As parents, we encounter lots of scary things. Raising a teenager doesn’t have to be one of them.

When we found out we were expecting our first child, I was ecstatic. Thoughts of sweet baby hugs and the smell of baby lotion were all that filled my mind. Not once did I ever say to myself, “This child is going to become a teenager one day and I will be terrified!”

It’s true, they do become teenagers and have a whole new set of smells, but the process doesn’t have to be terrifying. Here are 4 simple reminders to help make the journey more enjoyable for everyone.

Lions, and Tigers, and... Teens, Oh My!

Understand their language.

It’s no secret that teens have a way of communicating with each other that is ever changing. Their phrases are unique. One way to gain a glimpse into the world of your teen is to learn their language.

If you hear a term you aren’t familiar with, begin a conversation by asking your teen what it means. Need a little help translating the “language”? A simple online search will result in a number of reputable companies who desire to help parents communicate clearly with their children of any age.

Allow treasures to be earned.

We want our children to be comfortable, but at what cost? One of the best gifts you can give your teen is responsibility.

Earning money for things such as a cell phone or an automobile isn’t as awful as they might think. When your child has planned, saved and calculated the cost of a new vehicle or electronic device, they are more likely to consider it a treasure.

By allowing them to have the experience of working toward a goal, you are instilling in them a positive habit that will serve them well as they transition into adulthood.

Get in the game.

I’m not competitive at heart. Video games, board games, and sporting events are simply not my thing. I learned early that in order to be included in my children’s activities, I needed to get in the game. How is this achieved?

Take an afternoon to learn how to play their latest video game. Let them teach you how to shoot a basket or play a new board game. Ask them how their favorite app works and then let them help you set up an account. Your physical and emotional presence in their activities tells them that you hold value in their interests.

Don’t be afraid to be the bad guy.

God called each of us as parents to be just that, parents. We are to direct, love, care for, and discipline our children. Guide your teenager through the mistakes, successes, hopes and disappointments this season of life brings so that when they are no longer under your roof, they will know how to respond when disappointment comes again. It will come again.

May this season of uncharted waters draw you to a relationship with your teenager that is ever growing and flourishing and may you find yourself learning and growing right along with them!

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