The Conclusion of “Learning from The Teenager” by Tracie McClinton

  • November 5, 2011
Tracie McClinton
Mother of the Teenager
..Cont’d…
The teenager has taught me to use my bible.  No, I don’t mean fling it at her head, but I’ve heard that can be very motivating for teenagers.   Parenting a teenager definitely keeps me in the word of God.  I am constantly reading the bible to give her correct answers to her questions.  I also use it as an effective tool to show her when she is wrong and her behavior and thinking is not in line with what God intended for children.  Then, I say “See, the Lord said it, not me!”  She believes the word and I am so glad I don’t have to beat her over the head with it!
The teenager has taught me to say yes.  I realize that saying no all of the time does not make me a strong parent.  Of course, there are things that I must say no to, but not everything.  She has taught me to lighten up.  This is not to be confused with compromising our standards!  Some things are not negotiable.  However, it’s important to have balance.  She has plenty of time for disappointments and doors closing.  Saying yes when possible is good for both of us and it gives her a chance to build her independence.

The teenager has taught me to trust.  Her father and I have spent many years training, teaching and disciplining her.  How will we ever know what she’s capable of if we never trust her to stand on what we’ve taught her all these years?  I am learning to trust that she has been listening all of those days that I told her make good choices.  She has proven to me over and over again that she is listening. 
The teenager has taught me to be patient.  It takes the teenager an hour to do something that can be done in fifteen minutes.  I have come to realize that no amount of yelling and threatening will change this.  It’s who she is.  So, I wait and pray…..a lot.  (Insert “Jesus keep me near the cross because this child is gonna make me lose it.” right here).   I can only hope that one day she will be on time…..for something.  So, I wait and pray……a lot.
Finally, the teenager has taught me to think quickly on my feet.  I recently received a call from her school informing me that would be in detention all day because of a dress code violation.  Huh?  Unacceptable.  I told the teenager to go to the Performing Arts department and find a costume (or something) to wear and get to class!  Someone asked how I thought of that.  I honestly have no idea.  Having a teenager makes you creative and you constantly have to come up with new ways to problem solve because they always come up with new problems!
I recently had the opportunity to meet the teenager’s school principal.  She had nothing but nice things to say about the teenager and for a moment I wanted to ask “You mean she doesn’t give you a blank stare and a sigh when you tell her to do something?”  Then she said, “Kristin is an awesome young lady.”     
And that, my friends, makes it all worth it.  

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