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What's your best advice for parenting teens? WRAL-TV Facebook fans share heartfelt words of wisdom

Be there. Humor helps. Talk is key. Watch yourself. And other great tips for parents raising teens from those who have been there, done that.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
Amanda Lamb wrote earlier this week about how she wishes there was a handbook for parenting teens. Her post generated some really amazing and thoughtful comments on WRAL-TV's Facebook page yesterday. As a parent of an almost teen, some of these comments made me get a little teary as I gear up for this next adventure in parenting. 

I'd thought I'd share these truly wise words. Thank you, WRAL Facebook fans, for your heartfelt advice. Parents: We got this!

Be there

"Know how to pick your battles. It is just hair and as long as the important parts are adequately covered, the clothing fads will pass. Remind them their grades are their paycheck for their job of attending school. And just BE there. I have found teenagers need us just as much as toddlers ... to listen and guide. And sometimes, as hard as it is, you have to let them fail in order to learn from their mistakes so they can grow," Wendy F.

Humor helps

"Use humor, but mean it! Ex: Do I need to come to school with you? Sit beside you in every class? Knitting? Wearing my bathrobe and fuzzy slippers?" Amy H.

Talk is key

"Talk to them about everything. Don't be shy. Always always let them know they can call you if the yare doing something or somewhere they shouldn't be." Lisa G.

Sage advice

"Father of four, ages 14 to 21. Look. It's easy. If you've parented well for the first 12 years, then parenting teens is not a problem. The problem is that most people screw up in the first 12 years and then expect things to go differently in the teen years. Expectations for behavior are set early in life, not when the child reaches 13.

For the record:
My eldest is an Airborne Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg
My second is valedictorian of her class, straight-A student
My third is a sophomore in an Early College program, A-B student
My youngest is a freshman in the Early College program

All of them hold black belts in karate and are generally remarkable people." Keith W.

Karate belts

Watch yourself

"Know that they are paying attention to your actions at all times. How you treat their mother, friends and other people is embedded in them. Your actions are leaving your legacy." Sam B.

Don't tune out

"Be interested in their lives and their friends. Let them talk to you, especially about the little dumb things. They'll never come to you with the big stuff if you don't seem interested in the little stuff. If you show you care and can chat comfortably, the sky's the limit!!" Deanna W.


Focus on the important stuff

"Explain the values of life and how to respect self and others, show the value of always saying the truth and to always do what's right based on the values!!! Listen and continue to guide them!!! Everything else falls in place." Leonel A.


"Spend time with [them] each day. Stay involved with them and their friends. Keep them in church!!! And pray, pray & pray more for God's will to be done with their life." Lisa S.

Hold back the smartphones

"Don't give them a smartphone until they know how to wash dishes, wash and fold laundry, vacuum and sweep the floors and shower at least 3x a week." Brian S.

Pay attention

"Listen to them when they speak." Melissa H.

Decide if it's worth the fight

"Pick your battles. And the 1 year/5 year rule. (Will this matter in one year? Will this matter in five years?)." Kathryn D.

Start now

"Don't wait til they are teens to start raising them. And save the big guns for the big stuff. There will be big stuff." Louise J.

So many words of wisdom out there from some amazing parents. Keep up the great work!


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