1. Give them lots of space. To think, to fail, to dream, to figure out things on their own. Soon my teen will not be living with me full time. I want to be there when she fails, when she dreams, when she needs help. I want to help guide her through life while she still lives with me.
2. Laugh. A lot. My teen can be very moody. It might be partly heightened because of hormones, but she has also been like that her whole life. =) I try to not let her moods get to me. I laugh. I poke her. I sing funny songs to her. I make jokes to her. I try to make her laugh. The world is mean. I want to teach her to lighten up and let go. That it is not all serious stuff. That there is lots of grace. Laughing helps a lot of things.
3. Remember? The world is mean. I want her to want to be home. I hug her, I give her physical affection. Often we forget our older ones need that. It takes focused attention for me to do that. I want her to know I'm excited to see her. That I want her home. That home is a place for rest and rejuvenation.
4. I close my mouth. I try hard to just listen. I make gentle suggestions to her. I don't tell her what she "should" do. If I preach to her, it will just shut her up. I look for ways to creatively get across my opinion to her. It works sometimes. =)
5. We "greenhouse parent" her. We let her out of the "greenhouse" as she is nearing maturity. The final goal is to have a mature plant that will thrive outside the greenhouse. Letting go is not easy, but needed.
6. I pray. Oh, lordy, I pray. =) It really is the best thing we can do for her. God only knows those deep deep parts that I could never reach.
Like I said, I'm muddling through. I'm praying. And all my efforts won't produce a "perfect" child. In fact, I am not looking to do that. I want a child who learns to lean on the Lord when she is hurt, confused, disappointed, makes mistakes...for anything. I want a child who loves Him. Simple as that. So I do what I think He has called me to do and then I just let go and trust Him.