WT 052: How Do I Parent My Growing Teenager?

From dating to college applications and prom—teenagers face an entirely different set of life decisions and situations. As moms, it's our instinct to step in and take control, but that might not always be the best way to help these teenagers turn into adults. Listen to today's full episode to hear Karen answer your questions about: How Do I Parent a Growing Teenager?

Question 1: I have enjoyed watching your videos with a great group of women! I have had a situation come up and I think back to something you said. You didn't like your daughter's boyfriend, but you didn't make her break up with him. I really don't like my daughter's boyfriend. (They are both 15). He is insecure, controlling, and pressures her into do things physically that are not appropriate. I know these things because I am able to read my daughter's text without her knowing. I'm not sure if I should confront her or keep praying and talk to her about different topics casually and hope she gets that he isn't that wonderful. Please advise.

Karen's Answers: Thank you for reaching out to me and asking me your question.  I think I would talk to your daughter straight forward about being physical with a boy at her age. I think you can do that without telling her you are reading her texts. If you do reveal that to her, you will risk losing her trust. However, if she is not honest with you, then I would consider telling her.

I would be as honest as you can.  Tell your daughter that you want more for her than what the world says is okay and that most of the times boys push young girls to do things for their own benefit and the girl walks away feeling empty and lonely.  I would tell her that you don’t want her to feel that way, and you also don’t want him to “use” her.  It’s important that you communicate to her that you love her, and want the best for her.  I would for sure continue praying for her. But, at this point, you need more than prayer, you need to have an honest mother/daughter conversation in love.

Question 2:  Karen, as the moms of girls I’m sure you can empathize with how expensive prom is. The dress, tickets, hair, nails, limo, everything. Of course, according to my daughter, all of her friends’ parents are paying for their kids. The other day she showed me one of her friend’s dresses and said “it was only 400”…. I about fainted. Spending hundreds of dollars just isn’t an option for our family. I also don’t want to get in the way of my daughter having a great experience. What should I do? What kind of boundaries should I enforce?

Karen's Answer: It is ridiculous!!! Great question because we are coming up on prom season soon. I told my girls before we went shopping what I was willing to pay, and if they wanted to pay the balance that was fine with me. Most of the time, they did. I also told them up front what I would pay for as far as nails, hair, etc. It is crazy! But, I was not going to go in debt for one night.

Plan a budget, communicate it and stick to it!

Question 3: Karen, my son is a procrastinator. Majorly. He has been his entire life. Usually I let him deal with the natural consequences, but I am struggling to do that when it comes to his college tasks. These days kids have to do so much more than just take the ACT and apply… they have to write multiple essays, get teacher recommendations, film videos, etc. I am on my son, but I know he’s not getting it done. When do I step in?

Karen's Answer: Don’t step in. I know that is SO hard to hear, but he should be able to do what college is asking he is college age. If you step in he will never learn. He may miss deadlines, and then miss going fall semester, but he has to learn and do it for himself. Please don’t do it!

Kelsey had extra auditions for theater programs, but I did not push her. One school we went to, she was not prepared, and did not take it seriously, she also did not get in. She learned her lesson and was ready for the next school. They have to learn on their own!

When you are tempted to step in, take a walk around the block. This is not on you!

Question 4: How do I help my child’s faith grow as a teen? I know these years are so important for their life-long faith journey. My daughter really doesn’t enjoy going to youth group.

Karen's Answer: This is such a hard time for a parent because we are realizing that we have zero control and it scares us to death. But, honestly all you can do is pray for you child and live your life as an example. It’s her decision. And a personal choice.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Grace Walk: What You've Always Wanted in the Christian Life by Steven McVey

The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian

Moms, we know your time is precious. Thank for spending it with us. We hope you feel encouraged,equipped and most importantly—the peace of God.