Note to Self: On Parenting Teens

Parenting teens can be an emotional whirlwind and in the heat of the battle it is easy to forget lessons learned the hard way. So, note to self…

It is not your life, it’s his.

Your mother thought she knew what you were up to.

Sometimes it really is better if they don’t tell you.

Teenage surfer, surfer

Only spy if you really want to know. And answer that question first.  You can’t unknow something.

Everything is a phase, even the good stuff.

When he takes your breath away, leaves you proud beyond words, find those words and tell him again and again.  He really does want your approval.

Life does not owe them car keys or internet or cash.  The deal was food, clothing and shelter. If needed, take everything else away.

Every so often go in and look at him sleeping, it will all coming rushing back.

Sometimes your kid’s behavior is your fault, sometimes it isn’t, really hard to tell, so don’t take all of the blame.

Memories are worth the mess. Always.

Other mothers should never make you feel bad about your kid, not matter how much bragging they do.  If you feel bad, because of what they say, shame on you.

He doesn’t mean it.

You will miss this.  Really.

You are the parent, he’s the child, repeat as many times as necessary.



  1. Lisa Stapleton Weldon says

    oh, this is good. I need to print it off and take it to my bathroom mirror.

  2. says

    Memories are SO worth the mess, aren’t they. Some really beautiful lines here – a lovely read, thank you!

  3. says

    You made me cry with this; missing my grown and moved on kids a lot today! I especially like “memories are worth the mess”….thinking of many dinners, birthday parties and some bedroom repainting. Every one a precious memory!

  4. Anonymous says

    I was just talking with my mom about how fast the time went…how it seems like yesterday that our grown kids were as messy as golden retrievers and went from sweet to sulky in the blink of an eye. Now most of ours are “grown and flown” and the house is quiet. But aha! We had a “bonus baby” who’s now 14 and we are getting to experience it all over again. I forgot about how hard it was! I forgot how mean kids can be at this age! But the others survived and so will he (and so will we!)

    • Grown and Flown says

      Love that you call him a “bonus baby” nice. Good luck, think the last one is to be savored.

  5. Joanna says

    Great reminders! I think part of what makes the teen years so difficult for us mom’s is watching our babies growing up, and becoming less dependent on us. I look at my teenage boy’s every day and feel so proud of what they are accomplishing, then suddenly at the same time a hint of sadness will come over me. Some days I wish I could go back in time and spend just one more day with my little boys! : (

    • Grown and Flown says

      I know exactly what you mean, just one day to see it all again…

  6. says

    This is really powerful! Great read. I really “maybe it’s better if they don’t tell you…” It will make us wonder as parents, but it’s true that you can’t “unknow” something. Bravo!

    • Grown and Flown says

      So kind thank you. You think you want to know everything as a parent, but maybe we don’t need to know it until a few years later.

  7. says

    As much as I may complain, I love being around my children. Do I feel like ripping my hair out sometimes, or ripping out theirs? Hell yes! Would I change it for the world? Not a chance. Your quote about everything being a phase has gotten me through the toughest times. When things are good, I cherish every second. Thanks for this!

  8. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for these reminders – I cannot tell you how timely it is for me to read this tonight.
    Love, hugs and positive energy.

  9. says

    Can I LOVE this one too and leave 2 comments in one night as I continue to catch up on my blog reading? I read many blogs and comment on very few so this a record for me.

    I forwarded this to my husband and friend who just delivered her 21 year old son to an Army base for his deployment to Afghanistan today.

    I know I might be the only country music fan here but one of the last lines, “You will miss this. Really.” made me think of my anthem during my darling twins’ senior year of high school. Can’t believe it was 3 years ago…

    Thanks for writing great content that is so relevant to my season of life!

    • Grown and Flown says

      Yes, yes…we love your comments. So touched that you left us your thoughts. Thanks of leaving us your blog too, going there next. I spent a season in Nashville and became quite partial to country music and Mary Dell is from TX!

  10. says

    Memories are worth the mess. Always. I don’t know of a truer truth. All good – but this one especially touched a chord this morning.

  11. says

    Fantastic post. You have given very concise and well thought out words to the thoughts I have had so many times over the last 5 years. Thank you!

  12. Cynthia says

    Simple truths that give me a warm, fuzzy…especially about how difficult it is to discern who’s fault it is…and does that even matter in the end?


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