why teenagers are amazing

moms with littles – even though this is about teens – this is still for you – you set the groundwork now for those teenage years right now while they are young.

I’m tired of teenagers getting the bad rap.

My Hannah turned sixteen yesterday (at the time of this writing as now she’s 19), she’s right in the middle of the teenage years, and I think she’s awesome. Amazing. I love her for where she is right now and for who she’s growing into being.

Yet, so often, even with my wonderful daughter or her friends, I see others, the world treating her like, well, she’s a stereotypical teenager. You know? Bratty and entitled and obnoxious and not really wise and flirty and up to no good. That’s what culture states – that’s what media tends to preach and expect.  I know parents are made to look like idiots on television, but teenagers are also made to look like rebellion is mandatory, almost needed, and that they’re smarter than their parents {who ironically are portrayed as not being that smart} and that they don’t really care about anything besides themselves and shopping and more.

We’re missing the fact that those teenagers, those sixteen year olds, they are the next generation. Does that mean that there aren’t the rebellious ones? Or the talking back? Or the ones that test the limits? Or get into stuff? Serious stuff? Of course not. But, it does not give us as adults the excuse to categorically take all teenagers and lump them into the category of not up to anything good.

They’re people.

a self portrait taken by my hannah

With feelings, emotions, dreams, worries, fears, goals, ideas, confusion, hopes, concerns, expectations, all wrapped into who they are – right now.

They don’t need people thinking they’re not going to be up to anything good – they need people that are willing to stand in the trenches with them, love them unconditionally, listen to them, help them, guide them, and generally want to be around them.

Sure, I love them – I’m their mother and I have that unconditional amazing mother love for all my children. But, I also want to like them. Even on those hard days when they’re pushing the limits. I want to like being around them. And that means investing time in them and getting to know them. It doesn’t mean showing up here and there and not really listening but nodding so I can get on with my next thing. It doesn’t mean yelling, cutting them down, or getting exasperated  at them anytime they mess up.

We all make mistakes.

Instead of yelling, try listening, and wanting to know, to understand, and to care – that’s how we would want others to treat us. It’s honestly about seeking to understand their hearts first. Sometimes it takes stepping back, giving them some space, and telling them that you respect them and value them. Sometimes it means being in their face and fighting for their hearts.

Imagine the power when we decide that we’re going to fight for our teens versus chalking it up to the well, what would you expect they’re teenagers or just wait until they’re teenagers phases the better our families would be.

Would you want your neighbor or friends stating phrases about you like just wait until you’re fifty or what you expect she’s the mom to a toddler? Or something like that? I wouldn’t. The just wait and what would you expect phrases suck the joy right out of parenting a teen and in fact, sets it up so that we’re going into those years with a predetermined idea of what they should look like.

Moms with teens – don’t utter that phrase just wait until they’re a teenager to a mom with littles.

Instead encourage them, talk well of your teen, and tell them how blessed these years actually can be.

Set the bar high.

Enough of us sitting on the sidelines thinking is okay for our teens to act a certain way or talk a certain way or us waiting for them to change or us blowing them off. We must take a stand – fight for them or against them.

Those littles that I write about so often? They grow. Fast. From littles to middlers to teens.

Love those teens with the same love that you have for those littles.

They, that next generation, absolutely, totally, and completely deserve for us adults to view them with eyes that are unjaded and full of encouragement. They are truly amazing! Full of life and ideas and dreams and energy – we just must slow down, listen, and value them.

Start seeing the good first.

~Rachel

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25 Responses to “why teenagers are amazing”

  1. June 4, 2012

    Angie Daaahling Reply

    I sigh with conviction in my heart, but inhale the reality of the”do overs” God blesses me (us) with daily.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  2. June 4, 2012

    Cathy Cantu Reply

    Rachel – I have 3 teenagers. I think Ive commented once or twice before. My 18 yr old just graduated high school. At home, he’s surly and doesn’t speak unless spoken to, and quite lazy to boot. At school, everyone thinks he’s hilarious. He was voted on the male Winter Homecoming court, and was Prom King. Go figure. There’s something in there we never get a chance to see-even with all the prodding you can imagine. I also have 16 and 14-yr old girls with whom we’re dong a lot of things differently. We parents are always learning!
    You’re daughter sounds wonderful. Your great girl didn’t turn out to be great all by herself. It was your parenting.

  3. Amen sister; I adore my teens! I, too, cringe at the stereotypes our society (specifically media)throws at the family dynamics.
    great post!
    ~Sheri

  4. June 4, 2012

    island girl Reply

    Agree!! I have a teen son almost ready to “go out into the world”, he is amazing. The most incredible young man I’ve ever met, we have not had any of the “problems” that so many have come to associate with teens. (we also homeschool)

  5. June 4, 2012

    Stefani Carmichael Reply

    Great post! I think this is so true of not just teens, but all children. Children too often are seen as problems in our society, but so often the problem is us not getting to know, listen to, and truly guide our children.

  6. June 4, 2012

    Mary Reply

    I love the line where you say you want to like your kids. Great thoughts especially with summer coming.

  7. I currently have 3 teens–and 4 more coming up. :-) Are there challenges to having teens in the house? Absolutely, but EVERY age/stage has its own unique challenges. Things I love:
    -Watching my big kids play with and entertain the little ones
    -Having a driver (LOVE it!)
    -Having real conversations–great bonus for stay-at-home moms!

    Great article!

  8. June 4, 2012

    Cassie D. Reply

    As a teenager this article really makes me feel better about adults. Unfortunately we often get stereotypes about adults as well, that they all see us as troublemakers, especially the elderly. Seeing an adult who feels differently, and feels strongly enough to speak out, makes me feel really great. Thank you for this article.

  9. this makes me really thankful that our church is very “next generation” minded and works to build into them. thank you, for raising up Godly teens, you are impacting the world through them. makes me so proud of you. oh! a picture of the two of us showed up on your linkwithin right now… made my heart so happy! : )

  10. June 5, 2012

    Alex Reply

    oh how i couldn’t agree more with this post! this is one of my most passionate topics with teens in our church. how horrible it is that they are made to believe they must wait to serve… must wait to live… when scripture tells us not to let anyone look down on us because we’re young.

    i’m sure you know about this site and organization and book, but just incase you don’t, check out the rebelution and the book “Do Hard Things” by Alex & Brett Harris here: therebelution.com

    it’s incredible! thanks for posting such truth. :)

    <>< Alex

  11. SO true!! Thank you for sharing these wise words! To love and pour into our little ones now and to not stop as they grow- a precious challenge and reminder.
    Jessica

  12. June 5, 2012

    monica Reply

    Thank you for the encouragement–my oldest is about to become a teenager, and you are right–most people paint such a bleak picture! :)
    I’m excited to see how my boys are as teens–so far I really LIKE who they are…
    Your daughter sounds wonderful.

  13. June 5, 2012

    Camden McAfee Reply

    This is so encouraging to me! This is key to what I want to stand for – a teen that sets the standard for the life of teens. As a guy closing up my teen years, I also see the value in parents that genuinely listen AND push me to excellence. The teen years are nothing less than a launching pad into the rest of life, and I’m thankful for encouraging people like Hannah, using her gifts for the glory of God!

    Camden

    1 Timothy 4:12
    Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

  14. June 5, 2012

    Lynn Reply

    All mine are past their teenage years and it’s really hard for me to comprehend that!
    Know that I’m always here praying!
    Isaiah 40:28-31 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
    My email address

  15. June 5, 2012

    Krista Reply

    Such a fabulous post! I agree wholeheartedly. As a mom of littles still, I need the reminder not to view the future as being filled with exasperation at my teens but that it will be something to look forward to. A time filled with blessings just like this one.

    Wonderful words Rachel and I know they have blessed many!

  16. June 5, 2012

    Anna Gray Reply

    THANK YOU! Whoo hoo! It disappoints me too see how society immediately labels any teenager as rebellious, bratty, etc. Thank you for standing up for us!

    You’re my new blogger hero.

  17. June 5, 2012

    Anna Gray Reply

    *to not “too”

  18. June 5, 2012

    Angel Reply

    You are my hero, Rachel!

  19. June 6, 2012

    Beth Reply

    Oh I LOVE this. Thank you.

  20. June 7, 2012

    Jennifer Reply

    Absolutely wonderful and inspiring! Thank you.

  21. June 7, 2012

    Dr. G Reply

    Rachel, this gives me the opportunity to say something I’ve wanted to for a while. Meeting you was a quick moment that has changed my parenting profoundly. I too (in fear) have fallen back on that I-like-them-now-but-who-knows-what-the-teeanage-years-will-bring attitude.

    Never again. You have set the bar high for me since our quick conversation in Nashville. You rearranged my expectations, gave me hope and help me to a standard of respecting every age, not just the little ones and adult ones.

    You’ve managed to reassure me and challenge me all at once. Could there be a bigger blessing? Or a better friend? All that after just a few minutes. Any wonder I want to see you again?

  22. I’m a bit late, Rachel, but I wanted to let you know that I was dreading the teenaged years just for this reason. Older women complaining and using the “just you wait” phrase. Ugh.

    Now with a 19 year old and a 16year old, I can’t say it’s been easy (when you don’t have any littles in the house anymore, it’s hard to come to terms with the distance the teens need to create to become their own person), it’s been a joy to walk through. God has taught me tremendous things through my teens.

    Thank you for writing this. :-)

  23. June 19, 2012

    Cheryl Pitt Reply

    Love this post my friend. It’s so true, they are amazing. My teens are great – and I’m glad I can say that even though my eldest has been a huge challenge lately. God is good and our children are blessings – we just need to keep our eyes open to the good.

  24. Teens are indeed becoming more and more active especially in cyberspace.

  25. June 5, 2016

    Heidi Reply

    I agree! I am enjoying my kids(19, 17 and 14) now more than I ever did as little ones. I loved and adored them then. But I love the people they are and they teach me so much. I never liked anyone else’s teens before I had my own, but now I love this stage and love their friends too. Who knew? :)

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