by Amy Carroll

four teens in school hallPhoto Source

It’s been an interesting summer at the Carroll house. You can read anything you’d like into that word “interesting”…and you’d be right. We’ve lived the whole gamut the last few months.

The last time I wrote, I told stories of my darling little boys during the days of seer-sucker rompers and sand boxes.


Those were sweet days, but I have to confess that I love this phase of parenting, raising teenagers, much more. Lots of you will be shocked to hear it, but it’s true.

beach boys

Note: Please accept my sincerest apologies for my very preppy oldest flashing gang signs. 🙂

I really don’t believe our culture’s message, “Teenagers are terrible. Teenagers are disrespectful. Teenagers are rebellious,” that plays over and over in one form or another on TV, in movie theaters, and in music. I’m finding my boys and their friends to be passionate about God, hilarious, and loads of never-ending fun. For a girl like me who lives to laugh, this is a great season.

But it’s not without its challenges.

Several weeks ago my husband, Barry, and I were strolling hand-in-hand with our bellies full from dining out alone with the Target sign glowing behind us. (There are LOTS of benefits to this season!) We gazed across the parking lot, and a huge grin spread over Barry’s face as he watched a family with five small children clambering into their mini-van. “All those children are going to drive someday,” he snarked. “And those parents don’t even know what’s coming.”

Well now.

Barry’s right. Those parents really don’t know what’s coming, and it’s probably a good thing.

Although teenagers can be wonderful, by definition they’re deeply flawed. Flawed because they’re making more choices on their own. Flawed because the consequences of those choices get bigger by the day. Flawed because they’re trying out different personas and new sets of friends to figure out where they fit. Flawed because they’re in a steep growth pattern that’s scary by its very nature.

For mamas who used to be able to pick out their clothes, schedule their play dates and hustle them out of the store during tantrums, parenting teenagers is painful. We used to be able to at least create the illusion of near perfection in our children, but teenagers drag all the messy out in public. (Social networking exponentially magnifies this truth!)

There is no such thing as a perfect teenager…or a perfect mama for that matter, so we only have one choice. We fall on our knees and let go.

I don’t mean we check out. Our teenagers need us to be engaged parents as never before. Instead, we let go of our idea of what’s “perfect” so we can follow God and be the mom our child truly needs.

I told a friend last summer, “Raising teenagers isn’t for the faint of heart. I get more humble and less judgmental of other parents every day. It’s driving me to my knees and to total dependence on God.”

We fall to our knees, asking God to shepherd us as we shepherd our teens, and we let go.

We let go…to let natural consequences happen.

We let go…and love the friends who don’t fit into our ideal — inviting them to our house, so we can oversee. 🙂

We let go…encouraging our children’s dreams for their lives even when they don’t match our own.

We let go…in order to commit our future adults fully into God’s hands.

Raising teens is my favorite season of parenting so far. Maybe it’s because it’s so imperfect. It’s forcing this mama who wrestles with her own pursuit of perfection to just let go and watch God work.

*Wondering how to decide when to engage and when to let go with your teen? Today Amy is doing a giveaway on her blog for Lysa TerKeurst’s new book The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. Click here to visit Amy’s blog, and leave a comment to enter.

Amy Carroll


*Please comment below with your thoughts! Thanks for stopping by!

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