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Preparing for the (teen) Change

Updated: Jan 24, 2021

As parents of pre-teens we all hear about the challenge of raising teenagers, but I am not sure any of us fully appreciate the difference until it is actually experienced. And even when our friends who are living it try to explain, I believe there is still a general feel of "it will be different with mine."

For this next series of blogs, I am not trying to dispel the validity of the pre-teen parents perception, or reinforce the view of the older parent who lived those teen years. I am simply going to share what my wife and I experienced and how we approached what we accepted would be different from the critical shaping years.

As such, I have to start with how we prepared for this transition. We did not get clear glimpses into this change during the so called pre-teen years (11-12), but I had years of experience with teens through church and teen mentoring programs, so fortunately I was prepared for the eventuality of parenting teenagers.

For me, the beginning of the teenage years dictated a different approach in how we interacted with our girls. This included the way we talked to them, our expectations on their responses to us and how we defined success relative to their age and maturity. We expected to be more reactive to how they perceived the situation as they would have more robustly formed opinions, whether voiced or not, whether accurate or illogical, but which would need to be addressed. Additionally, we refocused our character development to self-worth, which is more centered on the opinion about yourself and the value you place on yourself.