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Raising Teenagers Advice From Mom

Updated on May 31, 2014

This is a difficult age; they aren’t grown but they think they are. They aren’t children anymore but technically they are. In the old days they would be adults, married, fight in wars and live on their own; but somewhere between then and now they have become not quite grown and not quite children.

Interesting what modern development can create. We have to give them enough responsibility to not make them feel like we are holding them back and yet not more than they can handle since they aren't technically adults yet.

They are ornery and hard to live with and I have a theory that it's natures way of making it easier for us to send them out into the world.

I have raised three and I can tell you that no two are alike. What works for the first one will not work for the next one and what didn’t work for the first one sometimes will work for the next one. Books on how to raise children are often written by people who don’t even have kids. I've yet to figure that one out.

Johnny gets to go

Here’s the best advice I can give you from one parent to another. If your child says, “but Johnny’s mom and dad are letting him go” and it sounds like a bad idea they are usually wrong. I’m not saying they’re lying, maybe Johnny is lying. Either way I’ve found that nine times out of ten if you don’t feel like it’s a good idea Johnny’s mama probably doesn’t think it’s a good idea either and if you talk to Johnny’s mama she’s probably getting the same story you’re getting. I know, I've talked to her and she's just as clueless.


The wonderful thing about teenagers is that they can drive and you can send them to the store to buy the milk they drink by the gallon. Also the bad news about teenagers is the fact that they can drive and you will worry about them the first time they go and every time after that until they move out and even sometimes then.

It does get easier, usually about the time they turn 30.

What Where When Form

We have a printed form on our computer our teenagers have to fill out before they can go anywhere. It’s the “Who, What, Where, When” form. This way we always know where our kids are; or at least where they’re supposed to be. They have to give phone numbers and addresses of the friend’s or which movies, mall, restaurant or event they are attending.

We had a bad experience and after that we created this form.

One evening we had gone out and our oldest son went to a friend’s party. We came down a main road heading home and saw several police cars entering a neighborhood. We knew this was the neighborhood where the boy lived that was having the party, we didn’t however know the street or house number or phone number, so we drove into the division to see if we recognized any cars or people. Sure enough we saw a young man we knew to be a friend of our son.

He said that our son had left earlier. Thank goodness.

When we got home he was sitting at the table eating (they’re always eating). We asked him what happened at the party. He didn’t know that the police were involved but he said things had started to get out of hand. A couple of boys showed up drunk and causing trouble. It turned out the parents were out of town. He said he left before they got crazy. I was so proud of him.

At least now we know the address and phone number where they are going and won’t have to wonder if something like this happens again. We fill out the same form if we go anywhere even though our children all know both of our cell phone numbers. Sometimes we are out of range and can’t be reached on our mobile phones. You have to turn them off during a movie.

It’s good practice to leave notes telling your kids where you will be and what time you will be home. It’s also common courtesy to call if you’re going to be late. If you give your kids this consideration they will be more likely to give you the same.

Not So Grounded

Never under estimate the intelligence of a teenager. Some will sneak out of their window when they are grounded if they really want to go somewhere. The same darlings will make an extra set of car keys so that when you take theirs they can still go if they want to bad enough.

You just have to be one step ahead of them. Don’t just ground them put a large tub of water outside of their window. Nothing like a loud splash to change a little girls date plans. Tie string around the trees in the front yard. Think back to all the things you did as a teenager and yes your child will probably try them and more. Disconnect their battery and remove the battery. Some will tell on themselves by asking you why you took their battery out of their car. I then ask them how they know unless they were trying to drive while under house arrest.

Appropriate dress

Show up at school unannounced occasionally and see what your daughter has worn to school. That mini skirt you told her she wasn’t allowed to wear just might be on her anyway. That eye make up you said she couldn’t wear she just may be wearing. They always have an explanation. The first thing they always say is, “Mom, I can explain.” And I always give them a chance to come up with a tall tale just to see what kind of story they will make up. Writer's kids come up with the best stories.

My oldest child had an unusual problem in that he couldn’t tell a lie. I mean literally. He always told the truth. So when my other two came along it took me a while to realize the stories they were telling were not always true.

“There was this coyote and we had to run from it and Jodie’s house was right there and I know you told me not to go to her house but I knew you would never forgive me if I got eaten by a bear.”

“A bear; I thought it was a coyote?”

“Well yeah that’s what I meant.”

We live in town and as far as I know we have never had any bears or coyotes around here; however I do know that there was a party at Jodie’s house without adult supervision and I’m pretty sure they weren’t all running from wild animals; although from what I have heard some were acting like them.


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    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Audrey, they are a challenge but fun.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      There just isn't a manual for teenagers--it is always a scary time--but soooo interesting!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Jellygator, teenagers can be a pain but they can also be fun. They think we aren't very smart but sometimes we fool them by being one step ahead of them.

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 5 years ago from USA

      LOVED the coyote/bear analogy! Having raised four and one more in her Adulthood Training Course, I can relate so well to every. single. word.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Denise, you have to have a sense of humor to raise children or you will lose your mind. Thanks for reading.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Funny! I love your writing style-wit and humor go a lonnnnggg way. So, having raised two (girls) and am currently raising my teen nephew, I concur. You have written a sh load of wisdom here!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      JLClose, they grow up fast and we have to be smarter than they are or at least a jump ahead of them.

      Cat on a soapbox, they can be pretty ingenious with some of the things they come up with.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      I really enjoyed both the wisdom and the humor in this hub! I am going to have to adopt that "who, what,and where" form- great idea! One challenging thing for me as the parent of a teenager is trying to keep a straight face when I have to discipline my daughter for some stunt that is actually quite brilliant. (It brings back memories of my own mischief!) Thankfully, she is a good kid- gotta love em!

    • JLClose profile image

      JLClose 6 years ago from OreGONE

      It will be awhile before my three kids are teens, but I can use all the help preparing that I can get!

      You have given some great ideas. I love the sign-out sheet idea, and ESPECIALLY the taking out the car battery idea. Perfect. I hope I remember those when my daughter is old enough to sneak out.

      That first photo image you used caught my eye--my parents had that same quote up on our fridge when I was a kid, and I never got it! Until now, that is!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Crystolite, most parents have good advice and knowledge if kids would just listen to them.

      LJmama869, I'm glad you liked that idea. Families can customize it for their own needs but I think it's a good idea.

    • ljmama869 profile image

      Ingrid Ramirez 6 years ago

      Great hub...I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and can totally relate :) Kudos to you Mom/Dad on the “Who, What, Where, When” form...awesome idea !

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Nice story and i must read to teenagers because most of them are really working out of curiosity of what they don't really much about thereby falling into big shit they don't bargain for.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Computer Guy, we have to keep one step ahead of them. Thanks for reading.

    • Computer Guy profile image

      Computer Guy 6 years ago from Indianapolis IN

      Great story great points; I have two boys 19 and 21. I can relate to everything you said. I once called them on the Johnny story and called their friends parents. The response was My son is going with me tonight to his grandparents house. Keep the stories coming...

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Lynda, they can be fun but definitely a challenge.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I may be an anomaly, but I love teenagers. I had two of my own, fostered quite a few and worked with many through child protection. Loved the drama, the mess, the sneaking, the lies, the petty crime, the angst -- oh the angst -- loved it. Must have considering how many times I went through it. Lynda

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, katrinasui.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      You have mentioned some good points here. i always enjoy reading your hubs.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Pamela, your comment made me laugh so much. Thank you. That was the best tummy muscle workout I have had for a long time.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Twilight, if children were born teenagers the population would decline.

      Kitty, they grow up fast and she will be a teenager before you know it.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

      i have a little girl who's turning three in a few days, and i am sort of dreading the day that she hits the teen years. i remember being a teenager, and how dramatic and emotional i was...although, in general i was a good teenager. but it makes me worry and wonder how my daughter will be...but at least i know all of the tricks in the book, right? Thanks for writing this wonderful hub!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Wonderful hub. I've never read a less than brilliant hub from you, Pamela.

      It makes me want to go out and adopt a few teenagers so I can have some of my own, but I think it might be against the law in this country.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Felicia I live in a small town and some areas are dead zones for cell phones so we can't always get in touch. The form helps with at least knowing where everyone is. Thanks for reading.

      Anginwu, I was a bit strict but not too much. My kids still come home on Sunday for dinner and often bring friends. Thanks for reading.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      Love your anecdotes and the quote--yes, trying naling jello to a tree--that pretty much sums up the whole raising the "teenagers" thingy. You're very innovative with your ideas and I'm sure your kids can look back and laugh. Thanks for sharing and rated up.

    • FeliciaM profile image

      FeliciaM 6 years ago from Canada

      Yes, I agree with everything. I know the feeling about loving the fact that they drive and then being afraid of the fact that they drive! I think the form is a good idea. I always keep my cell on when they are out so they can text if there is a problem or if I want to know when they are coming home...god forbid they use a landline!

      thanks for the great hub!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      prairieprincess, they are funny people. At the time I could have pinched their heads off but later found the humor in it.

      Thanks for reading, A.A.

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 6 years ago from Texas

      Good points! Marked up and faved. Thanks for sharing.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      Ha! This is hilarious! And very true ... I find that there is always an excuse, too, with the teenager in our house. Great hub!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      lol I like that one, mckbirdbks. Some are really good at telling tales.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      I could always tell when my teenage girls were lying. Their months were moving. I am so glad they are not teenagers anymore

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Will, they sometimes feel, especially boys, that if they don't follow the crowd they will be though of as uncool. That's a good one to use.

      Cogerson, they grow up too fast. Then we seem to remember the good times more than the bad and the bad are much more funny than they were at the time.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Awesome...I know exactly what you mean when you say ...its great they can go to the store for milk....but then worry about them driving wife and I have 6 total kids...3 are teenagers and one has successfully reached his goes quick....awesome hub.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      As I told all my kids, "If you get in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, you can always get out of it by using the excuse 'My did would kill me.' All teens can relate to that and you can just go home."

      Both my sons told me later that they used that very excuse more than once