Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate.” A few decades ago, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale wrote that quote in his popular book entitled “The Power of Positive Thinking.” It was a huge success.
Why is that?
Because people need a positive message to help them navigate through their daily lives, and teens and parents of teens are no exception to that. Remember: What you expect is what you get.
Another way of stating this is that the outcome of a person’s life is determined by his or her mindset and method of thinking. Negative thoughts, words, and habits inevitably lead to negative events. Conversely, positive thoughts and expectations will dictate a more pleasant or desirable end.
This is never truer than with parenting.
Some parents dread that 13th birthday like it’s the end of the world, the end of their kids as they know them. They see it as a whole new playing field.
It is a whole new playing field.
But why does it have to be bad?
Why do people dread the teen years so much?
With the advent of the teen years, parents are told by society that teens are awful. That these years are to be dreaded, feared, and survived. That no matter what we do or say, it makes no difference and they will just ignore us and do whatever they want.
Parents shrink at the thought of having to deal with such impossible creatures.
Can we handle the inescapable fact that our kids are growing up and turning into teenagers?
Yes! We absolutely can.
Think about all you have been through with your child during his or her life. If you have developed a close relationship with your child, there is no reason for it to evaporate after a birthday.
Yes, it takes effort and hard work to stay in the loop with your teen. It takes discernment and understanding. It takes patience and perseverance.
But isn’t that the case with anything worthwhile?
Don’t give up your authority or your peace of mind to the prophets of doom who want you to believe the teen years are some yawning abyss waiting to swallow your kids after their twelfth year.
Have faith in your ability to be a loving, capable parent. Stand up and make a difference in your teen’s life. He or she is depending on you.
I feel compelled to write this because I am ready to see things change for teens. We are losing them, mostly because we are allowing them to be taken from us.
Teens are one of the most maligned groups of people in our culture today. Adults love to talk about how bad kids are.
But we adults continue to set bad examples for them – and low expectations.
So I will ask you as a parent of a teenager, or a soon-to-be teenager.
What are your expectations of your child’s teen years?
What will be your legacy on this earth when you leave it?
Most of us will leave the bulk of our legacy in our children.
What will they say about you?
How will they remember you?
Were you their hero? Their champion?
Could they always count on you to have their back?
Will they cherish the relationship you had together?
Only one person has control of the answers to those questions.
I encourage you to foster that loving, close relationship with your teens. They need it, and you need it.