over it.

I hear you.

My coworker gave me life-changing advice about a tangible way to keep my house clean.

I was telling my friend from work about our cleaning as a family on the weekends. (“No one is focused. It takes forever. Saturday mornings aren’t enjoyable.”)

“First…” my coworker said to me, “You have to know how good it is for your boys to help you clean.” (She has sons, as well, and is a few clicks ahead of me in parenting.)  It teaches your sons’ life skills, to treat their mom well, to be a better future roommate and/or husband, to take ownership and pride in your family home, and to do life as part of a team. 

(Oh, dear friend – you had me at “It’s good for your boys to help you clean.”)

“But here’s the key,” she continued. “You need to clean on a Thursday.”

Then she went on to tell the pros of Thursday cleaning:

  • Everyone still has energy on a Thursday, by Friday, you’re toast.
  • You go into the weekend with a clean house and that’s so nice.


Here’s how it works:

  • You get pizza on the way home from work, and everyone eats early.
  • Everyone works together with the goal of getting the whole house clean between 1-2 hours. A family member finishes a job, then goes back to mom (or dad) to find out the next job. This continues until you are done. (Set a timer, blast some music and go.)
  • Yes, there are sometimes activities/conflicts, but you figure it out and make it happen anyway – remember, Thursday you’re strong, Friday you wilt. 

So, I tried the Thursday cleaning and experience something clicked in a new way for us – it worked far better than our weekend routine. We’ve kept this new schedule up for years with one small addition.

We’ve added that during the week we also do our best to imperfectly pick up after ourselves. After dinner, half the family cleans the kitchen and the other half does a quick house pickup. (Aim for 10-15 minutes max and no this doesn’t happen every day.)

Is it flawless? Of course not, but no parent is hidden somewhere in this world doing it all right. Motherhood is an imperfect journey by definition. The cleaning routine bounces between great to okay to meh because that’s life.

But still – the Thursday ritual is truly the best cleaning routine I’ve ever tried…and I’ve tried them all in the 15 years I’ve been a parent. 

My sons asked for a checklist so they didn’t have to constantly ask me for their next task. I dream in lists, so was happy (thrilled!) to oblige. 

Momma, I know you’re busy – so I want to save you some of your precious time, and made the family cleaning checklist available to you.

It’s in word document form so you can quickly tweak it to fit your family.  It also outlines both weekly cleaning and a few “deep cleaning” things you should do every Thursday to keep your home sparkling. Grab the checklist and as a bonus, you’ll get monthly encouraging raising tweens and teens emails. They’re free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Read more about the cleaning checklist here.

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

Read the full Raising Tweens and 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 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.

Raising Tweens and Teens

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

 

Get your teenager to do chores by grabbing the cleaning checklist here.

Get your teenager to do chores and more! 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 below. 

gratitude journal for teens

A Gratitude Journal Your Teen Will Love (Raise Grateful Kids)

(Inside: A gratitude journal just for tweens/teens. Journal includes fantastic writing prompts. Download the gratitude journal for teens today!)

Moms, do you ever go to work already in a funk?

Me too.

For example, the other day, my family morning routine was rocky at best.  (“No, you don’t have an actual fever. You’re GOING to school.” “Did you look in the basement for your shoes?” “Didn’t you finish your homework last night?”) I waved goodbye to my boys feeling cranky and on edge.

I tried to reset my mood as I drove to work. But, as I walked into the high school, a dark cloud still hovered over my head. I started my day teaching advisory (homeroom) and it happened to be “Gratitude Journal Day.” As a class, we spent 15 minutes focusing on what we’re thankful for. 

When the bell ended the period, I noticed – my mood had shifted. 

Gratitude. God breathes a holy quality into gratitude. 

Gratitude Journal for Teens

But adults aren’t the only ones who need to use gratitude to shift our moods. Our teens need it too. Have you ever seen your teen…

  • Be overly emotional?
  • Act irrationally?
  • Feel over-the-top anxious?

Teaching our kids to practice gratitude can help. When we do this, we give our teens a tool to help them:

  • Take a mental “time-out”
  • Relax their racing brains
  • Adjust their focus
  • Feel ready to move forward


That’s why I’ve written a gratitude journal just for teens and tweens and you can get instant access today…

Access the Gratitude Journal for Teens Right Now

I created a gratitude journal that you can instantly download from Etsy. You’ll see:

  • The science behind why a gratitude journal works to help your big kids get on board with the idea.
  • 30 days of focused gratitude:
    • Each page starts with an inspirational scripture verse or quote.
    • Weaved throughout the journal are short stories and things to think about in this gratitude journey.
    • Space to write.

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

Continue to be encouraged by the full “raise kids of faith” series.

Over the years, as my kids have grown and their seasons have changed, I find myself going back to this one prayer, “Dear Jesus, please let my kids desire to have a relationship with you and follow you.” If as they journey through life, they consistently go back to their Creator for comfort and guidance, it’s all going to be okay.

So, as a mom, I strive to (in my imperfect way), teach my boys faith.

HOLIDAYS
10 Easy Way to Teach Your Kids The True Meaning of Christmas
A Busy Mom’s Christmas Prayer

TEACHING FAITH
Free eBook: Devotions for Kids and Families
5 Fantastic Devotionals that Help Create Forever Family Connections

TEACHING GRATITUDE
The Science Behind Why a Gratitude Journal Works (Raise Happy, Faith-Filled Tweens and Teens)
 

Shop Empowered Moms and Kids

Join this community of moms of 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 a fantastic 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, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get inspiration, resources, and stories 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.

raise grateful kids

The Science Behind Why a Gratitude Journal Works (Raise Grateful Kids)

(Inside: The science behind why a gratitude journal works. Raise grateful kids with this free gratitude journal designed just for tweens and teens.)

Do you fully understand the power of gratitude?

We all want to raise grateful kids. We know that gratitude is one of the secret sauces to a happy life. Thankfulness turns – 

  • Failures into wisdom.
  • Everyday moments into sources of extraordinary joy.
  • Disappointments into strength.
  • And we’ve only scratched the surface of the benefits…

The science-backed health benefits of gratitude

Study #1: Emmons’ decade-long study

Robert Emmons (Ph. D., professor of psychology at UC Davis) has studied gratitude for over a decade. He’s found thankfulness to be a powerful tool we can use to live the happiest of lives. In a study of over 1000 people, Emmons found that those who consistently practiced gratitude reaped these benefits:1

Physical
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

Social
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.

Study #2: The nun study

Also, there’s a different study on the power of positive emotions (which is linked to gratitude) that is worth mentioning. In the 1930s, 180 nuns were required to journal about their lives following their final vows. The average age of these nuns was 22. Decades later, the journals were studied for the number of times the nuns used positive emotions in their writing. (Gratitude is a positive emotion. Also, as we saw in Robert Emmons study, gratitude breeds even more positive emotions like hope, joy, love…etc.) Then the researchers followed up to see how long the nuns lived.2

“The nuns who expressed the most positive emotion in their writing – those in the top 25 percent for positive emotion – lived on average 9.4 years longer than the nuns in the bottom 25 percent who expressed the least amount of positive emotion.” (Valorie Burton, Successful Women Think Differently)2

 Gratitude is worth paying attention to.

A proven tool to help us live a grateful life

So, how do we get there? How do we get all these powerful benefits of gratitude? Some people more naturally live life gratefully, or have been taught gratitude at an early age – but what if that’s not you?

The answer to achieving a fuller life through gratitude is simple: a gratitude journal.

Okay, I know you might be doubting. How could something as simple as jotting down a few things we’re thankful for do things like strengthen our immune systems?

The science behind why a gratitude journal works

The results of numerous studies on gratitude

Dr. Randy Kamen (psychologist) cites an article that highlights a number of studies on gratitude. He explains why a gratitude journal works,

“Research shows that recording experiences for which one is grateful for only two consecutive weeks has lasting positive effects sustained for up to six months.3

Furthermore, the three blessing study

Let’s specifically look at the three blessings study. In this study, individuals were to write down three blessings every night before they went to sleep. As Valorie Burton says in her book Successful Women Think Differently,

“Those who do so (write down the three blessings) consistently for three weeks have experienced deeper sleep, fewer colds, and less anxiety than those who don’t. Interestingly, the study didn’t yield the same results when subjects only counted their blessing in their head or verbally. The key is to write them down.”4

Gratitude journals have been scientifically tested and found to be a powerful tool to reset our brains to see the good over the bad. Maybe this is why incredibly successful people (including Oprah Winfrey and Tim Ferris) have adopted the 5-minute practice of a gratitude journal.5

raise grateful kids

How complaining has a negative impact on our brains

If the convincing research doesn’t sway us to pick up a pen and start writing, let’s look at what happens when we do NOT choose gratitude. We know negativity breeds unhappiness, but did you know that complaining has a negative impact on our brains? Danielle Boroumand explains,

“If the idea of breeding continual negative notions in your brain isn’t enough to get you to stop complaining, how about learning that it can also damage your memory? MRI scans have shown that constant complaining can lead to the shrinkage of the hippocampus, the region in your brain responsible for cognitive functioning. The smaller your hippocampus, the more likely you are to have your memory decline, as well as difficulty adapting to new situations.  

The aftermath effects of complaining don’t stop there. The more you complain, the more your cortisol levels increase. High levels of cortisol are associated with health problems like increasing depression, insomnia, digestive problems, high blood pressure, and even increasing the risk of heart disease. There’s a reason they call it the stress hormone!”6

Are you going to apply this science to your life and daily choose gratitude?

However, knowing these facts about the positive impact of gratitude isn’t enough. We have to choose happiness. Just like when you train for a track meet, no one else can run around that track to make you faster, choosing gratitude is something you must do for yourself. There will always be things to complain about. We have to train our minds to see the good over the bad.

Is your family ready to be transformed through the power of gratitude?

Grab the gratitude journal designed specifically for tweens/teens and families here or below.

raise grateful kids

Shopping for your family?

Best Booklist for High School Teenagers

Best Booklist for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Moms Will Love to Read

Gift Ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

45+ Inexpensive Stocking Stuffers for Tweens and Teens

Easter Baskets Stuffer Ideas for Big Kids

And so many more great lists of must-haves built just for families of big kids on Empowered Moms and Kid’s specialized Amazon Affiliate Storefront…

Join this community of moms of 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 a fantastic 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, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.

I got you, friend. Sign up for Empowered Moms and Kids monthly emails and get inspiration, resources, and stories 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.

Raise kids of gratitude and kids of faith. Read the full “raise kids of faith” series here…

Over the years, as my kids have grown and their seasons have changed, I find myself going back to this one prayer, “God, please capture my kids’ hearts. Help them want to walk with you.” If as they journey through life, they consistently go back to their Creator for comfort and guidance, it’s all going to be okay.

So, as a mom, I strive to (in my imperfect way), teach my boys faith.

HOLIDAYS
10 Easy Ways to Teach Your Kids The True Meaning of Christmas
A Busy Mom’s Christmas Prayer

TEACHING FAITH
Free eBook: Devotions for Kids and Families
5 Fantastic Devotionals that Help Create Forever Family Connections

TEACHING GRATITUDE
A Gratitude Journal Your Teen Will Love (Raise Grateful Kids)
The Science Behind Why a Gratitude Journal Works (Raise Happy, Faith-Filled Tweens and Teens)

kids leaders

Raising a Leader: An Effective Tool to Help Parents Raise Leaders

(Inside: Raising a leader and developing leadership skills in youth is important. This effective tool can help you raise your kids to be leaders.)

“But, maaaawwwwm, I cleaned my room good enough…why does it matter if it’s not perfect?”

How many other moms have heard that phrase in the last week?  

Or hour… 

Or…5 minutes? 

Your child brought one cup down to the kitchen, threw his covers on his bed, and put one pair of dirty underwear in the hamper. Also, you can insert any other scenario into the above: finished my homework, helped my little sister with reading, loaded the dishwasher… Then, add, “Can’t I just do it tomorrow?” for the cherry on top and you have the formula for one crazy mom. 

Y’all – we’d take a bullet for our kids – but we will get to the point in teaching our kids responsibility that there is no way we are putting away their cereal bowl…again. 

How can we get our kids to understand that their actions can reflect who they are as people?

How do we help them to comprehend intrinsically that when they take care of their responsibilities, they are learning how to be organized, independent, and lead through example? How do we shape these young minds to realize that accomplishing working hard with integrity now in the little things, will greatly help them thrive in the big things to come? How do we shape our kids to be leaders?

Transformational language.  

Transformational language is a tool  I’ve been using in my home (and my high school classroom) for the past year.

We focus on teaching leadership through transformational phrases we interject into our daily language, as it feels natural. We watch as the message slowly seeps into our kids’ hearts and take root.

 

raising a leader
Be inspired in raising a leader and more. Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

The science behind why transformational language focused on leadership works. (An effective tool to raise a leader.)

There are three needs every human being craves: safety, belonging, and mattering.  These qualities, according to  Forbes magazine are “essential to your brain and your ability to perform at work, at home, and in life overall.”

We’re going to focus on the third quality– we all want our lives to matter. Something deep in all of us pulses: we want to be strong human beings that contributes something worthy” to this world. We want to figure out how we can make an impact, we need to be leaders in our own lives. 

Intrinsically, we crave steering our own ship and that our work matters.

What about leadership should we focus on and how often? 

Leadership is a huge topic; every corner of the world needs good leaders – in politics, in communities, in our homes, and in our personal lives (self-leadership). 

As I researched articles on this topic, I narrowed down the numerous leadership qualities to two that moms can be focusing on now to empower their kids to pursue their potential. In Forbes Magazine, 10 Unique Perspectives On What Makes A Great Leader, Brent Gleeson lists, these two qualities (among others): 

  1. Serve a higher purpose.  
  2. Don’t lead by force; lead by example.  



Before we dive into how we, as parents, can incorporate transformational language into our every day that will shape our kids into leaders (who serve a higher purpose and lead by example), let’s first tell our kids about this new perspective through a dinner conversation. 

How to facilitate a reflectional conversation that will help us raise kids to be leaders.

We need to help our kids understand that their actions now develop important leadership skills. (However, that shows up in their future space in this world – big or small.) Here are the points we need to bring up in our dialogue:
  

  • Your everyday actions matter; your effort now will build the leadership skills you will use later.  
  • How you work reflects directly on you (People judge who you are by your actions, whether you like it or not – that’s reality). 

The conversation could look something like this… 

Around the dinner table, or before bed, or on lazy Sunday afternoon, gather your people around and connect over these discussion questions.

Start the dialogue by asking your kids to reflect on leaders in their lives.

  1. Name people in your life who are leaders. (Teachers, coaches, counselors, parents, grandparents, doctors…etc.)
  2. Who of those individuals do you think is good at leadership?
  3. What makes that person a good leader? 

Answers will range and important qualities will be talked about including having a vision, being kind, and instilling inspiration, but we want to guide the conversation towards this point: A good leader takes care of his/her responsibilities.  

Continue to ask to help your kids unpack their thoughts by asking these questions.

  1. Would you think this leader, perhaps your soccer coach, is a good leader if she didn’t come prepared? What if she didn’t take the time to come up with a game plan for the practice, set up the necessary equipment well…etc.
  2. Does this soccer coach need her mom to come and tell her to be on time, make sure to set up the field with the cones and equipment for the drills, and do a job well done? 
  3. Do you notice your coach’s actions? Do your coach’s everyday actions reflect the kind of person she is? Explain.  


Again, the answers will be different, but you’re trying to have your kids see how exactly zero good leaders have his/her mom nagging them to do a good job!  

Conclude the conversation with the following questions.

  1. What are your responsibilities right now? Do you do them well on your own, or is your life filled with people bossing you around? 
  2. Do you want to be bossed around or do you want to want to be a leader?  (Just-for-fun bonus question: Can you envision how you’d want to be a leader in this world in the future?) 
  3. Describe changes you will make to be a leader in your own life.  


Move forward letting your kids know you will be using transformational language that will remind them to be a leader and complete responsibilities well. Urge them to pay attention to how when they complete their tasks well, they will hear less nagging and more praising. (Moms, make a mental note to notice their good work and praise their effort.) 

After discussing leadership as a family, how to naturally incorporate transformational language that will help us all raise kids to be leaders.

Moms, you must promise me this: This is not a stressor in your life.

  • There is no exact right or wrong way to do this and you will not beat yourself up if you think you are failing. You’re not. You’re a champion. Always. Keep that in mind as we proceed.  
  • Also, I have lots of parenting ideas on this page, but we only work on one thing at a time with lots of long breaks. What’s that saying, “If you try and do everything, you won’t accomplish anything.” (Or something like that.)

Now, onward…

In our everyday conversation, we want to work on using transformational language that shapes our kids into leaders. (As it feels natural, when you remember, we don’t need to overkill this.)  In other words, parent backwards. Think about the successful, independent, confident adult you want your child to grow into and ask yourself: What do I want my kid to do and learn from this situation that will help him grow into a leader? 

Here are some ideas of common everyday scenarios, and how we can transform our words so they empower and point our children toward one goal: to be leaders.

I also created a printable with 17 Transformational Phrases you can you to help you raise your kids to be leaders, download it now here or below. 

Yes, I want Transformational Leadership Printable!

Leadership Transformation Phrases for the Morning: 

Kid’s Responsibility:  Transformational words:  
Setting their alarm and getting out of bed.   You’re a leader – you don’t need me to get you up, leaders are in charge of themselves. 
Getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, putting shoes on, PUTTING ON DEODORANT…etc.  You’re a leader – leaders don’t have the moms follow them around and nag them about getting ready.  
Having a backpack together, being at the bus stop on time…etc.   You’re a leader – leaders lead by example. Your teachers and peers will notice that you are prepared.  

 

Leadership Transformation Phrases about School: 

Kid’s Responsibility:  Transformational words:  
Pay attention, take good notes, stay focused in class, do what’s expected.   You have a leader – leaders have a purpose, your purpose right now is to do well in school.   
Connect with peers.  You are a leader – leaders notice other people and are kind.  
Learn from their teachers.  

(Especially if they are struggling.) 

You are a leader – leaders know people (even teachers) can be difficult and try their best anyway both to get along with the person and thrive in the situation.  
Homework/studying.  You are a leader – leaders challenge themselves to learn new things.    


Leadership Transformation Phrases 
Home Responsibilities: 

Kid’s Responsibility:  Transformational words:  
Chores.  You have a leader – leaders contribute, even when they don’t feel like it.  
More chores.  You are a leader – leaders learn to live a disciplined life where they take care of their responsibilities.  
Even more chores.  You are a leader – leaders do a good job.  
Helping siblings.  You are a leader – helping your siblings will grow your leadership skills.  

 

Leadership Transformation Phrases Activities: 

Kid’s Responsibility:    Transformational words: 
Getting Involved in activities.  You are a leader – leaders learn about themselves by finding out what they are good at and how they can share their gifts in this world.  
Going to practice, even when you don’t feel like it.   You are a leader – leaders follow through with commitments.  
Trying out for a team/auditioning for a show.   You are a leader – leaders step out, even if they are afraid to fail. You will grow from this experience no matter what the outcome. 

raising leaders

Moms, I created a printable with 17 Transformational Phrases that will you raise your kids to be leaders. Put it on your fridge or tuck it into your journal to refer back to later.

Sign up here and I will email you instant access to the freebie library. Download this helpful list and more.  

Yes, I still hear sometimes: “But, maaaawwwwm, I cleaned my room good enough…why does it matter if it’s not perfect?”

But when I answer my son with, “Hey – you’re a leader, right? You know when your room looks clean. Do you really want me to come up there and boss you around? Do leaders need bossy moms?” his shoulders straighten a bit. He doesn’t necessarily go back to the task with enthusiastic vigor, but I’ve planted a seed as to why his actions now matter. And I’ve given him an image of the leader he might someday be.  

Moms, we can’t control our kids’ outcomes – but we can plant seeds. So, let’s focus on what we can do. And if it doesn’t work…well, we’re all pretty amazing at the stone-cold-crazy-eyed-you-better-do-what-I-say-or-else stare…

We don’t only want to be raising a leader, we want to build character in our kids.

More than my kids being super successful or achieving accolades, I want my kids to be people of character – kind, loving, loyal, compassionate, empathetic, faith-filled, and integrity-driven.  I’m not trying to raise perfect kids (not possible!), but I do hope my kids have an internal compass that steers them to lead a life of integrity. And while they are still in my home, I’m going to try to lead them there.

I hope you both enjoy the full “raise kids of character” series and find it helpful.

Raise Kids of Character Series

FAMILY CONNECTION ACTIVITIES
A Family Connection Activity to Help You Raise Happy Kids
Raising a Leader: An Effective Tool to Help Moms Raise Leaders


INSPIRING ARTICLES
Why Your Kids’ Weaknesses are Also Strengths 

Be inspired in raising a leader and more. 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 below.
 

gifts for moms