Monday, June 20, 2011

The Teen Years

We're in a new stage of parenting. The teen years have just begun here and we hope to enjoy these years with our kids. There is a cultural attitude toward teens in this country that tells us the teen years are a misery for both parents and kids. We've seen enough examples of successful parents of teens to know that it doesn't have to be this way. It takes planning, sacrifice, effort, love and grace, but the teen years can be some of the most enjoyable years with our children.

I am thankful for the example we've had both within our family and among our friends of parents who not only navigated these years without injury, but with great success. These teens we know and have known are a pride to their families and hope for our future.

I'm trying to prepare myself now for these years. In addition to upping the prayer, I'm learning all I can and these two books have been invaluable. How to Feed a Teenage Boy by Georgia Orcutt offers strategies for dealing with the amazing hunger of a growing teen boy. The sheer amount of food teens need and the demands on Mom for proving it can become a point of contention in the teen years. This book does a great job of helping parents to understand and respect their son's hunger and offers many practical ideas for meeting his needs and helping him to meet his own needs. Tips on shopping, pantry organization, nutrition and food choices, recipes, as well as how to teach a boy to cook for himself are some of the things I've taken away from this book. I will keep with my cookbooks in the kitchen and expect I will be pulling out frequently for reference and recipes over the years.

I love Dr Guarendi. His common sense approach is refreshing and his ministry has encouraged us to stand strong as parents over the years. So, when he came to speak at our parish, Jeremy and I went to listen to him and meet him afterward. I purchased "Good Discipline, Great Teens" that night and so my copy is autographed, which is nice. The most important thing, though, is the content of this book. As we enter the teen years, it is good to remember the principles of good discipline renew our commitment to parenting, and understand and anticipate new challenges ahead. This book does a great job of helping parents do all those things.