Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Raising Teens...and a Comment About Day 13

I recently read a post on one of the blogs I enjoy very much, all about her methods of training up her small children, so that by the time they are teens, they were pretty much the people they were going to be forever. I think I would have to agree with some of what she said. Having raised two teens so far, and working on 1.5 more, currently, with lots of littles coming up, I have a few opinions on the matter. I think having one foot in the homeschool world, and one foot out, has given me a unique perspective. Some homeschooling families (we are one, so don't take it the way it sounds, please!), make such strict rules for their kids, especially the teenagers.(And yes, I know some families have no rules or raising up at all!) I just tend to think that being overly harsh, with many rules and restrictions isn't going to help your case as a parent. If you know you raised a good kid - then trust that you raised a good kid, i.e., the following:

1. I think forming them early is important. Manners mean more than just saying please and thank you. They teach respect for self and others. If you teach them manners and self control when they are young, they don't have to learn it when they are teenagers.
2. I truly think that the beginnings of respect for self and others stems from a love of the Lord. Teaching children about God's love for us gives them a sense of intrinsic self worth. It also teaches them that God loves all of His children. Now, I know that children will be children, and therefore make mistakes, but when a child knows and understands that we are here to know, love and serve God in this world, so that we can be with Him in the next, it will impact many of their choices, and certainly the important ones.
3. If you take the time to get to know your kids, and keep knowing them as they mature, then you will be able to guess what kind of choices they will make. My Meg, my 20 year old, is our wild child. While that may scare some parents, it has never really scared me. I know where she draws the line between wild child and just plain sinful and disrespectful. I am comfortable, if not always entirely happy, with where she draws her line. She has a firm foundation in her faith, and she will stand by it, and always base her decisions, most especially the bigger, more important decisions; on it. I think, knowing that, it is easy to know what choices she will make in most situations. I know I can trust her to make good decisions. Our other 20 year old, Liz is somewhat less the wild child, and I think her foundation in faith is even deeper than Meg's. I trust that she knows her heart and mind, and bases all decisions on the teachings of faith. I know that because I know she has been well formed in faith, by her own choosing.
4.It's our job as parents to make sure our kids have the tools to navigate the world, relationships, choices about life, love, schooling, careers, everything. If we have raised them well, taught them the God loves them, and that we love and value them, and gotten to know their hearts and minds, then it is time to trust them. Let them make their own choices. Of course, some of them will be the wrong choice, but that's how everyone learns. But, hard as we may try, we can't hang on to them forever.
5. Keep talking to your teens. Know them well, and make sure they know you have expectations of them, but don't rule them. If you lord over them, make too many choices for them, they will fight you. Instead, keep conversations going, but let them have some room to move.

So, teach your babies, mold your toddlers, shape your children and tweens. And then, when they become old enough to fly the coop once in a while  - let them. Guide them, but let them go! They will make the right choices because you taught them how. I think this was why our oldest girls really never had too many rules. They never needed them. They just didn't need them. They were always home on time, they never hung out with the "wrong crowd" unless they were trying to help or convert them in some way. They never abused our trust in them. When it came time for the big dances and things, they actually had to ask us when we wanted them home. It never occurred to us to give them a curfew - we ALWAYS knew where they were, and who they were with, but we never had to ask.  They had such good, good girls as friends.
Maybe we've gotten lucky with some really good kids, and I'm not going to say that a couple of the ones coming up aren't gonna give us a run for our money, but we're doing okay so far. I am really proud of the ones who've flown the coop so far, and the next one, my Kenzie, she's a doozy. This kid is a great kid. When it's her time to fly, I'll trust her, and know that she'll make excellent choices.

As for my Count Down - it's Day 13, and I think I was a present parent today. I played with babies, I tried not to be distracted, I got school done in a timely manner, even though my new PW book was calling my name all day! Kolbe and I read about Susan B. Anthony today. Now, she was my kind of lady. She fought for womens rights, but she never wanted women to lose our femininity. She was against abortion, and outspoken about it. She knew that motherhood was the epitome of femininity, and a woman's best chance at shaping our world. She fought for our daughters rights to vote, and to own land, but never to give up what it means to be a woman.

So my goal for Day 14? I want to expose my daughters to true femininity - grace, love of God, respect for self and others, the dignity that comes with being thought of as a "lady". My grandmother was always a lady, she carried herself well, was full of poise and dignity, and dressed to the nines, with a killer set of gams. If you throw in some of my Grandma Karcher's warmth and hugs, and ability to make great pie, I think you've found the perfect woman! I want my girls to know their great grandmothers just a bit better, so I want to tell them some stories, and hopefully, create a memory of each woman for them. My grandmother is still alive, my Nain, and my girls know her, but they don't remember her when she was a little younger. Maybe I can give them a little of her, and a little of Grandma Karcher.


  1. Just wanted to let you know that I gave you a blog award (check out my recent post) because I love your blog!

    By the way, I think Sandi (Habitat 4 Insanity) has some great points on raising teens -- and you add to those beautifully in this post!

  2. Wow! Thank you so much, Katrina, that really means a lot to me! Blessings, Megan

  3. Beautiful Blog! It inspires me to be a better mom for my two girls. It's definitely not an easy task, especially when you think of raising teens but you make parenting sound so enjoying and well worth all the hardships. I hope I get to have the positivity that you possess.
    I'll definitely follow your advices. Thank you for the share!


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