Parenting Teens: Don’t Forget Their Strengths

Teens are Amazing #parenting #teenagers #strengths

It’s so very easy to focus on all the challenges of parenting teenagers. Even the research shows that teens are often moody, impulsive, and have poor judgment and planning. We all know that those teenage years are stressful and awkward beyond belief for both teens and parents.

Teens often get a bad rap. After recently writing a post about how to cope if your teenager is arrested, I wanted to focus on the positives. I think we owe it to teens and ourselves to keep things in perspective. There are many, many ways that teenagers are amazing.


Sharon Martin Teen Counseling San JoseI have two teenager myself. I love watching their personalities develop. They continue to grow at warp speed (physically, emotionally, intellectually). Teenagers are enthusiastic and energetic; they’ve got new ideas and they can’t wait to try them out. They are willing to take risks. I hope they don’t lose these amazing qualities.


I decided to ask a variety of professionals why they think teenagers are amazing.


Lisa Jacobs and Katrina Kraynick spend more time with teenagers than anyone else I know.  They are the Director and Assistant Director respectively of the Joint Youth Ministry.

Youth Pastor Lisa Jacobs:

“Teenagers are amazing because … they aren’t afraid to look with fresh eyes at systems and routines that seem meaningless and valueless and do something different about it. They are deeply connectional and need to be needed and need others. They haven’t started pretending that they can do life all by themselves with no help from anyone yet…. They aren’t stuck in their ways. They are compassionate and spiritually seeking.”

[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@grow_happiness1, @lisa3cyouth”]Teens are amazing because they aren’t stuck in their ways.[/tweetthis]


Assistant Director of Youth Ministry, Katrina Kraynick:

“Teenagers are wonderful. They are all going through immense physiological and psychological changes, yet they handle it with as much grace as they can. They are goofy, they seek to be loved and to love others. Yes, many of them push away from their parents – however it is because they are thinking critically, forming their own opinions, and developing deep bonds and relationships with their peers.”


Uriah Guilford, Therapist specializing in Teenage Boys:

“I think teenagers are amazing because they face crushing uncertainty and awkwardness and they find ways to survive. They are also curious about the world and seek out and create new experiences. They can be a ton of fun to be around as well.”


Professional Coach Jo Muirhead:

“My teenage son is 15, and is amazing. I love the way he thinks about he world and is forming his own opinions. He makes me question why I have formed my own beliefs. That’s confronting and empowering. He loves helping me grow into today, and to become more 2015 rather than 2000. In fact he thinks I am a cool Mum and that is amazing.”


Claudia Trevithick, Art Therapist:

“Adolescence is a time of increased creativity. When given acceptance and freedom to create, teens are awesome in self-expression.”


Child Therapist Danielle Maxon:

“Teens are at the verge of adulthood, but still carry the dreams and imagination of childhood. It makes them uniquely qualified to envision a positive transformation of the world around us, and put that vision into action.”


Transpersonal Therapist Renee Beck:

Renee Beck teens“The passion & fire with which teens experience life is inspiring! Their minds are expanding, & they ask those Big Questions (Who am I? Is there meaning to life?) that we tend to forget as adults. They are the conscience of our culture, and quick at recognizing what needs to change. They dive deeply into their art, finding new ways to express the internal chaos. And their hearts learn a much deeper & devoted level of love than they were ever able to access before.”




Parent Coach Mercedes Samudio:

“Teens are developing their identities and trying to figure out who they are and who they’ll become. And you have so much influence in helping them learn how to embrace the fullness and fluidity that comes with being an adult!”


Teenagers are amazing! Sometimes we just have to stop and remember how special these almost-grown kids truly are. Go hug your teen (just not in public)!

Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in Northern California, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in CA where she is available for online counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and write the blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today.


  1. Thank you for putting together an excellent article about the positive qualities of teenagers! It is so easy for youth to hold the Shadow of the culture for many adults, & we forget that the Shadow holds many positive aspects of ourselves!

Leave a Reply