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teen mature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So mommas, when we’re in the weeds…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

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

You are parenting tweens and teens.

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

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

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

teen mature
teen mature
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.
teen mature
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.
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.

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.

gifts for moms
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

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.

gifts for moms

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)