When You Can’t Change Your Teens, Focus on Wise Parenting

(Inside: You can’t change your teens, but you do still have a huge positive influence on your kids. And they need you. So, try this…)

You can’t change your teens.

They are their own people.
You can’t change that your big kids want to spend excessive time in their rooms, the shut door reminding you they’re growing up too fast. But you can invite them to go shopping, or watch the summer fireworks show, or find the best local place for Pad Thai Chicken.

You can’t change that your teens seem to always be staring at their phones. But you can teach them what to do with their time instead: remind them of the library, help them apply for a job, put them in charge of their own lives (laundry, chores), encourage their hobbies, share the live music at the park schedule, or give them cash to meet friends for burgers.

You can’t change your kids’ emotions. But you can figure out what your own emotional triggers are and what you need to do to take care of yourself, so you are ready to parent them through it.
You can’t change that your teen seems overwhelmed with school. But you can set up daily times where you sit at the table together, a bag of pretzels between you, them on their school iPad and you on your work computer, cranking through your to-do lists.
You can’t change that your teen is withdrawn. But you can encourage them to find purpose. Brainstorm together: where’s someplace they’d enjoy volunteering, what school club might be interesting, is there someone they know who needs a friend that they can help fill that gap, or is there a church youth group where adults help facilitate kids connecting they might like?

You can’t change that your teens display wavering self-belief. But you can speak life into them: point out what they’re good at, remind them of their strong personality traits, and help them find situations where their gifts shine. Show them how the world needs them, exactly as they are

You can’t change that your teens make poor choices. But you can create one-on-one time with them: head to a national park, go see a movie, toss a frisbee at a park, or find a food truck with walking tacos. Create moments of connection that will naturally promote deeper conversation.
You can’t change the crazy world your kids live in. But you can create a stable home environment: routines reduce conflict, firm boundaries make kids feel safe, healthy I-believe-in-you expectations grow confidence, your presence comforts, meals refuel, and the consistency tethers them. Be your kids’ rock.

You can’t change your teens’ hurtful words. But you can remember this season is a roller coaster ride and that perfect families don’t exist. The experience will be up, down, and everything in between on repeat: you’re not doing anything wrong. Keep things in perspective, pursue wisdom, embrace grace, practice self-kindness, and carry on.

You can’t change your teens, but you can reflect, pray, and search for wisdom about how you can influence their environment to help them better thrive.
You can’t change your teens.
But you can change you.
change your teens

Are you butting heads with your teen about getting their stuff done? Me too. Read more about my journey and how my big kid and I found a new way to communicate here.

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change your teens