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The teenage years are tough, I can't lie about that! One tip is to try not to give them the 3rd degree. I drove my boys crazy with all my questions. It probably did feel like an interrogation.

My other piece of advice is this...when you can't make out what your kids are saying-they ARE mumbling! Don't embarrass yourself by getting your hearing tested...yes, I did that!

My daughter is only five but I am already getting eerie sneak peeks at what kind of pouty teenager she will be... eeek!

Thanks for the Twitter love, Robin. To expand on my tweet: One of the best places to chat with your kids is driving them to and fro the numerous events they're involved in. Even after they learn to drive, look for opportunities jump in the car together. This works especially well for boys, because your "eyes forward" position is less threatening than face-to-face conversation.

Girls love all things "girly." My daughter and I made it a point to spend Friday nights in the family bathroom together. As we did our spa thing, she would vent about her week, and I would listen calmly and patiently. I always knew when she was finished when she let out a huge sigh of relief. That was my signal that it was safe to launch into a little motherly advice-giving. :~D

Thanks for asking!

I love that you're even thinking about this kind of stuff, Robin. The fact that you're thinking this far in advance just shows what a terrific mom to teenagers you will be. :)

BTW, it's been on my mind these last two weeks that we never got to get together with coffee. How about I drive to YOU soon?

My son is almost 12, so we're not quite to the teen years yet. Being consistent is key, as is keeping the lines of communication open.

my kids are still pretty little, but we are trying to set the standards for communication now. i'm not naturally an empathetic person, so i am working very hard to *listen* before i jump in with my opinions/rules/corrections. i figure if they don't feel loved and understood (and therefore safe in sharing & feeling with me) as littles, they definitely won't feel it as they get older. "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." (I John 3:18) kyrie24 at gmail dot com

My oldest just turned 13 in May, but the transition was amazing! So far so good, I told him that I understand he feels like an adult, and wants to be treated as such. But, I explained, adults treat each other a certain way, and he needed to focus on attitude and TONE. I pointed out that when I speak too harshly to his dad, or vice versa, because we've had a bad day, we APOLOGIZE. It's been easy to call him on it usually, and sometimes he has even apologized when I didn't hear a problem, but he did and wanted to fix it. Between that and a couple of talks about the Lord expecting us to be able to control our tempers and our bodies, things are going well so far!!

My oldest is 15 and communicating with him is not easy. He talks, but it's just so hard to listen. He can go on and on about subjects I care nothing about. But I'm learning to listen and take an interest in what interests him. I'm also learning how to react or not react when his behavior is less than it's best. I can keep the lines of communication open by not reacting negatively (yelling! No one else yells do they?). "A soft answer turns away wrath, but harsh words cause quarrels." Prov 15:1. So true!

I have 4 and 6 year old girls and I'm terrified of them being teenagers. I didn't even like when my 6 year old wouldn't tell me about a bad dream she had. I think it's the only thing she wouldn't willfully tell me. Even that hurt a little. I am always open to suggestions on how to deal with older children.

Taking advantage of one-on-one time while traveling in a car at night. I have had more intimate conversations with my kids under those circumstances than I can count. Facial expressions are masked. No need to look your mother in the eye while you talk about...sex, drugs, etc.

I have three daughters who are 13, 13, and 11. I am afraid I have been a lecturer and am trying to transition to dialogue. What if it is too late? They are such amazing girls. The twins are bona fide miracles. I continue to rely on the Word of God for my primary guide to parenting.

never present an Idea as the "best" or only option. present multiple ideas without bias,and trust your teen to make a good decision. the more you push an idea the more they resist it. for instance "OOh,I think you would love drama class" is harder for them to accept than "well, there's drama,woodworking,car repair, and debate available this semester, what do you want to try?"
if something is not optional don't try to trick your kid into thinking it is, by leading them to the answer you want. just state that this is an area where you still make the decisions. there may still be friction, but there won't be the loss of trust that comes from "tricking" them into "good" behavior.

I'm not a parent of teenagers yet (thankfully - I have a hard enough time with small children!), but as a former teen I have one to add: trust that your parenting has produced children with standards, even if those standards are not exactly your own. If your standard is that shorts should be x inches long, and your daughter's own personal standard is that x inches minus 1 is the max, is it really worth offending your daughter by your belief that she's too foolish to have a standard by rigidly requiring that she adhere to yours? (Obviously, there are areas where differing standards would, in fact, make a significant difference. Where they won't, give teens some wiggle room as they learn to make wise choices on their own.)

I'm not a parent of a teen yet. He's 9 1/2 so it won't be long. I have found that even from his youngest years the time in the car while driving to and from school and activities is a great time for conversation.

I just hope I can find a balance when he hits those teen years and give him enough freedom, but still guide him in the right path. It's the learning to let go thing that I think will be the hardest for me.

I have two boys that are 4 and 6yo. They are pretty good boys, but I hope that by the time they are teens we will be able to trust that they love God first and that they are sensitive to His guidance.

You sound like a great mom. No kids yet myself, but someday I'll need that advice.

I remember an older woman told me at a baby shower that God would turn my adorable baby into a teen so I wouldn't grieve when they left home...after 4 teens it held true at least half the time. Spend time doing something they enjoy. Spend time serving together. Let them overhear you praising something about them to someone else...and pray aloud for them.

My children are young but I love spending one on one time with each of them to give them the opportunity to speak without sharing the conversation with their siblings. They need to know that they can trust my husband & I to keep certain things private.

Remember what things were like when you were a teen. Things that seem very unimportant to you as an adult may mean much more to your teen than you can imagine. Try to think back, before bills, children, jobs, and such. Put yourself back in those shoes and remember that a teens priorities are much different than your own.

My oldest will be 27 next week, the middle is 25, and now my youngest is off to his first year of college (still a mom of a teen :) ) All boys!

Your post has great advice. Keeping Christ the center of your home and having a consistent (father/mother) love, open communication, and discipline are all keys to rearing good children. I recently commented on another blog about parenting that God promised if we trained up our children in the way they should go (Biblically) when they are old they will not depart from it. We weren't perfect parents, our kids aren't perfect either, but I can vouch for the fact that when you obey God's Word the end result is a "keeper."

Keep on keepin' on, ladies :)

well I have to make sure the my 13 y.o. keeps his phone charged up ! Other than that he stays pretty connected :)

ck out my blog I'm trying to build subscribers :)

jtrophy at aol dot com

My little ones aren't there yet, but I've seen this first-hand from a little sister-in-law. Take "cries for help" seriously! Acting out usually means something.

Just tweeted this, sweet Robin. This is a great post! (Count me in--twice!)

Hugs, e-Mom @ Chrysalis

By asking questions and showing that you're interested. I don't have teens yet, but every night when I put my chiildren to bed I ask "anything you want to tell me about today?" Most nights they say no, but sometimes they take me up on it. Letting kids know that we're willing to listen when they're ready to talk -- and then not forcing it, but waiting for them to take the lead -- is one way of letting them know you care and that you are there for them.

My 'kids' are 26 and 29 and so far, so good. :)
Looking back, the best thing we did as parents was to provide consistant expectations and unconditional love.

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