Parenting 101- Teenager Edition

It is a fool that says parenting gets easier as children age. I will wager it is easiest when all they do is drool on themselves and make adorable faces…there are no ugly babies. It only feels hard because it is a new responsibility added to what you already have. But hindsight is 20/20.

As the child becomes more aware of the world around him/her, physical exhaustion takes a toll on parents. Anyone that says it doesn’t has a nanny or is a terrible liar. Chase a toddler for one afternoon and you will quickly learn why naps are the best thing in the whole wide world.

As motor skills increase the child learns communication. Emotional weight plants itself on the parent’s shoulders the first time the child defiantly says NO or in anger knocks the tar out of you with a Tonka truck. Yes, one of my little angels did that. It’s only a surface wound. Much like a writer, your skin will toughen through the years. But mark my words, this is the first of a million such cuts.

If you are a genius such as myself, you will have several more bundles of drool. They smell so good and there is nothing so sweet as a baby snuggled close by with its soft skin and downy hair. Each time you look at the innocent face you are reminded that God granted you the honor of raising this life to adulthood.

Skip ahead more than 19 years and five bundles of drool have grown taller than me, smarter in many respects and for some reason…they think for themselves. This sounds wonderful, right? Oh, don’t be deceived by their good manors and very silly demeanor. These kiddos have days when I long for them to have stinky diapers or had yet learned how to roll their eyes. And I swear, there are times I regret teaching them sarcasm. What was I thinking?

Yes, yes, I know they are a blessing. Preaching to choir and all that jazz. But today, I would like to vent some frustration and maybe help a mother in need elsewhere. There are certain things you must have in your arsenal if you are going to come out on top in an epic battle against teens.


1. Know their weakness- Every child is different and it is your responsibility to find it and exploit if necessary. Find the one or you will have failed. Just the threat of it will usually stop bad behavior, but you must be willing to follow through with any threats you make. If you are not willing than you have lost the battle before it has begun. Buck up, Momma and lay down the law.


Model collection son has spent years collecting are easily burned.  This is the extreme-extreme but I will go there if I have to.

Laptop daughter waited two years for can easily be given to another.

Internet passwords are handy, but be careful if a child is tech savvy. They are smart and will know all of the usual passwords. Be original if you are driven to lock down the net.

The law says I must feed you, clothe you, and give you a place to sleep. It does not specify what or where. I have no problem dressing a daughter in a homemade dress that makes a moo-moo look stylish, beans and rice are very nutritional, and a blanket on a rug is better than most of the world has.

*Disclaimer* I’ve only had to implement a few of these over the years. A few was all it took to let the kiddos know I mean what I say.


2. Guilt- This is a sneaky but valuable tool for every parent. This is where classic stories come from. Maybe you’ve heard a few?

I was in labor for 156 hours with you and this is the thanks I get.

I walked 8 miles to school, up hill both ways.

My stomach looks like an albino tiger’s stripes because of you…Wait! That one may not be very familiar. 😉


3. Cry- Not sure how many of you have ever dealt with multiple children being snots at the same time before, but I assure you even the strongest willed parents may fold under the pressure. And don’t you dare tell me your children never, because I simply do not believe you if you do. There may be a few exceptions to the rule, but I’ve yet to meet a child that wasn’t naughty a few times. It is the nature of being a child. Shoot, it is the nature of being a human.

So when this happens and you are at your end…happens at least once a week for me…first call for backup from your spouse. If he/she is not available, there is only one thing left to do. Cry. It shouldn’t be too hard. You’ve already questioned why child abuse is against the law and wondered why you had children.

But don’t just whimper a little. Do this thing right. Make me proud. I want full body heaves and maybe put on some mascara before you let the water-works flow. You can even spout out what a horrible parent you are. Go ahead and mix the guilt with the crying. They deserve it at this point.


Parents are suppose to teach the children the world around them has consequences for all they do and say. We are to teach them to think freely, but hopefully have a firm foundation to base that thinking on. A general knowledge of good and bad never hurts, and neither does discipline done in love. Teenagers are having a hard time and need us more than they ever have in their lives to this point. They are about to make the leap into adulthood, and it would really stink if you put in all those years of TLC and hard work in, only to quit now when it gets hard. I have spent all of my adult life raising my children and am here to testify that it has not gotten easier, only different.

Some day, they will thank you. I know I thanked my Momma. Chin up.

Peace, love and God’s will.

About Diane Graham

Diane Graham lives in the mountains of eastern Oklahoma with her husband, children and many dogs. She is an avid reader and lover of all art forms that encapsulate imagination and goodness. Her debut novel I Am Ocilla was released in March 2012.

8 comments on “Parenting 101- Teenager Edition

  1. Yep, definitely passing this one on to the daughter, my friend. Tears worked best on the son… my girls were immune. They used that ruse too. However, threatening to quit taking my hormones so we could see which of us could be the REAL bitty worked wonders with the girls. 🙂 And yes, absolutely know their weaknesses. If you don’t, you’re done for. LOL Great post!

  2. Interesting. My mom never did any of that to us, and we all turned out.

    • Are you sure, Kesse? I’ve never met a single parent that hasn’t used at least one of these methods at varying degrees. I’m just curious what form of discipline you had as a teen.

  3. Hey there, my daughter sent me your link, I am Kessie’s Mom, and nope, never used a single one of your examples in child raising, Nor did I have one rebel. All six are lovely adults. The thing I would say that you left out of your list is respect. I respected my chidden, they respected me.
    I respected their father and in doing so our family was pretty easy going.
    Yes, I have home schooled them from grade school and through high school. 5 of them attended college and or graduated. I have 6 grand children with the 7th on the way. I have 4 living at home and my 16 year old is still here being taught at home.
    We have talked a lot during teen age years. Not yelled. I changed my behavior and in doing so they would make a correction if it needed. Balance.
    I have treated my children the way I would have wanted to be treated. Plain and simple.
    I never took a single thing away from them, I never threatened them.
    So there you go, from a Mom’s point of view.
    Jesus was always my example. One I tried hard to live up too and used His word and my foundation. None walked away from the faith, and my goal was that my children would rise up
    and call me blessed. My parenting style was about making adults, never raising children.
    Blessings to you,
    Kim Hollar

    • I didn’t forget respect at all. I am glad you never had to deal with any frustration of multiple children. I’m glad you never had a child disrespect or be dishonest to you. I’m glad you never had to take not one single thing away from them and they never ever fought. You are the perfect parent with the perfect children. Good for you. I find that very hard to believe but who am I to question your account of your life. I’m not.

      The rest of us are raising adults also and to insinuate that we don’t do so with respect or Jesus in mind is a bit snarky. Laying out all your children’s accomplishments is outright braggadocio. That’s okay, but please remember that you are not superior to any of the rest of us. Maybe that wasn’t your intent, but it sure did come across that way. I simply asked your daughter what method of discipline you used. From what you are saying, you used none.

      Honestly, you need to write a parenting book. You’d make a fortune. 😉

      • You know I have been told that before and maybe I will. 🙂 I wanted to see how they turned out before I wrote anything, so far I think I can speak with authority.
        Books I highly recommend for you would be anything by Ted Tripp or Diana Waring, Box Free Living was wonderful in raising teenagers (CD) . Also anything with Sally Clarkson. All of them helped bunches.

  4. Methinks that anyone with no problems or imperfections needs to be closely watched. Even the Lord tells us that we all fall short of the glory of God. If I’m not mistaken, I believe that Ted Bundy’s parents said that he was literally the perfect child,(according to them.) Everyone’s idea of perfect greatly varies and all parents are biased as far as their children go.Sounds to me like this family is a little full of themselves and I’m pretty sure that the Lord teaches us to have humility when we deal with people. I believe He tells us not to be boastful.

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