If you’re in the thick of parenting teens and tweens, you might feel like you’re in uncharted territory. Consider these 12 resources your guidebooks on this journey!
The other day, my baby did her younger sister’s hair before school when I wasn’t feeling up to it.
She also mopped the floor.
And that baby who’s no longer a baby leaned over in church and gave me a kiss when she saw I needed one.
The truth is that I’m not raising babies anymore. I’m raising tweens-in-the-making and full-fledged teenagers and some days it’s an absolute joy. Other days it’s hard! Really, really hard.
Settling into this new season of mothering has had its ups and downs. Sometimes I look back on those early years with fondness as I forge bravely ahead through all new territory.
Yet I know I’m not alone in this. I know other parents of teens and tweens are cautiously feeling their way along. That’s why I’m so thankful there are resources to light our way: podcasts and books and websites and online parent groups, all full of wisdom, guidance, and encouragement.
12 Powerful Resources for Parenting Teens and Tweens
Here are 12 tools to start with if this parenting road you’re on feels a little rocky and unfamiliar to you, too.
When you are the mom of a teen or tween, you spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for the game to start or the game to end. For your athlete/musician/student to be ready to be picked up. Waiting to hear from your athlete/musician/student that they’re ready to be picked up.
While you’re doing all this waiting, you might as well accomplish something purposeful and productive, and listening to a podcast designed just for parents of teens and tweens can be that something. One to start with is the Light the Fight Podcast. I’ve followed Heidi since my early scrapbooking days, and this family I’d seen grow up via scrapbook magazines and social media always seemed so perfect from the outside looking in. But when I heard about her son’s tragic death, I was so drawn to Heidi’s story. I couldn’t imagine going through such a difficult trial, and I wanted to understand more.
The insights shared in each episode have been eye-opening for me…not only in the way I interact with, speak with, and relate to my teenagers but in relationships in general. There’s so much great information here, and I feel like learning from Heidi’s heartache is a privilege. This is real-life parenting, bravely shared.
I loved Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish’s How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, so I’m excited about this teen-focused follow-up. The dual emphasis on both talking to our older kids and listening in a way that encourages them to talk feels pretty crucial in this season of parenting tweens and teens.
When I put out a call on Instagram for suggestions on parenting resources, several people recommended this book. And no wonder: where your adolescent daughter is concerned, this New York Times bestseller by Lisa Damour, Ph.D. promises to tell you what’s going on, what’s to come, and when it’s time to worry. Sign me up.
I can tell my kids I love them all day long, but if I’m not saying it in a language they understand, their minds and hearts are never going to fully comprehend my message. Best-selling author Dr. Gary Chapman explores the world teenagers live in, explains their developmental changes, and gives tools to help identify and appropriately communicate in your teen’s particular “dialect.” Which is huge, because in spite of all the other input our tweens and teens receive in their linked-up lives, the voice of a parent telling them they’re loved unconditionally still speaks the loudest.
In the simplest possible terms, the teen brain is not fully cooked. It’s still raw in some places and under construction in others. If I try to parent my tween or teen as I would, say, an adult with a 35-year-old brain, I’m going to fight a losing battle…and I’m going to fight a lot more battles, period. Jerusha Clark and Dr. Jeramy Clark lend personal and professional insights to help parents adjust how they see their teens—and, ultimately, to revolutionize their relationships with these amazing but often-perplexing young people.
Dr. Kevin Leman is funny and smart…a potent, needed combination when you’re parenting tweens and teens. This classic, widely-recommended resource doesn’t presume you don’t love the child you already have. But it does give hope that change where change is needed is possible without a six-month, 75-step plan. As parents and as people, we’re always either moving forward or sliding backward. This guide will help you maintain your future-facing momentum.
Authors Molly Wingate M.A. and Marti Woodward M.S. offers a hopeful promise to parents of older kids: if your relationship with them isn’t what you want, you have the power to change it. They advise moms and dads that their children want close relationships with them and that they press into their parents’ acceptance, approval, and attention. So often as parents, I think we can feel helpless when our relationship with our tweens and teens isn’t what we wish it was, so I’m encouraged by the empowering message of this book.
I started journaling with my oldest daughter just in a simple notebook, and these journals have been a great way to keep lines of communication open. We’ve been able to broach some difficult conversations, and my girls have been able to open up in our joint journals in ways they may not have felt comfortable if we were simply talking out loud. I can’t tell you how meaningful these journals have been for my girls and me, and I have no doubt they’d be equally powerful for moms and sons.
I came across this the other day while I was searching for books at our local library and was immediately intrigued. This is specifically aimed at tween girls, so if you’ve got one of these fascinating, complex creatures living in your house, you might want to look for this at your library, too.
This website bills itself as “the trusted resource for parenting teenagers,” and it offers one-stop-shopping for all things teen-related: health, tech, driving, family, sports, social life, and more. The site also features videos and podcasts, a weekly e-newsletter, and a print magazine.
This brand-new Facebook page regularly posts a variety of tween and teen-related articles and graphics from all over the internet.
If you’re looking for a safe, welcoming space where you can share the joys and struggles of parenting older kids, this closed Facebook group page might be a place to start. Articles, discussion, questions-and-answers, in “a place to discuss all aspects of parenting teens.”
We’re in this together
C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
Leaving seasons of parenting that have brought us joy can trip us up. We don’t know the road, and our footing feels uneven. But the way to better things ahead with our teens and tweens is not a solo journey. There are tools and resources and communities to help us. We’ll get there together. And it will be so worth the trip.
If you have any other uplifting, empowering resources that have been a help on your parenting teens and tweens journey, please share them with us by leaving a quick comment!
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