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A Different Kind Of Parenting

Parenting in the teen years can be a rollercoaster. There are so many ups and downs and twists and turns that whiplash becomes part of our daily routine. Though the good times certainly outweigh the bad, there are moments when we just need to hit the pause button and speak with our Father for wisdom.

I often find my prayer line to God turned on constantly. The words I often hear coming out to Him are asking for patience, guidance, wisdom, peace and maybe a little quiet too. I try to act like I have everything together, but that isn’t always the case.

Inside I am struggling with finding the right way to address a meltdown or a comment from one of my daughters. As with some of you, there is an extra layer of complexity with adoption and trauma being part of our mix. While sometimes our tendency is to gloss over that factor, it is part of their story, and it does affect the lens used to view their life.

While each story doesn’t always look the same, trauma is trauma and when dealing with a difficult behavior or situation, peering through that lens will help you have a more patient understanding of what your teen is possibly feeling.

If you don’t feel the trauma aspect applies to your situation, please know that it possibly could and you don’t know it. Situations with friends at school can leave a lasting mark. Things that we said to me in middle school and high school still sting today and have changed the way I approach situations and how I view myself.

Kids may have witnessed something at school or seen something on social media that leaves a mark in their mind and it might be triggered in a situation. When my girls come to with something that is bothering them, I am honored that they would trust me with this even after it came after a meltdown. They are wanting to talk about these big feelings and that is healthy.

Please know there is help if you find yourself in over your head. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

My first inclination is to send up a quick reframing prayer. Asking God to grant you wisdom and clarity is essential. There are resources at the church to assist and Saddleback Parents is a great tool. Building a group of families that have kids in the same age group is essential.

You will quickly find that you are not going through something unique, but others are in the same boat. God didn’t intend for us to move through life alone but to make friendships and connections to help us through tough times. I don’t know where I would be without having our small group forge ahead with confidence.

All this to say, you are doing better than you are giving yourself credit for. We are humans walking in a broken world, doing our best to raise our kids in a world that isn’t our final home. By the grace of God, we are able to lean into Him during times of hardship and know that He loves our kids more than we ever could, but man, do we love our kids through it all.

What a gift He has given us! “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13


  • Jennifer Norton

    Jenn is a Pastor on the Lake Forest Mission Team focusing on local mission/ministry efforts and discipleship. Her heart is for those who are hurting and feel they are in the margins. She wants them to know they are seen and loved by their Creator. She is a creative writer for several online platforms and is working on her first novel that will offer hope to those struggling in their faith. After marrying her Prince Charming, Brandon in 2004, God has blessed them with two adopted daughters, each with a unique and amazing story. Loki is their rescued lab/shepherd/snuggle bug mix who keeps them very entertained and well hugged. Jenn earned her BA in Non-Profit Management/Public Relations from Chapman University in 2001 and graduated from Gateway Seminary in May 2023 with a Masters in Theological Essentials. An enteral optimist, she is an expert at seeing the sunshine in most situations and is always looking for a way to brighten your day with a funny quip or a big smile. A little known fact, Jenn used to be on an Improv Comedy troupe and was involved in many acting projects back in the day and would love to find a way to combine her love of performing and Jesus to spread the Good News.

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