The best advice is always in the comment section. It’s an adage that’s proven right over and over. Doesn’t even matter what kind of publication. So, I’m reading an article online by a national beacon of journalism about the things teens need most from their parents. 

Couldn’t wait to get to the comment section!

Having raised four teens and enjoying my last, I’m always looking for some pointers. I’ve been in high schools for 25 years, so I read the article with a ton of curiosity. I’m no expert. Every one of my teens has been different and challenging in their own way.

But make no mistake, Beacon of Journalism, they’re not rocket science…

The article divides the teenage years into very neat 2-year increments. It gives some reasonably decent, general thoughts on each two year period. Turns out, wait for it, teens need coaching, support, good examples, and most of all, understanding. Fair enough. Many teens don’t get those things at home. 

This is all based on the latest brain-scanning technology and the latest research, including longitudinal studies. (Studying the same subjects over a period of time, as opposed to research that studies a group once. Think video over a snapshot.) These studies are “…changing scientists’ views on the role parents play in helping children navigate a volatile decade.”

Question: How were parents raising their children before brain scans and longitudinal studies and scientists told us how to parent and what things teens need from us?

Remember, the best advice is always in the comment section. The comment section may not be full of scientists, but it is filled with parents with actual experience with teens. No brain scans. Not a scientist or a longitudinal study in sight.

Could we learn some of the things teens from actual parents of teens in the comments? 

Here Are Five Gems (Plus a Bonus Funny)

  1. 99% of successful parenting is being there. Really being there.
  2. Don’t rob them of the struggle. Teach them hard work and discipline.
  3. As the parent of two now mature and successful daughters, I believe that other than showing unconditional love, one of the best teachers is to let them screw up and learn the hard way what works and what doesn’t.
  4. I have been trying to mentor a teen whose parents did nothing for him but put clothes on his back and shoes on his feet. He is 20 years old operating on animal instincts. If character is not taught, many of the other attributes are useless. He is hurting badly from absentee parents who never taught him character or anything else.
  5. Understanding is overrated. As an adult, do you whine to the IRS to “understand” the tax code? Teens need healthy and firm boundaries. And then held accountable to those boundaries. To give them too much in the way of material things or too much of anything is to create whining, spoiled babies. They need to be required to contribute to the family in terms of household duties so they feel valued. And you always show them love when you take away their devices for non-compliance. 

Not bad advice at all. Just like parents don’t want to wonder where their teens are, no teen should have to wonder if they are loved. Didn’t even have to plug in my brain scanner. Thanks, parents.

✦ Here’s a bonus funny: 

When I was a teenager, my parents moved a lot, but I always found them.

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