Raising teens: There's no instruction manual, but there are some guarantees

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  • Jeanie b. Orem, UT
    March 3, 2012 10:54 p.m.

    We have raised two daughters and now have 2 teenage sons and a twelve year old. I disagree that teens need to rebel. I think it is natural for them to push the boundaries, to want to spread their wings, but they do not need to rebel.

    One son wanted his hair longer than we felt appropriate. After having a discussion where my husband reminded my son that it is not us against him, but rather all of us trying to figure out what is best. We explained that we get that teens like a certain look - that is feels comfortable and natural around peers. We also explained what our family's standards were and why. In our home, being LDS, we conform to a standard that has been set by our religious leaders. It was a good discussion with everyone talking and listening - including our son.

    In the end, after looking at the youth guide our church puts out on standards we compromised - since I cut his hair I told him I would keep it longer than I wanted, but shorter than he wanted. He agreed.

    I believe it is our job as parents of teens to let the "leash" (freedom) out a little at a time according to age and ability, until finally we hand the leash over completely to our adult child to run their own lives.

    Our kids understand this, we have had many discussions explaining this concept of parenting to them - giving them our observations of kids who have gotten the whole leash handed to them before they are ready for it and the price those kids have paid.