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.
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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.

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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
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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.

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