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parenting go with your gut

Parents, when you don’t know, go with your gut…

(Inside: Parenting is hard, but go with your gut. One of the most powerful resources we have is that pressing on our heart that knows the next step.)

In parenting, go with your gut

I think we know what we’re doing more than we give ourselves credit for.
 
I know, it’s hard to discern when to push and pull back – that’s the big question in parenting.
 
But our insides often know which direction our family needs to go…
 

The waitress clicked the fresh parmesan cheese over the mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, and black olives.

I sunk my teeth in garlic bread smothered with butter. My son looked up from his menu as he finished ordering. Because the fridge had exhaled its last cold breath, and the repairman couldn’t come until Monday, my family was tucked into a booth at Olive Garden.
 
We were discussing favorite childhood memories.
 
“I loved reading, especially the Harry Potter books,” said my high school junior.
 
“All the time playing outside with the neighborhood kids was fun,” my middle schooler answered.
 
“I like doing well in school,” my sophomore added.
 
Then, he went on, “Also, this year’s soccer season has been my favorite.”
 
That moment felt sacred, like a validation that play and unbridled joy had moved through our home weaving picturesque memories for my children.
 

But, that’s not the whole story. For each one of their favorites, there was a fight to get there.

My 17yo hated reading from kindergarten through 1st grade. It wasn’t until his teacher had a good hard talk with us about how he couldn’t read that we woke up. And working at home with him was painful: we all ended up in tears, and it had nothing to do with the green eggs and ham.
 
My three sons would always choose screens over playing outside. Despite loud objections, I would kick them out the door to find a neighborhood friend.
 

My 15yo didn’t like middle school, especially the schoolwork that he refused to complete.

We tried about twenty different angles to spark a better educational experience until we found a “different way to communicate.” A light bulb turned on and he started completing his work independently, not exactly loving it, but not despising it either.
Want to learn how my teenage son and I better learned to communicate? Read more in the description.
And my son had quit club soccer (burnt out) but made the high school team. But he tried out only after I reminded him that he’s a happier person when he’s in an activity and that he had to choose something. He went through the high school website, said “no” to 79 of the options, and landed back on soccer with a reluctant, “I guess.”
 
It’s so hard to discern when to pull back and when to push.
 
And in each of those moments, I had my doubts.
 

But my inner voice told me this: my husband and I know these boys better than anyone else. We held them in our arms when they were football size. We’ve fed them, cared for them, wiped away their tears, watched them grow, and loved them with every ounce of our being. With close observation and reflection, we’ve seen their personalities unfold and tried to stay in tune with their needs.

We also know they must have opportunities to make their own choices so they can mature. But each of those moments didn’t feel like “choice situations.” Because we could see the big picture clearer than our kids…
 
Reading would make our son’s life easier.
 
Playing outside would grow friendships.
 
Learning to get organized in school would build confidence.
 
Being involved in a cocurricular activity would bring fun.
 

Kids need their parents.

They need the adults in their lives who love them more than anyone else and will put time into reflecting on what they need to learn, how they need to grow, and what they crave. Then guide them in that direction with lots of explanations, relationship-building, grace, and care. Kids need our lived-and-learned wisdom wrapped in love and tenderness.

 

We’re not going to conquer every raising-kids moment – that’s like trying to nail jelly to a wall.

There are certainly times when I’ve stepped into my kids’ lives, and really should’ve just taken the dog on a walk. But, not in the examples my kids were telling me around the restaurant table.
 
The validation felt good. It reminded me that our inner voice very often knows the next best steps.
 
Parents, we do know what we are doing.
 
We really do.
 
So listen to your gut with confidence.

In parenting, go with your gut. These conversations and more when you 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
In parenting, go with your gut – join our community of moms learning to listen to our hearts here.

In parenting, go with your gut.
Read about these topics and more…

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”
400+ Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

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

 

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.

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. 

kindness teens

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 react.
 
And when words spew out, pelting across the room instead of controlled, thought-out responding, is quick to apologize. Who takes ownership over 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. 

kind family
kindness at home
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.
family at dinner table

The Lasting Power of a Simple Meal: It’s Not Just Your Family at the Dinner Table, It’s More

(Inside: Moms, we think it’s just our family at the dinner table, another meal, nothing special, but it’s so much more than that…)

It’s not just dinner.

Moms, we think it’s just dinner, but we forget.

It’s not just noodles, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and a side of broccoli.

Or pizza showing up at our door.

Or chicken sandwiches ordered from a booth.

It’s a place for our family to fill their empty bellies – a mood booster and an energy-giver.

It’s a place to unpack your thoughts and process your day. To be heard and to listen. And for your family to speak truth and encouragement into each other’s lives.

It’s a place to just focus on eating because everyone’s too tired to talk, but it’s your safe place to simply sit and be. The dinner table is a place to belong.

It’s a place for good conversations. And belly laughs. And heated debates. And dumb topics. And intellectual thoughts.

family at dinner table
Do you want to make your meals more interesting? Discuss these awesome conversation starters for families of teens.

At the end of a busy day, we can quickly throw together/order/pick up something to eat and not think anything more about it. But it’s not just dinner.

It’s a pause in life to soak in the people you love. To refuel your body. To show and receive emotional support. To create and deepen family connections. To nurture a sense of belonging.

Life gets busy and this certainly isn’t going to happen every single night.

But, that rhythm of continually coming back to family meals.

It’s not just dinner.

It’s life.

Want to connect more than over your family at the dinner table? Read more in the “Create Family Connections” 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
400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens
7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family (+ Prayer Journal)

INSPIRATIONAL STORIES
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

CELEBRATING HOLIDAYS
30+ Ways to Connect With Your Family Over the Holiday Season

family at dinner table

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 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. 

gifts for moms
family at dinner table
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.
conversation starters

400+ Great Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

(Inside: Do you want good conversation starters for your teens? Or great questions to ask your teens to help them open up to the family? Read on…)

Conversation Starters For Teens

Moms want to connect with their teens. We want to know what our teens love and don’t, what’s going well and isn’t, how they best feel heard and loved, and about their friendships, school, and life.

We want to know how they think.

We want to know what makes them happy.

And I could keep listing because the truth is we want to know everything about our teens – we want to know who those sweet babies that we carried and nurtured and rocked are growing up to be.

Teens Want To Be Known

Similarly, teens want to be heard. They want to be seen, loved, and wanted by their parents. Even when they are at their worst, they still want their parents to pursue them, over and over telling (and showing) them they are worthy and loved.

Connecting With Our Teens Can Be Hard

However, life isn’t flawless. Teens can hold it together all day and fall apart when they come home, their moodiness tearing through the house with unbridled force. Or they find themselves lost in stress, or emotions or impulsiveness or self-sabotaging or apathy. But, as moms, we don’t buy any I-don’t-need-you signs. Not even one pennyworth – our teens long to connect with their families.

A Simple Way To Connect That Your Teen Will Like


As my sons grew older, I wanted to add tools to my box of ways to connect with them. In my high school classroom (I’ve taught for 20+ years), I’ve noticed that when I put students in small groups and had them answer anywhere from dumb to ridiculous to basic to thought-provoking questions, kids came alive. They loved sharing their thoughts and flourished in the framework of the presented questions. So, I took this idea home and found my quiet sons opening up with these conversation starters – be still, my heart.

Asking The Right Questions Is Key To Teens Opening-Up: Conversation Starters for Families of Teens

But not everyone feels like opening up at all times. Some teens love to jump into all the talking, while others need to warm up. So, these conversation starters include a variety of questions like…

  • Expected get-to-know-you questions: If you could interview someone who is famous, who would that be?
  • Yes-or-no-quick questions: Is chili a type of soup – yes or no?
  • Get-to-know-their-world questions: What’s the best YouTube or TikTok video you’ve watched lately?
  • Get-to-to-know-their-friends questions: If you were planning a cross-country road trip from Florida to Washington State, which three people would you hope would go with you? Tell me why you chose each person.
  • Reflective questions: You come home super stressed, go into your room and lie down on your bed. You flip on a song – which song is it?
  • Insightful questions: If you were told you had to switch friend groups, which peers at school would you like to get to know more?
  • Faith questions: What do you understand about the trinity?
  • Plus, questions about quotes,  scripture verses, deep topics, tricky subjects and more…

400+ Conversation Starters for Teens Are Broken Into Three Categories

Then these questions are broken into three categories, depending on how deep you want to go with the people involved in the discussion:

  • 200+ Fun Get-to-Know-You Questions: Great for enjoyable conversations between friends, among extended family, or for low-stress evenings.
  • 100+ Dive-Deeper Questions: Designed for close family who wants to really get to know each other. There are hard subjects and personal topics covered in these conversations starters.
  • 100+ Faith-Filled Questions: These questions were created to help everyone reflect on their faith journeys and connect over deep discussions.

How To Use The Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens Resource

I’ve found the most success with these questions when I’ve made “a thing” of it. Meaning, just like when we’ve declared family movie night, we plan a family discussion time where everyone is prepared to talk. Here are some ideas of what this could look like:

  • Dinner discussion: We’ve cut up the questions and put them in a gallon-size ziplock bag. Then maybe every Tuesday is “talk night.” Each family member draws one question to ask the group and discuss.
  • Evening Activity: Instead of playing cards or watching a movie, grab some snacks and get comfortable and everyone picks a number. Those are the questions that you ask each other.
  • Car rides: When you’re riding to church or the store or a game together, maybe you pass the time with a question.
  • And more: There is no right or wrong way to implement the question asking – the purpose is to get to know each other. If teens are asked, they usually have good ideas of how to roll out fun and some would like to lead when/how the questions are asked.

The Goal Is To Connect Over These Conversations For Families Of Teens

Remember, the goal of the conversations is for those involved in the discussion to connect. So even if it’s not all going perfectly, if everyone is talking and laughing and getting to know each other – we’ve nailed it.

Here are 12 Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens for your family to try…

1. What’s that one funny thing that pops into your head when you’re supposed to be serious (at church, in class, at a funeral) that will make you laugh every time?

2. Is chili considered a soup? Yes or No. Is lasagna a casserole? Yes or No.

3. Would you rather be someone who makes a ton of money but isn’t sure if you made a positive
impact on the world or someone who made very little financially but touched many people’s lives?

4. When you’re having a terrible day, what do you do to calm yourself down and shake the stress?

5. If you just got elected governor of your state and you could make one rule that the whole state had to follow, what rule would it be?

6. If you were taking a road trip from Florida to Washington state, which three non-family members would your take with you?

7. What’s a bad habit you wish you could break? Or which bad habit do you have, but you don’t care one bit about giving it up?

8. What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?

9. What’s the class at school that has the best environment? What’s the subject you find the most interesting? Which class do you have the most friends in?

10. What age do you think is the best to be? Why?

11. What is your favorite app on your phone? What’s one app that you really should give up?

12. Would you rather own your own business with some risk but more earning potential or would you rather work for someone else and have a stable income that covers your expenses but not much more?

If you liked those questions, grab the full list of 400+ The Conversation Starters For Families Of Teens…

Click the below link to grab the conversation starters for families of teens. As a bonus, I’ll add you to my monthly(ish) parenting tweens and teens inspirational email list. The monthly emails are free, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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 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.

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

best family devotionals

7+ Fantastic Devotionals that Help Create Forever Family Connections

(Inside: Best family devotionals that will help your loved ones grow in faith and connect as a family. Ideas that your family will love.)

You know you’ve dreamed this too…ever since the day we decided we wanted to have children, we all looked forward to it…

Our. Awesome. Parenting. Skills.

However, once that sweet baby was placed in our arms we melted apart like putty, then molded back into a completely different shape, forever changed. Starting our parenting journey unlocks a scary realization:  our best parenting days are behind us – before we had kids. That’s when we had all the parenting advice for everyone else because easy-peezy-common-sense-sherlock. 

But we forge ahead because we love these humans so there is no other direction. 

 

best family devotionals
Join our community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

A top parenting desire: family devotionals

One of the things, I’ve always aspired to do is hold epic family devotionals. Oh, I had visions: loved ones gathered ’round. All ears open. Hearts ready. Sunshine spotlighting down from the heavens. And the Holy Spirit. 

But, I’ve found this hard to do. Truthfully. I know that you make time for what’s important to you and blah, blah, blah… And…I even have a degree in education. Eh-hem. A master’s degree. Just busyness mixed with life has left me grasping for consistency and depth in this area.

Until a couple of years ago.

Something clicked. I don’t even know what, for sure. We’re still crazy busy, but we manage to come together about three nights a week to check in. And I mean really check in. Like ask questions about school, our mental state, and then read something that helps deepen our faith.

This is working better now, partly because my kids are older. But also, we’ve found some intriguing books and Bible studies that promote conversation and growth. I’m excited to share with you devotions that are a great fit for families of tweens and teens. 

Forget perfection

Before I go on, I must say this because it’s beating so loudly in my heart I won’t be able to hit publish without getting it out: you are still a good mom if you don’t ever do one family devotional. The end. 

There isn’t a perfect formula and one path only to teach your kids faith. 

As moms, we teach our kids the things that pulse in our inner being, and for me, that’s a deep longing to connect over traditional family devotionals. I am moved through Bible study, so wanted to share this method of deepening faith with my sons. But also, I hope this designated family time gives my kids a safe place to share what’s bothering them, me a chance to better get to know my kids, and helps us all create a strong intertwining family bond. 

Some days our family time is great and sometimes everyone’s cranky. Whatever. As a mom, I’m better learning to throw grace-on-ourselves-and-loved-ones around like confetti, not over-analyze and simply move forward. 

Best Family Devotionals

*All of the below links are my amazon affiliate links, meaning, I get a small commition at no extra cost to you.* 

100 Days to Brave (Annie F. Downs)

Best. Devotional. Ever.

We read one page a day. Annie gives a verse, a short story, and a takeaway. This has opened up deep conversations in our family around courage, school, friends and life. I highly recommend it. It is perfect for when life is crazy busy. It’s short, inspirational and each day ends with a dicussion question for families to connect over.

Top 20 Teens: Discovering the Best-Kept Thinking, Learning & Communicating Secrets of Successful Teenagers (Bernabei, Cody, Cole, Cole, Sweeney)

I did the Top 20 training as continuing education through the high school where I teach. As I listened, I felt intrinsically motivated to aim high, work hard, embrace kindness and be a better person. I love how this book communicates to young people. It’s fantastic. No, it’s not the Bible, but much of the principles are what they teach in Sunday school, so we loved it. We read one short chapter at a time and discussed questions listed at the end.

Gideon – Your Weakness, God’s Strength (Priscilla Shirer)

Priscilla’s studies are always rich in learning about scripture, history, and application. I loved this study. It’s about turning weakness into strength and watching God move through the hard parts of your lives. I did this by myself after a particularly difficult season – it’s in the que to do again with my family. 

Book of Matthew – The Words and Stories of Jesus

We read through the stories and words of Jesus in Matthew. It’s so simple, yet promotes good conversation. I wrote out a schedule and it’s in the Empowered Moms and Kids Freebie library. Click on the link below to get instant access. 

Yes, I want the Bible Reading Plan!

Seamless: Understanding the Bible as One Complete Story (Angie Smith)

A friend recommended this to me. It gives an overview of the Bible with life applications. It’s more intense and time-consuming than some of the devotions listed above, but I liked doing this study with my kids. Plus, we did this during the summer when we had more time. It gave a solid overview of the Bible and our salvation story through Christ. 

There is also a teen edition, though my friend has done them both and doesn’t think there is a huge difference. That’s why we did the adult version as a family.

Known By His Names: A 365-Day Journey From The Beginning to The Amen (Elizabeth Spencer)

If you want a short daily devotion that helps your family really see and feel how much God loves them, I highly recommend Known By His Names by Elizabeth Spencer. It is rich in beautiful scripture and deep insight. I read it through like a book instead of one page a day. 

It’s one that you could linger and discuss over at length or is also great for a quick devotional before everyone hurriedly scatters in different directions. Regardless, it’s worth your time. What a beautiful, beautiful book that you can feel the Holy Spirit move through.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (Sarah Young)

This is another gorgeous devotional that helps us all hear God talk daily to our hearts. It opens our eyes to see God work all around us, moving, shaping with purpose, nourishing, comforting, and giving us peace. 

Our family is currently working through this devotional. I like that there are 2-3 scripture references for my kids to look up. I love to see my kids’ hands in the Bible. It’s great for the busy season, and if we miss a day, we just skip it and find the current date in the book. Each day is amazing – you can’t go wrong with Jesus Calling. 

Bonus: Supplement Your Devotional with a Prayer Journal

I created a Prayer Journal for families raising tweens and teens. Included in the digital download:

  • 7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family Inspirational Essay
  • How to use the prayer journal page.
  • 30 days of journal pages: Day 1 (and all the odd days following) starts with a verse that focuses on God’s love for your family. Day 2 (and all the even days following) features a verse that focuses on your family’s love of God. These beautiful pages hold places to write your family’s reflections on what they’re grateful for and their prayer requests. 

    Your family will grow to love this intentional practice of walking with Jesus and learning to communicate and love each other better. Plus, this is a lovely keepsake your momma’s heart will cherish. 

Your turn

What Bible studies are your family loving? Or how do you grow faith and/or create family connect that isn’t in a study or book? I’d love to know. Email me or share in the comments. 

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

 

 

best family devotionals
Join our community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.

Join this community of moms of older 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 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.

coronavirus kids

The Pandemic is Shaping Kids in These 6 Powerful Ways

(Inside: The coronavirus and kids – this is what your children are learning. I hope this pandemic shapes my kids in these six powerful ways.)

I saw a meme that said something like this: This coronavirus pandemic is going to be our kids’ we-walked-uphill-both-ways-during-rain-to-school story they tell their kids.

I disagree.

I think this moment is bigger than that.

Never before have historic events unfolded in this way – we are living what will be discussed in future history classes.

A Century of Experience

“How are you?” I asked my 98.5yo grandma. Her voice came through my phone, “Not only are visitors not allowed at our assisted living facility but we are all quarantined in our room. The staff told me a lot of people are feeling depressed.”

A pregnant pause filled the airwaves.

But my grandma continued, “However…I’m watching on the news how everyone is working so well together to combat this virus…”

She went on to highlight the silver linings of this pandemic: companies switching gears to make medical supplies, everyday heroes working overtime (grocery stores, truck drivers), medical staff being brilliant, community leaders making smart decisions…

“Think of how this is making us stronger,” she mused.

I love my grandma’s ability to focus on what’s going right. I love her grit, energy and growth mindset.

My grandma is one of the most amazing people I know. She rode horseback to a one-room school in rural North Dakota. (I’ll see your walk-both-ways-uphill and raise you a horse.) She married my grandfather and then said pretty much immediately goodbye as he left for WWII. She’s started a business, raised three kids, and nursed my ill grandfather until he passed away leaving her widowed at a relatively young age. My grandma’s seen beauty rise from ashes over and over again in her almost-a-century-long life.

 

Six powerful ways our kids are being shaped by the coronavirus

“Yes, this is making us stronger” is what I thought about long after we hung up. As these safer-at-home days flip past, I’m noticing the good ways in which this pandemic is transforming us all. I’m specifically noticing these six powerful ways that it’s shaping my kids and I hope these lessons stick:

kids and coronavirus
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Joy is found in the simple

My sons jumped on the tramp while I shot pictures. Big laughs. Hearts full. Yes, Disney and sandy beaches are special, but a secret to an amazing life is to notice the sunshine, the trees, and each other. We’ve had so many moments like this one. I hope my kids always pause to embrace life’s simple, soul-filling joys.

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will also Build Character

Everyone has a civic duty to their community

The only way for us to be victorious in this experience is to work together. Everyone needs to social distance. The essential workers need to go to work; quality daycare needs to be provided. The WWII generation acutely understood civic duty, and now our kids are experiencing that they too are important members of society.

Be kind to family

We’re stuck together for weeks on end, so my family is responsible for creating the atmosphere they want to live in. Give grace, speak kindly, and – if you love your mom at all – pick up after yourself. I hope this quarantine is teaching my kids to love their family well.

Eat yo’ crust

My son said to me, “I’m still hungry.” I looked at the two giant pieces of pizza crust and said, “Finish your food.” I wasn’t going to the store anytime soon and he knew it. I hope my kids are learning to see food as a little more sacred and eat their crusts.

Related article: Best Home Exercises for QuaranTEENS and TWEENS

When in doubt, pray

I’ve lost sleep over this thought: how can a virus bring our entire world to its knees? I don’t know what else to do, so I pray. Often. And through it I feel God nurture me, comfort me, and change my perspective. I hope my kids learn that when in doubt, look up – God will find them.

To be thankful

But most of all, when this veil is lifted, I hope my kids learn to not take things for granted. They GET to spend their days at awesome schools. They GET to gather in church with our faith family. They GET to play sports with parents and grandparents cheering them all. I hope my kids walk away from this experience with more gratitude pulsing through their hearts.

Through this experience, I hope my kids are shaped into stronger, wiser people. I hope they become a little more like their beloved and amazing great-grandma.

Join this community of moms of older 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 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

Want more parenting stories and resources?

AWESOME BOOKLISTS
Book Ideas for High School Teenagers

Book Ideas for Middle School Tweens

Inspirational Books Ideas for Moms

GIFT IDEAS
Gift ideas for Moms of Tweens and Teens (Great for Mother’s Day!)

Gift Ideas for Teenage Boys

Gift Ideas for Teenage Girls

SCHOOL
Teen, These Big Reasons are Why You’ll Like Trying Hard in School (And, no, it’s not about grades.)

FAMILY CONNECTION IDEAS
Connect as a Family Over These Conversation Starters

GROW TOGETHER IN FAITH
7 Powerful Reasons to Pray as a Family

kids and coronavirus
Photo by Yanapi Senaud on Unsplash
best podcasts for teenage boys

15+ Best Podcasts to Inspire and Motivate Our Teen Boys

(Inside: Best podcasts for teenage boys. Inspire and motivate our teen boys with these awesome podcasts.)

I stepped out of my car and visually took in his house.

Wow. This is more than I could ever afford.

I knew this man (a friend of a friend) had barely graduated from high school. He certainly didn’t have a 4-year degree. Or a 2-year degree. Or maybe not even a certificate of anything. I was there to tutor his high school son in math. As I entered his home, I was equally impressed with the beauty and show of wealth.

Week after week, I came into this family’s home and helped the son get his grade up. Finally, I couldn’t even stand it anymore. I ask the dad, “Tell me your journey to success.”

And the door was open…

He explained that he was working, not making the money he needed, depressed, and overwhelmed with his lack of knowing what he wanted to do with his life. So, he started listening to motivational podcasts. (Back when they were cassette tapes.) He listened over and over to inspirational words until he believed he could achieve his dreams, which was to start his own business…

And that’s what kicked off his drive to build his empire: encouraging words.

Inspirational and Motivational Men for Our Boys to Look Up To

I understand his story. Podcasts to me are life-changing. I listen to them while I walk/jog. I listen to them on my way to work. I soak them in as I create images for this blog. The positive messages they convey are inspiring. 

Except, there seems to be an amazing amount of women cheering each other on, but I’ve had more trouble finding male influences that speak to the soul of a young man the same way my women podcasters uniquely speak to my heart. (Of course I think women’s voices are vital in raising our sons, but it was bubbling from inside of me to find strong, motivational men of integrity for my tween/teenage sons to learn from.) So, I asked my students, friends, The Google and listened to a bazillion podcasts…

I wasn’t disappointed – I found some great podcasts and I’m sharing them with you…  (As always, I don’t agree with everything everyone says. And not every podcast is right for every listener. But this is a great place to start when you’re trying to find that motivational person who will inspire your family.)

 

Related article: Frustrated Mom – Your Teen Will Find Success

Photo by Reynier Carl on Unsplash

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Inspiration to Grow into Awesome Human Beings

Eric Thomas, The Secret to Success Podcast

A student recommended this Eric Thomas’ motivational podcast. I’ve seen such growth and maturity in my student over the years, I had to take a listen and it’s good!

Listen to the podcast here: The Secret to Success Podcast

Tim Williams, Inspirational Speaker

Tim started a Thrivehood podcast specifically to mentor and inspire young men through the teen years.  With wisdome and humor, he talks about a varietly of topics that help teens thrive through the growth and maturity process. 

Check out the podcast here: Thrivehood Podcast

Miles Adcox, Inspirational Speaker

Because this post is about finding strong men of integrity for our boys to learn from, I’m only going to focus on Miles. (Ruthie, you’re awesome though!) Miles Adcox is the “owner and CEO of Onsite, an internationally acclaimed emotional health retreat center that delivers life-changing personal growth workshops, inspiring content, leadership retreats, and emotional health intensives.” Miles hosts a podcast called Unspoken with Ruthie Lindsey. They have meaningful conversations with their diverse guests. They have a unique way of getting people to open up and share with moves them. 

I listened to this interview with John Batiste and thought it was great. This is the type of man I want my sons to learn from. Jon Batiste work has included being the Musical Director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and Musical Director for The Atlantic. His first solo album, Hollywood Africans, was nominated for a GRAMMY.  

Find Miles at his podcast here: Unspoken

Dave Hollis, Motivational Speaker

I loved his honest conversation about self-growth and stepping up to the plate with Jen Hatmaker. Listen to this podcast here. (I had my son listen to this!)

Here’s Dave’s regular podcast: Rise Together

Michael Hyatt, Expert on Leadership

Michale Hyatt specializes in motivating people to lead. No matter where our sons are in their lives, we want them to be leaders. Meaning, they lead themselves in striving for excellence, they lead in our homes by being motivated to help clean and contribute to the family, they lead in their peer circles by encouraging others to be “includers” and make good choices, and I could forever go on. Michael speaks to men with soul, passion, and faith. He’s one to listen to. 

Here’s Michael’s regular podcast: Lead to Win

Do you want to connect with your teens over great conversations? Read more here.

Alex and Brett Harris, Motivational Speakers

These twin brothers took the internet by storm as “they challenged their peers to rebel against low expectations and do hard things.” So, here’s the bummer – as engaging and inspirational as these young men are – they don’t have a podcast. (And all the moms of teens cry oceans of tears.) But they’re worth a mention because they speak specifically to motivate and inspire teens out of laziness and apathy. (It should be noted here that in all my years of teaching high school, I’ve found that all teenagers want to find their purpose and learn how to use their gifts. Every. Single. Teen.) So, I tracked down this interview to inspire teens.

Here’s the brothers’ website: The Rebelution

best podcasts for teenage boys

Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff and Friends, Personal Growth

When I started searching for podcasts for my tween/teenage sons to be inspired by, Bob Goff’s was exactly what I was looking for. His website describes his podcast best: 

“This podcast is all about guiding you to discover, declare, and take action on the big ambitions you have for your life. Each month we’ll focus on one of the foundational principles of the Dream Big Framework.

Every episode you’ll be hearing from one of Bob’s friends, who’s been learning how to chase their big ambitions, despite the bumps and turns life can throw at all of us.”

Listen to the podcast here: Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff and Friends

Dr. Phil, Psychologist/Therapist

Parents of tweens/teens fell in love with Dr. Phil’s matter-of-fact, common-sense advice through first seeing him on Oprah. But, our kids don’t know Dr. Phil. So, let me tell you, I was thrilled to see that he hosts a podcast. He’s still at it. Listening to people’s problems and with kindness but firmness, sheds practical and inspiring light onto everyone’s situations.  

Listen to the podcast here: Dr. Phil in the Blanks

Richard Nicholls – Motivate Yourself Podcast 

Richard Nicholls is a psychotherapist who does these popular 15-minute podcasts to help you get inspired and motivated. (He’s massively popular in the UK.) I liked this podcast on “How to Feel Alive.” After listening – I felt walked with a little more spring in my step.

Listen to the podcast here: Richard Nicolls – Motivate Yourself Podcast

Trent Shelton – Straight Up with Trent Shelton Podcast 

My son and I listen to this as we drive to and/or from soccer practice. He just speaks a lot of common sense with passion and conviction. I liked Episode 63: Stop Wasting Time on the 99%. Focus on the 1% who Care. He encourages people to think about the people in their lives who really matter, telling a touching and eye-opening story about the people who showed up when his mom was sick.

Listen to the podcast here: Straight Up with Trent Shelton

Photo by Joel De Vera on Unsplash

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Learning About Money

Dave Ramsey

You might be wondering why I am recommending a financial guru, but I have a high school student who loves him. There are tweens/teens out there who are super interested in money. (I have a middle-schooler at home who is planning out already how to make his fortune. I have another elementary-age son who worked really hard in his school fundraiser because he thought he got to keep the money himself. I laughed so hard when he told me this – but I also beamed at his work ethic. *Now if only he’d apply that work ethic to keeping his room clean.*) Not only does Dave know his stuff, but I’m super impressed with his character. He is a strong man for teens to learn from. 

Listen to Dave’s podcast here: The Dave Ramsey Show

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Growing Faith

Tim Mackie & Jon Collins

Tim and Jon dive deep into biblical theology in a way that is profound and thought-provoking. They capture the young minds of our worlds and help them to see Jesus all around them. Their podcasts are something else – in the very best way.

Listen to their podcast here: The Bible Project

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce spoke at our church about faith and culture and life – I just can’t really describe what an impact he had on our family. He makes you think in the best of ways, and we talked about his message for days. So, I was thrilled to see that he had a podcast. If you’re looking for a faith-based podcast geared specifically toward teens and young adults, he’s a great one to check out.

Listen to Ben and his team’s podcast here: Provoke & Inspire Pocast

Joshua Dubois

Joshua Debois gained notability as The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in President Obama’s first term. He sent President Obama daily devotions, which he later turned into a book. Joshua then started his own successful consulting company. He is an amazing voice in our world. He speaks wisely and inspirationally regarding faith, issues specifically impacting African Americans, and living life well. He doesn’t have his own podcast, but he is featured in the below podcast. Joshua is a strong, hard-working, faith-filled, ambitious man for our young men to follow. 

Best Podcasts for Teenage Boys for Creating Life-Long Learners

Robert Krulwich and Jad Abumrad. Radio Lab Podcasts (Science)

This podcast captured my attention because it’s an engaging and interesting way to get our teens thinking about science and the world around them.  The podcast moves through exploring the “big questions” in science, philosophy, and mankind with curious questions, interesting dialogue, and a hold-your-attention speed.

For example, this episode questions where animals go in the winter.  The hosts  (with an 11-year-old) visit a Bavarian farm where they “follow warblers and wildebeests around the world, and get a totally new kind of view of the pulsing flow of animals across the globe.”

Side note: Naturally in science evolution is discussed. Being a Christian who teaches math at a large public high school, I’m okay with all of the discussions. I firmly believe in creation, but bring on the other theories. Let’s talk about it all!

Listen to the podcast here: Radiolab

Chris Anderson – Ted Interview

One of my most valuable teaching strategies in trying to educate my high school students is storytelling. There’s something about the lesson you learn through a story and how it reaches deep into our hearts and finds a place to connect and stays.

The Ted Talk podcast is storytelling. Their website says, “Head of TED Chris Anderson speaks with some of the world’s most interesting people to dig into the provocative and powerful ideas of our time.”

Listen to the podcast here: TED Interview Podcasts

 

Dear Hank & John Podcast

Okay, here’s why I like these two. They talk about the things you notice in life like:

  • Why does my brain release endorphins for things that are bad for me?
  • How do you interject in conversations smoothly?
  • How do we know no two snowflakes are alike?


They discuss these thoughts in an engaging, smart, and fun manner. When I think about one of my parenting goals of creating lifelong learners and listening to men who ask smart questions –  I like the idea of my sons listening to a podcast like this. 

Listen to the Podcast here: Dear Hank & John

How to! With Charles Duhigg Podcast

I first hear Charles Duhigg talk about his podcast here and I was fascinated. He takes smart topics, odd issues, random problems – it all – and helps us all peel back the layers and wonder what is really happening. It encourages us to think analytically and wisely as we solve each other’s problems. There’s a topic that for sure will engage your teen’s brain.

Listen to the podcast here: How to! With Charles Duhigg Podcast

Related article: 146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will also Build Character

 

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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. 

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