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Parenting Win: Your Answers When We Asked You To Brag About Your Teens

On our Facebook page, we suggested you “brag about your teen,” and boy, did you ever! In fact, about 200 of you commented. As often happens in this awesome community, many of the comments were all about acknowledging and congratulating others for their great teens.

Proud parents told us about honor roll students, Eagle Scouts, sports phenoms, musicians, artists, and much more—many of whom had overcome significant obstacles to reach their achievements. We even heard about three teens who woke up before 11 a.m. (Amazing!)

But aside from the general kudos for successful teen activities, there were some common traits that came up frequently. Do you see your teen in any of these?

Our teens are go-getters.

We learned that many teens today are working and that even their non-glam jobs teach them valuable skills. Bonus, their jobs allow them to earn enough income to cover some of their own expenses. “My 15-year-old has held the same job washing dishes at a local restaurant for a year, saving money for his first car,” one parent said.

Another has a son who also worked in the demanding food service industry, taking on any role, from running dishes to serving as prep cook.

Another mom was proud of her 13-year-old, who has been spending the summer walking dogs to earn money. She was even prouder when she read a text message from a dog-walking client praising her teen’s work ethic and personality.

Our teens are helping people.

Sometimes we forget how generous and giving teens can be. It was great to learn about their volunteering, charitable work and community-minded social activism. We loved reading stories like this: “After working a full week, my son spent six hours with us putting out flags for the Rotary Club to honor Flag Day. Then he took another route with two friends and continued for three more hours.”

And like this: “My teenage son is giving up two weeks of his already limited summer vacation to serve others through our church. He is going on a mission week to build wheelchair ramps and help fix homes for the elderly. Then, when he comes back, he’ll be serving as a counselor for a vacation Bible school.”

Scrolling through these stories of teens doing good, we couldn’t help but agree with this reader’s comment: “All the GPAs and clubs are wonderful. But this?!? Making a difference in so many lives is amazing.”

Our teens are resilient, courageous and strong.

We read about teens facing tough challenges and learning not only to cope but to thrive. One parent gushed about her son’s resilience in “overcoming toxic family members who attempt to entangle him into codependent relationships.” Another has a son who was diagnosed three years ago as a Type 1 diabetic and has handled it like a champ.

Another parent shared how her daughter, diagnosed as a teen with a chronic disease, dealt with debilitating pain, heart issues and hair loss. “She had to close her business as she was unable to work and missed nearly 90 days of school. She’s rallied through excruciating therapies to regain her strength and some semblance of a ‘normal’ life. She just reopened her business and is headed into her senior year with a 3.2 GPA despite all of her health challenges.”

And this teen took her own struggle and turned it around to help others: “My 17 year-old is on the ‘other side’ of her eating disorder that started because of a BMI exercise her gym teacher had them do. She is now a leader on her high school’s wellness committee and has made many steps to protect her fellow students, including having scales removed from the school and self-destructive health class assignments taken out of the curriculum.

So much to be proud of!

Our teens reciprocate our kindness and caring.

Small kindnesses go straight to our hearts. “BOTH of my boys sat next to me in church (instead of with their friends).” “My three teens bought me an incredible birthday gift TOGETHER.” “My teen boy takes care of me better than any nurse. Many times he has sat up with me holding my hand while I was trying to get through rough nights/days.”

Sometimes they have to really “adult,” as this parent shared: “My soon-to-be junior has had to step up like I never dreamed he would or COULD! My husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and POEMS Syndrome and became very ill, very quickly. Then I needed surgery. Needless to say, when two parents are out of commission and you have three kids in sports, band, etc. … well, you know. In addition, all three go to different schools and the two younger ones don’t have bus access. He took over and also maintained his grades and his own activities, giving us much-needed peace of mind.”

Our teens surprise us at every turn and we can’t help bragging about their accomplishments, no matter how large or small. We’re proud of them for all they do, and most of all for who they are.

Want to swap stories with fellow parents about the ups and downs of life with teens? Head on over now and join our latest conversation on our Facebook page.

Cathie Ericson

Cathie Ericson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, and mom of three teen boys. Read more about Cathie at CathieEricsonWriter.com.

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