In the tween and teen years, good parents set the boundaries. They put their kids in the right activities. Offer to be the carpool mom. Brave awkward conversations like "the talk". But good parents like you and me have trouble with one thing. And I'm learning that "one thing" proves to be an incredibly important aspect of raising confident, healthy teens. Read this… do you agree?

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  1. Thank you for your transparency and honesty here, Amie! It’s so easy for us to all fall into this way of thinking. It’s a process of letting go and trusting, and it’s a different journey for each child, isn’t it? Praying for wisdom and guidance from God as you walk this part of your parenting road.

  2. I am currently raising a 15 year old boy, a 14 year old boy, and a 13 year old girl. I do not feel equipped to be raising my teenagers. I tend to dwell on the “what ifs” and have realized that it is dangerous for my sanity and for my children. I have to learn to let go while still holding on.

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  4. Finding this post a little late, but at a great time for me! I have a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old, and we’ve been gradually learning these lessons ourselves as parents. I love the thought of approaching these transitions with positive thoughts in mind, rather than thinking of all the potential negative outcomes. So thankful for a God who guides us and promises His wisdom for each stage of our parenting!

  5. Not directed at the author or anything… up the first thing that grabbed my attention (because I see it in real life with many “good” parents) is the controlling mindset. I see so many parents who say “no” over little things all.the.time-like the food choices, the clothes, etc- and they are so used to taking away these little freeedoms that once the kids are grown the kids go too far because they essentially never had a childhood. I know that may be taking it out of context but I’ve seen it first hand with parents that now have grown kids who are making bad choices and the parents keep talking about how stressful it is because they don’t have control like when they are little.

    My kids are still young (7, 5, and 2) and I’ve always parented a lot differently than the type I mentioned. While I do have limits, my kids have a lot more freedom then most their age. Bed time is negotiable, meals can consist of whatever I keep in the house, etc. I limit what can be available (that we own) but they pick a lot of the “what’s” and “when’s”. We are very att at home,ent parenting and unschooly if you’ve heard of the terms. Sometimes they make bad choices and I try to guide them before, during, and after. But I’ve already realized I can’t take their God given free will away. I think some parents rely too heavily on controlling actions and consequences to feel secure, instead of focusing on relationship and guidance. And it can lead to a lot of these problems.

    If you look at kids these days, most of their days are controlled. They practically have no childhood anymore with the majority of their day scheduled and laid out for them. We need to make efforts in going against the grain in our society to bring back our kids childhoods so they aren’t trying to live it up as young adults to make up for lost time. We need to focus more are being with our kids more than their peers. Because when they don’t spend enough time with us, they will attatch to peers instead and give in to peer pressure. Most families are rushed for school and work in the morning, separated during the day, rushed in the evening for chores, food, homework, extra curricular activities, then rushed off to bed to start it all over.

    I’ve made the conscious decision to simplify our life as much as possible so we can just LIVE and BE. We have freedom and make choices each day, so it’s easy as they grow. For example, I know moms who cry when their kids start doing things that one or the other isn’t ready for. I’ve never encountered that problem because we’ve transitioned naturally by utilizing trust and xommmunication. When our kids weaned, over into their own beds, rode their first bikes, took off around the block on their own- it was no big deal because we both knew it was time because we actually have a strong relationship.

    Other parents I know who have parented this way who have o,dear kids actually love being with their teens so it’s inspirational to me. They seem to avoid the rebellious teen/Young adult stage altogether.

  6. As a parent with a chronic illness, I miss out a lot and feel guilty. I’m trying to set boundaries with my 15 and 13 year old. I’m clueless even how to start…I’m overprotective and when I feel good, I try and make up for lost time…my husband doesn’t seem to want to be involved in boundary setting…

  7. Great post – it is hought provoking – especially ‘what if it all goes right’ it’s hard to get that balance – and hard to know exactly the right time – thank you.

  8. Hi Aimee! Thank you so much! Yes… discovering how to be a “god-led parent” is an ongoing daily walk with Him, isn’t it? Thank you for stopping by… so appreciate your ministry at Grace and Truth!

  9. A God-led parent. Yup, that’s what I am! I’ve learned that there is only so much I can do as a parent and then everything else – or most everything – is beyond my control. But not God’s control. Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth, Alicia! Always a joy!

  10. Love this post…it rings so true!
    Even after having 2 get through these years (at 29 and 27) I still struggle with letting go of my 17 and 15 year olds. Guess that’s always a process…
    So grateful that He is always the perfect parent we can run to and learn from 🙂
    Thanks for sharing this at Coffee and Conversation last week, Alicia. We’ll be featuring it at tomorrow’s party!!

  11. Hi Lisa!

    Thanks so much! I agree… I’m trying to remember my teen years more clearly so that I can help navigate my teens through these tricky years. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. This is a great post – I remember being frustrated as a teen myself that my parents were so overprotective – I was more conservative they they were and yet they still had to have that control. I’m hopeful that I can remember this when my daughter gets older! Thanks for joining us at #FridayFrivolity!

  13. Hi Elizabeth! Oh man… letting go is so hard!!! Agreed! But I love what you said: “Don’t we work so hard to raise them well so they WILL go out in to the world and be great people?” Well put! Thank you so much for sharing here!

  14. I love all that you’ve written here. So much great wisdom… thank you for encouraging me!! And, yes, I love how the next years CAN be a “wonderful payoff for all that we’ve done so far.” We don’t have to dread these years! Blessings to you!

  15. Catherine, thank you for sharing your story. It’s been so encouraging for me to read all the feedback on this post because I hear how there are so many other parents who feel the same way. And yes, how awesome that your 19-year-old is willing to live at home during this time (you are obviously doing something right)! Love what you said here: “Life goes in phases, and we have to move through each phase.” Thank you for your insights!

  16. Hi Alecia
    Well thought out post…as a parent of a 19 yr old and a 14 yr old….yes, I’m in the middle of it. Granting the freedoms as they get older can be scary. I try to remember that we are raising them to be independent. Teaching them how to be grown up.
    Last year my 19yr old decided to live at home while he goes to university instead of the dorms. This lets me know that he has enough freedom here at home. Life goes in phases, and we have to move through each phase. Trying to hold on to the previous phase simply won’t work.
    Thanks for this insightful article.

  17. You are right on track and learned this lesson sooner than I did. My girls will be 18 & 21 at the end of the year and learning to take risks is so important to being a successful well rounded adult. The challenges of first jobs and college in the real world require it. Supervision is important, but arming your children with the word of God and praying together goes a long way. Communication without judgement is crucial as they become adults. My girls are both Seniors in College and High school and all of our lives are changing as I complete 16 years of Homeschooling. My best to you, the next years are a wonderful payoff for all that you have done so far.

  18. I have a soon to be 9 year old a 10 year old and a 12 year old so we’re getting into this territory and it’s so HARD! But I find I have to bite back my instinct to say no, take a deep breath and say yes, we can try that and see how it works out. It’s scary but I have to have faith that I’ve raised my kids right and together we can figure out what they are capable of.

  19. You are SO right! I have the same struggle as well. My oldest is 18 and leaves tomorrow to study abroad for 9 months. I’m trying to figure out a way to not let him go!! But isn’t that the whole point? Don’t we work so hard to raise them well so they WILL go out into the world and be great people? Still, it’s hard and it hurts our momma hearts. The worst part is knowing I have to do this letting go thing 7 more times! (Yep, I got 8 kids!)

  20. Brandi,

    Oh yes… how the teens years drain emotionally. I too have boys that are close together in age and are basically getting their freedoms at around the same time so that does help (and make it more complicated too sometimes!). But I feel you about my daughter… she’s going to be experiencing it by herself, although she (like your daughter) has older brothers that she’s watched go through a lot of it.

    Blessings to you too on this journey! We CAN get through it with God’s direction and wisdom! Lots of prayer!

  21. Hi Carlie!

    Thank you! I appreciate your feedback. It’s been so good to hear about all the other parents going through the same thing–wanting to protect our kids, but also knowing that GREAT things can come when we (in wisdom) open up those boundaries. Bless you as you seek Him in your parenting!

  22. ‘From a good parent to a God-led parent.’ Yes, that’s what I want to be. As a parent of a tween and a teen, I’m finding dependence on God to be the only way. Thanks for your encouraging post and your reminder to trust God’s plans for our kids.

  23. Wow. I’ve been going through this phase for a few years now, and it is SO hard!!! My struggle is the exact same – knowing when to let go and when to pull back. When to give freedom and when to set boundaries. Toddler years drain physically, but teen years drain emotionally!!!

    My older 2 are both boys (now 17 and 14), so they’ve had each other to go places with and kind keep each other accountable, but, oh my, my 6th grade daughter wanted to start going to youth group at our new church a few weeks ago, and my stomach felt all flip-floppy! Thank goodness we found a friend to go along, too. 🙂

    Thanks for writing this post. Helps to know that I’m not alone. And, yes, prayer. Lots of prayer. Blessings on your mom-of-teens journey.

  24. Oh yes, agreed 100%, Laurie! We can’t expect to do any of this perfectly. But He is there ALWAYS, giving us the must-needed guidance to walk this tricky-but-rewarding path. We can do it through His wisdom and strength!

  25. Kimberly! Thank you so much for your well-written and encouraging words. I am so glad that what I wrote brought new hope and advice in parenting your precious teen! I feel all that you’re saying because I too am in the thick of this crazy, “wild-west” journey. Thankfully, we have God’s help to navigate us through these waters. My husband and I are clinging to him more than ever before! I wrote more about it here on the Facebook page too: I’d love to continue the conversation with you there! Blessings to you today as you trust Him more and more through this process!

  26. Thank you for this beautifully written and inspirational piece of work! Parents need to know that our new friends and confidants may no longer be parents at school, relatives, long-time friends…but that we can find some solace in the camaraderie that social media is providing us.

    I needed to read this, and just at this moment exactly. I couldn’t have called anyone I know that could have articulated my feelings like you just did.

    Parenting teens and tweens in this fast-changing environment is a little like the wild west! I needed to hear that other “good” parents are out there, trying to navigate through these choppy waters with a little patience, guidance from God, trust in our kids and having the courage to “just say no” to the darn “what-ifs”!

  27. The tween, teen, and young adult years of parenting are, by far, the hardest ones we’ve walked with our four children. We’re not done yet, not by a long stretch. It’s a bit disheartening to look back and see the errors we made in our parenting. Rather than be down about those, we are trying to learn from our mistakes.
    Reaching out to others is hard, for we all want to be good parents. It’s hard to admit that you’ve erred. It’s hard to see the results of those errors in your children.
    Parenting is tough stuff. It’s refining stuff. It’s “I MUST have Jesus stuff.”

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