Josh Shipp, award-winning teen expert featured on MTV, CNN, and in The New York Times, gives parents strategies you can use today to help understand and parent your teenager well.
- Instead of lecturing, try asking your teen questions to gauge their thought process.
- Be consistent. This is the time your child needs you to be firm the most.
- Train your teen to handle life’s situations in a controlled environment.
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Think of a time you were on a roller coaster. The amusement park employee pushed the safety bar down onto your lap, and you proceeded to make sure it worked properly — you wiggled and tugged at it to guarantee it was secure. You weren’t hoping it would fail, but confirming it would hold.
These are the teenage years. It’s your teen’s job to push against you, and it’s your job to hold your ground and be consistent.
Ages 13-19 are likely the trickiest, most nuanced years of your child’s life, and parenting them can leave you feeling frustrated and afraid. And although it’s a time of high stakes, it’s also a time of great opportunity.
How the teenage years shape your child’s future
What sets the teenage years apart from all other phases you’ve encountered so far rests on the decisions they make when you, the parent, aren’t present. During this phase, self-governance is key and it’s important to look for clues in your child’s daily behaviors to understand how they’ll respond in certain situations. If you notice any areas where they need further development, then it’s your job to lean in and help coach them to make sound decisions.
How to lean in
Being a dependable force in your child’s life and being intentional in your parenting doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by asking your teen questions, instead of lecturing, to gauge their thought process, asking questions such as what their thoughts are on current events and how they’d handle hypothetical situations. Ask them what their favorite songs, TV shows, or movies are to understand the deeper narratives of their decisions and thought processes.
Josh has established an international reputation as an inspiring youth motivational speaker with a simple and entertaining, yet challenging message. Abandoned and abused as a child, Josh was able to triumph over the tragedy, and he continues to encourage everyone to overcome struggles and live life to the fullest. And he does so through the power of laughter. Josh is a spokesperson for National Foster Care Month, a marathon runner and a guitar hero. Visit Josh online at www.JoshShipp.com
Kristen is the Executive Director of Messaging at Orange, Director of The Phase Project, and co-author of Playing For Keeps and It’s Just a Phase – So Don’t Miss It. She combines her degree in secondary education with a Master of Divinity and lives with her husband, Matt, and their three children, Sawyer, Hensley, and Raleigh, in Cumming, GA.
Carlos is an author, speaker, and content creator living in Nashville, TN with his wife Heather and 3 kids Sohaila, Seanna, and Losiah. He is addicted to social media, his wife’s enchiladas, and is determined to have his daughters teach him to land a backflip on the trampoline by the time he is 45.
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