Posted by: coachingparents | January 9, 2009


By Becky Kapsalis

Parenting teenagers presents an entirely unique set of challenges for parent/child relationships.  Even though this is the same child, something physiologically, emotionally and mentally, takes a hold of this child during the teen years and presents different parenting challenges.  While they are   experiencing teenage growing pains, we’ve been through it, so we can identify what worked and what didn’t work while we were teenagers.  We need to tap into our own experiences as teenagers to  parent in the way we rememberi how we felt when we were encouraged by our parents. The times and circumstances may be different but the ‘feelings’ remain omnipresent.

 Changing our parenting style from giving orders or giving in to offering encouragement empowers our teens to make decisions that are in his or her best interest.  Our words of encouragement level off their up and down swings, helping them maintain a balance between self-indulgence and self-respect.   Examples of how to encourage our teenagers:

  • “I noticed how much you enjoy caring for animals Susan.  Let’s visit a veterinary hospital Saturday.” (encourages a potential career choice)
  • “Because you’ve shown great responsibility in filling the gas tank and coming home on time Sam, it makes me want to give you the car more often. (encourages responsibility)
  • “Sticking with a difficult project to its completion tells me a lot about your capabilities Jordan.” (encourages  perseverance)

The one proven constant that has immeasurable positive effect on the teen year is genuine encouragement.  Parenting experts agree when teenagers are encouraged they learn to appreciate their own capabilities, they feel empowered in making wise decisions and they feel worthwhile.

Incorporate encouraging one-liners throughout the day such as:

  • “There isn’t anything you can’t accomplish when you put your mind to it”,
  • “Follow your dreams”
  • “I trust your decision” 
  • “Look at the progress you’ve made”
  • “I respect the choices you’re making”
  • “Wow.  Look at what you’ve accomplished”
  • “You’re such a good team player”

For encouragement I would give my children this daily ‘cheer’ before they went off to school or an event.  “Give a little – give a lot – give it everything you’ve got.”  As teenagers they would roll their eyes and give me a funny look but deep in my heart I knew they felt encouraged to be the best people they could be.  I especially know this now because I over hear them saying this to our grandchildren as they go on their way.  


Becky Kapsalis, aka “Ask Yiayia”, a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 21, has taken on the role of ACPI Certified Coach for Parents to empower parents to empower their children to foster family values into tomorrow’s generation of parents.  She writes for a local Indiana newspaper, is an ACPI contributing blogger, certified facilitator for Pam Leo’s Connection Parenting and Chick Moorman’s Parent Talk systems, speaker and Parenting by Heart according to Yiayia, Founder.  Yiayia is the Greek name for Grandmother.  Her tag line is “Where you are I’ve been …Where I am you’re coming.”


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