Megan Lacefield is married to her highschool sweetheart and mom to a teenage girl and boy. She loves every opportunity to learn from her mistakes and share what she's learned to help others in their journey. She is by no means the perfect parent, just a mom on the journey to raise her kids in this crazy thing we call life. She serves kids cradle to college, and their families, as the NRGen Pastor at New River in Weatherford, Texas.
As a mom of a teenage girl, in the trenches of parenting, here’s a few things I’ve learned on this journey, raising a teenage daughter in this crazy thing we call life. I learned early on that the key to every healthy relationship is communication. Kids need parents that are in their business, know what’s going on in their world, ask questions, share the stories of their childhood successes and screw-ups, and love them unconditionally no matter what they may say or do. My daughter, our relationship, her choices, are by no means perfect… it’s been quite messy actually, but I know for certain that there are a few key conversations that all parents must have with their teenage daughters. We will call them the non-negotiables.
Be smart. Challenge her to make wise choices. We put a lot of time and energy into telling them what they should or shouldn’t do, teaching them right from wrong, but the most important thing we need to tell them is that all choices are theirs to make, we just want to equip them to make smart ones. In every situation there’s a smart solution and a not so smart solution. Present options for how they can handle situations and ask situational questions like “if you ended up in a car with someone driving crazy, what would you do?”
Be open and honest. Talk to your daughter about how important communication is. I’ve told my daughter since she was very young “the more I know about what’s going on in your world, the more privileges and freedoms you will have.”. Making mistakes or messing up isn’t the big deal, not telling us and letting us walk through it together is. Trust is earned not given freely and the consequences for getting caught are way different than when you confess.
Be you. Ask her the question “who do you want to be and what are you committed to? What are your not willing to compromise?” This applies to dating, drinking, driving and all the other normal teen activities. It’s about getting them to open up. They’ll share a lot if you listen. Have them tell you where they stand on each of those issues, then share where you stand and figure out, together, what the boundaries are. Sometimes they just don’t understand the facts, the dangers or the possible consequences of some things. Recently I had a conversation with a teen that wasn’t my child she asked “is it okay for me to drink with my friends?”. My first response was going to be “NO!” but after a little thought I explained that the legal drinking age is 21, and that means if she were to drink with her friends it’s breaking the law. I also shared with her that it compromises her judgement and could lead to things happening she is unable to control. After she heard the facts she understood the why behind the no.
We want to set this generation of girls up to make decisions based on what’s right and what’s best. We want, as parents, for our kids to make smart choices and be open and honest. If we flat out say no to everything or give them the flippant “because I said so” we haven’t given them a good enough reason to listen. The best thing we can do with teenage daughters is communicate, which involves talking and listening, so they can be who they were created to be.