Issues Facing Parents of Teens

Posted on November 30, 2010


I had the privilege of being on a panel for parents of TKA today, and I took copious notes from my co-panelists, as they were brilliant! While I hope that my contributions were of help, I am sincerely positive that their contributions were invaluable. It was a blessing to learn from them.

In addition, I understand that these kinds of forums are actually quite uncommon for schools. The commitment of TKA to provide such a resource is a testimony to the values of this institution.

Thanks to Mary Jane Klope, Gary Gaddini, and Dr. Ed Brackenbury for their contribution to the evening. Below are my incomplete and scattered notes. Quotes are not exact, and I take full responsibility for any inaccuracies or mis-appropriated attribution.


What is the role of the parent, and how can a parent continue to have influence? It was shared that perhaps the primary way of influencing your children is to remind your children of who they are, and the values that they grew up with under your roof. This is done through loving conversations and with respect and love.

There is a time of letting go, and you have to trust that the seeds you planted in them are firmly planted, and will continue to take root in their hearts and souls.

Also, for parents of children under the age of 10, the path to college is largely determined in these early years. So, if your high school graduating student is headed to college, well done. If they’re between the ages of 0 and 6, begin talking with them, reading, pouring attention into them, as the development that is going on in these ages is huge.


This is a time of mystery and it’s okay not to know everything. Times are changing, but more importantly than that, your child is changing. Learning how to change with your child is a key to success.

The tasks of adolescence could be summarized as identityautonomy, and community, which could also be stated, “Whom am I?” “What do I do?” and “Who are my friends?” Dr. Brackenbury mentioned how “mastery” is a key task of adolescence, and allowing students to make mistakes, and to learn from those mistakes is huge in helping them develop that kind of mastery.

“My job is not to protect them, but to prepare (and “equip“) them for the real world.” – Mary Jane


How can we battle the addiction to social networking? Create a social network at home. Make home a place where they connect, and in face-to-face conversations.


Keep the computer in public places like the family room. Do not be shy in requiring knowledge of all sites and passwords. And remember, you can always pull the plug.


How do you deal with children who want to continue to hang out with friends outside of the home who are negative influences? Have them over at the house.  Go to Costco, fill the fridge, and provide a safe place for your kids to have their friends over.

How do you deal with discipline? Gary shared how he laid out a tape measure on the floor, his wife at one end and he at the 80″ mark. He would then use this illustration to discuss how he has his daughters for the first 18″ (read “years”) of this tape measure. And during this time, he is going to be responsible for their lives to prepare them for the rest of the measuring tape. I loved this imagery!

Create tradition. What are the rituals in your house? What are the constants in your home? What are the “traditions” that your child can come to expect and cherish? Reading a book at night? Dinner every Friday night together (or more frequently). Prayer time? Family “date night?”

Well done parents. My closing comments included a hopefully encouraging word to the parents. Parenting is stressful, and hard work. I encouraged them that they are already doing a great job. Their presence at this event is a testimony to their faithfulness to their children. They are loved by God, and are raising great kids. Finally, never, ever, ever give up. What you do is making a difference in the lives of your kids. Study after study yields that parents are, and have always been, the number one influence in the lives of their children. Believe it or not, they’re listening, paying attention, and are being shape and molded by everything you do and say. Keep at it. You’re doing a great job.

Disciple. Therefore, how you live your life, and how you follow God is the foundational element in raising your kids.

RESOURCES with Jim Burns
Passport to Purity by Rainey
Hope & Help for Video Game, TV & Internet “Addictions” by Mark E. Shaw
Goodbye High School, Hello World: A Real-Life Guide for Graduates by Mr. Bruce Bickel, and Mr. Stan Jantz
The Space Between by Walt Mueller.
10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting by Laurence Steinberg
The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel

Posted in: Life