I’m a Teen Expert Even Though My Kids Aren’t Teens

Can you be a teen expert without having teens?

Full disclosure: I don’t have teens and I consider myself a teen expert. I’ve spent 15 years working with teens exclusively. I bring them further along and into a better version of themselves. I get teens.  Now as a parent of two young girls, I have more skin in the game. It’s not hard to picture them as the teenage girls they will be soon enough.

Being a parent is very different from being a teacher. As an educator, I helped shape the clay of my students an hour a day. As a parent, I shape their clay everyday. I get the toll the day in, day out takes. Parenting is a practice, a journey, and exhausting, hard work! I rely on the stories and wisdom of others–my village–to help me grow as a parent. My tribe helps normalize my experiences, as well as help me troubleshoot when I’m stuck. Sometimes just hearing other people’s perspective totally changes how I’m seeing a situation.

All kids grow up faster than they have in the past.

My girls are lapping me. By the time my daughters are 13, I’ll need to grow and evolve as a parent. If my reaction to seeing my oldest daughter *flirt* with a boy who “liked” her tells me anything, it’s that I will need to be a Teen Tamer for my own kids soon enough.

(My reaction, btw, was to put on my headphones and play songs from Fiddler on the Roof. And ugly-cry alone.)

As an educator, teen expert, and now a parent, I want help raising empowered people. Thoughtful, kind, inclusive, brave, respectful, independent people. I want you to do the same so they can have a tribe and partners to innovate new solutions and create new messes with.

I want to do my part to deflate the crazy. Our kids are coming of age in a time of anxiety, hysteria, excess and ugliness. I want to be an example of the practical and responsible, but also of the joy, beauty, calm and fun. Even though I don’t have teens yet, I want these things and I’m pretty sure some of you out there can relate.

If you are a parent looking for a tribe to explore your own values and truth with and stand above the noise, welcome. If you want to be a calm, but in-charge implementer of those values, great! This is your place, regardless of how old your kids are!


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