October 17, 2017

Talking to your Tween and Teen


The eve of my 17th Mother’s Day comes to a close, and a myriad of feelings have swirled throughout the day.ย  I look at my “babies” above, and I am ever cognizant that the days are long, but the years are short.

I shared recently in my major “Mommy Mess-Up Moment,” that amidst the beauty and bedlam of parenting –ย  the good, bad and ugly, there is no greater privilege than to nurture, encourage, lead and yes, mess up on the journey of mothering our children.

And it seems like we’ve had more mess ups this year from all of us than ever before. I am continually in pursuit of “my children’s heart,” meaning I desire their heart to be pursing choices made from a firm foundation of character, and I strive to communicate with them on a heart level.ย  I am not focused on performance or activities, but stressing character qualities that will matter years from now. As they get older, that has become more challenging, but one thing that has remained at the forefront of our relationship is open communication on issues that really matter.

It’s easy as a parent to continually go into lecture mode, and trust me, I have my lectures down quite well, but I know that they tune out the same old speech. Tween and teens can sense authenticity, and we strive to keep the lines of communication open on many levels. With that focus, I also need to be ready to have difficult conversations, and honest discussion on topics that may frustrate me. By proving to them that my ear is always open, no matter what the end result will be, a firm foundation is created – one from which building can occur when times get really difficult (And as parents, those time will come, so start early.) Taking with your teens, it’s a pursuit that will change your relationship forever, and even though I haven’t liked a lot of what I have heard lately from some of mine, I am glad that I parent for the long term. I have a long term vision in store for them. They may not always be on board right now, but I know that our choices for them now, done in love, will reap fruition in their long term legacy.

In my first two posts from this series, I talked about dealing with body odor with children & tween, but more importantly, building their self confidence to deal with this. Then I shared about my son’s first quote, “This is the smell of a man.” Yes, one I will never forget, and in this third episode we share our tips to parents on how to deal with the need for open communication. You can see my segment of the interview at about the 2 minute mark.

BlissTV – Don’t Fret The Sweat – Episode 3 from Blissful Media Group on Vimeo.

(If reading this via email, click over to the blog to watch the video.)

This post brought to you from Unilever and Bliss TV.


  1. Georgi says:

    My children are grown with Masters Degrees and jobs they are proud of, if I can do it, any one can. I often look back on how I raised my children and wonder how they turned out so wonderfully and then I just thank God for them.
    The picture of you and your children is wonderful!


  2. Once those first children leave for college it seems like I can catch my breathe and another one is graduating and leaving. In two days two of my big boys will be coming home for the summer …and I will try to be grateful for every day and for every pile of cleates/socks/gloves left by the front door. : )


  3. Kristina says:

    Gosh, that is so true about keeping communication open. Family dinner time is key to this in our house. Our kids started “saying their day” when they were little as a bedtime ritual — reviewing the happenings of the day in chronological order, and discussing what was important to them about their days. Now it has migrated to the dinner table, and no one (by tacit agreement, this is not really a rule) is allowed to interrupt the speaker’s progress until they “come home” for the day, no matter how many tangents they get off on. Dinner times can be rather lengthy at our house, as we are a chatty bunch, but oh boy the discussions we get into!

    Everything pertinent to becoming a stand-up person happens in a public school during the day — the good, the bad, and (Lord help me) the ugly. We know who our kids are socializing with at school, what boys won’t stop bothering our daughter in Algebra II (and which ones she doesn’t mind being bothered by), and how the middle school band is doing on the pieces they’re preparing for the spring concert. We also discuss the regrettable choices they see other kids making, and why they should make different choices. There’s a lot of talk about the people they want to be — not just morals per se, but things like learning to be kind to others or stand up for the weakest among us. And since we are a houseful of mostly women — periods, cramps, hormones, oh geez. My poor husband, but he is a mensch and manages to weigh in on even those discussions.

    Oh, and thanks for my morning snort with the “smell of a man” comment. That is probably the cutest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Recently, our oldest daughter commented, “Well, I’ve always regarded myself as a renaissance woman,” referring to her diverse interests. I’ll never forget that…


  4. sona bran says:

    I miss seeing the dates on the enteries now because I forget what I have seen etc. without dates booooo :o)


    Jen Reply:

    @sona bran, the dates are all still there on the individual posts.

    I will add a little thing to the side bar that lists the last five posts. That will probably help. ๐Ÿ™‚ The last post is always at the top, but then you’re right, some get hidden if they are near the bottom and I post more than one in a day. I ‘ll try and that that side bar things in the next day or two.


  5. Love the new “look” Jen! Clean, easy. ๐Ÿ™‚ And beeyootimus pix! Your kids look truly joyful, and what a great gift to give a child!


  6. I love the new look of your blog! When you first said you were revamping it, I was a little disappointed since I have a hard time with change. But I really like it!

    I think probably the most important thing that has helped my communication with my teens and tweens was paying attention to them when they were little. We always knew that if we wanted them to want to hang around us when they were older, we needed to not put them aside when they were younger. It’s only been by God’s grace, because we have made PLENTY of mistakes!


  7. Iowamom says:

    Your children are beautiful and you look so proud! I am entering the tween phase with my oldest son and it’s been a trying time. He’s going through the “man smell” and we’ve armed him with a variety of deodorants. Some purchased by me and some purchased by my husband. ๐Ÿ™‚ We too parent with a long-term vision and ask for God’s guidance every day. Our pastor just spoke yesterday about the importance of the Mother/Father/child relationship. I could tell our kids were really listening! It’s not just us talking about it at home. ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. That brought tears to my eyes. This as my 18 year old has only 3 more days of High School left before he is ready to graduate. And my 20 year old is off on a cruise with some friends (which has given me major anxiety). I too have made many mistakes over the years as a mom, as has my Hubby as a dad, but I honestly think that those mistakes help build character in both us and them. I started to make this very long winded and just deleted ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the reminder of parenting relys 100% upon communication!


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