Raising teenagers is a series of micro-moments designed to flummox you. Every struggle is unique--likewise, every child, every situation, every solution, every answer to every frustrating challenge that springs like a leak in the hull of your family ship.
Every day--often many times in a day--living with teenagers requires us to make split-second, adult decisions. It is exhausting. It is tempting to look the other way, or take a nap, or check out entirely.
The parents I admire most do the opposite. When teenaged drama threatens their peaceful course, these parents treat it like a wake-up call.
Parents who raise responsible, well-adjusted children resist the urge to hibernate. They wake up. They engage and step back simultaneously, in order to gain the perspective they need.
And always, in every moment, they ask three vital questions. You can do it, too -- and you should, before making any decision involving your hormonal, crazy, adolescent daughters and sons.
Because we all love a good visual, I've turned the whole sequence into this flow chart.
What to Do When Your Teenager is Driving You Nuts (and You Don't Know What to Do):
For a great example of one parent who puts this chart into action, see my post "Surf's Up: Great Moments in Parenting History." To learn more about how to KNOW, PROTECT and HONOR in those micro-moments, try this: "How Great Parents Face the Trials of Adolescence."