I recently was blessed with the opportunity to interview my friend Patty Scott about her new book Parenting Your Teen Through Chaos & Crisis. Here Patty opens up about what propelled her to write on such an important topic, and she also shares some of her best parenting advice. Enjoy!
Q: I know that you recently wrote the book Parenting Your Teen Through Chaos & Crisis. Would you mind providing a short synopsis of what the book is about?
A: Yes, thank you. The book grew out of a desire to bless moms of teens. I realized, as a mother of my own teen, that we can fall into various patterns of thinking and reacting. I wanted to help women release the guilt we sometimes feel as moms and to replace that with healthy ways of seeing ourselves and interacting with our family. In the book I show parents how to move into a role of effective influence in their adolescent’s life. I talk about how to allow and choose consequences that will make a difference. The book also covers how to have a healthy relationship by remaining appropriately connected to your teenager while simultaneously letting them go so they can grow. I close the book by emphasizing the importance of having systems of support in our lives as moms and give examples of good places to find that support. I share a number of simple and practical approaches throughout the book. The book is written with a spirit of hope, encouraging moms that they can survive and even thrive through this stage of motherhood. I wish I could sit face to face with each of the readers, hearing their story of motherhood. Short of that, this book is my way of sitting down and sharing friend to friend.
Q: What inspired you to write Parenting Your Teen Through Chaos & Crisis?
A: Honestly, a lot of my inspiration stemmed from some challenging experiences my husband and I went through with our own son. The more I talked with other moms, the more I heard their stories – stories I had known nothing about despite the fact that I am close with these families. That got me thinking. How many moms are struggling through this stage in silence? I started writing a few blog posts, and the responses I got were so heartfelt and intense. I knew there was a need for moms to receive hope and some concrete tools so they could effectively move through this stage of motherhood.
Q: Who did you have in mind when you wrote Parenting Your Teen Through Chaos & Crisis?
A: I was thinking of moms I know whose children have faced all sorts of struggles ranging from cutting to suicide threats. I thought of kids I knew at our church who had been bullied and other moms I knew whose teens were doing drugs or being promiscuous. I know of other teens who aren’t doing such extremely dangerous or damaging things. Moms of these teens are still facing difficulties and need encouragement and equipping. I wanted to speak into the lives and hearts of all these moms to say, “It’s not your fault, and there is hope.”
Q: Even though your book alludes to parenting teens, do you think parents of younger children can also benefit from reading the book? If so, how?
A: I’ve heard feedback from people, and in some reviews on Goodreads and Amazon saying, “This book isn’t only for moms of teens.” I think the blessing to moms with younger kids might be at least twofold. First of all, it helps to look ahead in order to be a little better equipped and prepared. I know I wish I had more of this kind of truth and encouragement under my belt sooner than I did. Also, moms of younger children can apply some of these principles earlier in their children’s lives, such as how to release guilt, how to form a connected relationship, how to effectively allow and use consequences, and how to sort out responsibility. Not all the principles in the book apply to children of all ages, but I think the book makes it clear where transitions occur so that parenting styles have to adjust. Knowing how to allow our parenting to shift as our children age can really bless a parent, and in turn benefit the whole family.
Q: What do you think the greatest challenge is when it comes to parenting teens?
A: I’d say the biggest challenge is separating while remaining effectively connected. Partly what I mean by that is the separating from their reactions and attitudes so we don’t take them so personally. I see so many moms who get their feelings hurt and then they end up engaging with their teen in ways that are harmful and ineffective. We also need to learn to let go so they can grow up and away. Simultaneously, our teens need our presence and care more than they show it. In the book I go into this in more detail. I would also say, the age of internet, social media, and all that goes with it makes the input coming at our teens extremely challenging to both them and us. We have a larger sphere of influence to navigate, and it can feel extremely overwhelming as a parent. I address this as well in the book. I don’t give it a comprehensive treatment (as the book is intentionally written in eight manageable chapters), but I do give some concrete and helpful ideas as to how we can approach these influences.
Q: What are some of the lessons you have learned as you parent your own teen?
A: I have learned how to listen more than I speak – that is a huge one. I’ve also learned that things are never hopeless. I’ve learned how God uses parenthood to shape us as parents. I knew that, but in rearing my teen, the learning curve has been steep, and the results in my character have been needed and precious. I’ve learned the importance of letting my husband parent in his way – and how to honor him in the process. I’ve learned that teens aren’t as scary or unapproachable as the stereotypes make them out to be.
Q: If you could only give one piece of advice to moms of teens, what would that be?
A: Hang in there. This is a season. It might be really, really hard. Often it’s harder than anything else you have endured so far as a mom. Remember there is hope. Hang onto the fact that this is only chapter 15, 16 or 17 in your child’s life. This isn’t the end of the story. Teenagers do become adults, just like toddlers become elementary school aged children. You will survive this stage of mothering your child – with the proper tools and approach, you can even thrive.
Q: What role does faith play in parenting your teen?
A: It is at the very heart of my parenting. While I don’t quote a Scripture verse on every page of the book, I lean on God in all I do. The biggest gift to me as a mom is knowing in my heart of hearts that my teen is loved by God. I often remind myself that He is the Good Shepherd. He loves His sheep. He will cover my son, run after him, bring about circumstances and people I can’t even begin to imagine or orchestrate. I pray over my teen. My husband and I discuss God with him. Most of all, I surrender him and his life to God. I have a responsibility and a privilege to be a parent. God oversees and guides all I do and when I fail, He writes straight with my crooked lines.
Do you have any other resources you recommend for parents of teens?
- Boundaries with Teens by Dr. John Townsend
- Screens and Teens – Dr. Kathy Koch’s website and book
- Axis – I can’t say enough about their ministry! I would say subscribe to their free weekly Culture Translator by email and watch their free Summits 3-4 times a year.
- Mark Gregston’s ministry and radio program and podcast
- Ask Doctor G (a secular expert on parenting)
- Jane Nelsen on teens
- Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Foster Cline & Jim Fay
What is the best way to connect with you and your resources?
- My book Parenting Your Teen Through Chaos & Crisis is on Amazon.com (Yay!), and I’ll have other books on parenting out this year. I’m currently working on a book for moms about focusing on what matters right now and another which is written in memoir style where I share my life lessons as a mom to help other moms learn from my experiences.
- I also can be reached through my Hearts Homeward blog where I write to encourage and inspire moms to love intentionally while making room for what matters most.
- Any moms who are interested in being a part of an online community to encourage one another in our journey are welcome to request to join The Intentional Motherhood Community.
- I also write on Medium and post a bit of our life and silliness on Instagram.
Patty is a writer/blogger/speaker who has been married to her surfer/skater husband for over 20 years. They have two boys and a home full of neighbor kids most days. Patty writes to encourage and inspire moms to love intentionally while making room for what matters most. Patty has her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves Jesus with a passion and is committed to helping women heal what blocks them from deeper relationship with Him. When Patty isn’t writing, speaking, or pouring into her family, she can be found listening to a good audiobook, gardening, or going to a local Zumba class.