On Micro-Managing Teens

I write a blog primarily about preschoolers and homeschooling lots of ages and stages, but my husband and I are charting new territory with teens. Our oldest 3 are 18, 16, and 13, and we are in no way experts on anything pertaining to parenting. I have stated here before that I won't comment too much on the choices we're making with our teens because the variables are too dramatic from teen to teen, family to family. In a word, teens are complicated. You're going to have to rely on the Holy Spirit for these years, and that's just the way He likes it.


However, last week we talked about the Ticket System for disciplining the middle kids (middle = roughly 4-10, give or take a little), and I briefly mentioned John Rosemond's book on teens called Teen Proofing. After reading about 10 pages, I saw myself guilty of the number one thing Dr. Rosemond warns against: micro-managing.

I'm mentioning this to you because I want to make you acutely aware of this temptation now, before some of you have teens. I think we homeschooling moms are particularly prone to micro-management because we have most of the jurisdiction over the day-to-day choices our kids make.

But as they approach the teen years and as you have set a firm foundation all the years leading up to this time, I have one word of advice when it comes to micro-management: DON'T.

Again, I think we homeschooling moms are ripe for micro-management. I was in a conversation with a mom who was scolding her married son for not answering her when she called him over to us. Ladies! DON'T!

I was recently privy to a relationship that was dissolved because the parents were micro-managing their son. They read every text and email, threatened him to get off Facebook, and took his phone away. Did I mention he's a 21-year-old pre-med student? Ladies! DON'T!

A friend told me of sons she knows whose micro-managing father forbid them to go to work one day, and while one went anyway, the other obeyed and lost his job. As a fire fighter. Ladies! (and dads!) DON'T!

Which brings me to Cindy's recent post on Ordo Amoris. Read it, would you? Especially if you're prone to micro-managing everyone in your household.  You can save yourself and your teenage sons a whole load of grief, while being the cheerleader they need you to be. These older teenage boys (especially) need the freedom of making their own decisions, earning an income, and studying what will prepare them for what God has led them to. Trust God to grow them spiritually, even if they make mistakes. And they will.

See that face all the way at the front? The one facing the camera? That's our 16-year-old, playing in his first jazz concert after he spent a week at the Dave Brubeck Jazz Camp. He grew and experienced a lot, and his faith was challenged and strengthened there, even in the midst of godlessness. Can you trust your teens to the Holy Spirit? He'll do a better job than you will.