“How is being grounded going to get me to school on time?”

Lately I have been picking up my daughter up from school because the transmission in her car is being fixed. It’s been a great bonding experience for us. More for me, the dad who is not quite ready for his senior to graduate. I’m fairly certain she could do without it. She loves me but independence is a beautiful thing.

I’m here on this beautiful day waiting for her to come to the car, I have my iPad and iPhone and am getting work done. Lately my office is wherever I am. I love technology.

My windows are down, a cool breeze is blowing and the sounds of school letting out fill my car. A girl walks by talking on the phone and says, “how is being grounded going to get me to school on time?

It made me laugh out loud as I remember many conversations as a young man having the same kind of discussions trying to make the argument that discipline wouldn’t fix the problem. Not realizing that my behavior was proof that I did not understand the consequences of my actions.

As a parent I can tell you what was being said on the other end of the phone. “babe, your missing the whole point. Maybe if we take some privileges away it will help you understand that before you get privileges you must fulfill responsibilities. That’s what successful people do. Do what you need to do so you can do what you want to do. If you continue to be tardy it’s going to effect your grades, actions have consequences”. If your the parent of a teenager I’m sure that conversation or some version of it has happened in your home more than once.

As parents it’s our role to give guidelines, set parameters, teach, train, encourage, and if necessary punish.

I have a fantastic teenager, she has truly been a joy, but she is still a teenager and going through adolescents is a challenge for parents and children. There are ways to do it successfully, here are some…

1. Have a parenting mentor.

I have a friend who has successfully raised 3 teenagers into adulthood they love God, the church, people, and life. So when I am trying to navigate through things that are important and don’t want to get it wrong I run it by him see what he thinks and talk it through.

2. Put yourself in your kids shoes.

Remember what it was like to be an adolescent. Read some books, take a class. Think back and how you felt. One of the best things I did before Taylor became a teenager was to take a course on adolescent psychology. It prepared me for what she would go through and how to prepare myself and Janae for what we would face.

3. Proactively prepare your child for it.

There are some good books written on a preteens level that prepare them for what’s coming.

4. Treat it positively.

Don’t scare your child and don’t be afraid yourself. It is truly a fun time, and a great experience!

5. Don’t listen to people that are negative about it.

People always want others to have the same negative experiences they’ve had. Don’t buy into that.

6. Love your kids.

Use the bible model. Teach, train, admonish, and coach your kids towards successful living. Let the last resort be punishment and let the punishment fit the violation, the effect relate to the cause. Most importantly show them affection and speak kind words. Parenting the right way takes more time, is inconvenient, and requires more patience but it’s worth it.

What are strategies you use in raising your teens? I would love to hear.