Fifteen Things to Tell Your Teenager Before They Close Their Eyes to Sleep
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Fifteen Things to Tell Your Teenager Before They Close Their Eyes to Sleep

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Fifteen Things to Tell Your Teenager Before They Close Their Eyes to Sleep

by Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

Having a teenager is not only one of the most challenging times in a marriage, but also one of the most challenging times in our lives. It is scary, frustrating, and chaotic. It is a time of letting go, enforcing rules, strengthening boundaries and also nurturing. Teens may appear to be fighting against us at times—rebelling from our rules, pointing out our inadequacies, and telling us how “out of it” we are. However, they also still love and need us. They need their mom and dad to stay strong and enforce the rules that help make them feel secure. There are certain things teenagers really need to hear from their parents. We don’t always get the chance to say these things when they’re most relevant. However, we can say them at night when the child is relaxed and going to sleep. Also, teens offer less resistance at night just before bedtime. They will remember what we said, and they will reflect on it when we least expect it. Below are 15 things that you can say during your child’s teen years:

  • No one will ever love you in the same way or have your best interests at heart than your mom/dad and I will.
  • You have so many gifts and options; I will help you capitalize on them as best I can.
  • How can I help you reach your dreams?
  • No matter what you confide in me, I will always love you and do what is best for you.
  • My job is not to be your buddy. I’m your parent and will love and mentor you.
  • I’m sorry. (Say this whenever you hurt your child, or your child is in pain from something someone else said to them.)
  • I embrace your friends, but I love you the most.
  • It’s okay to mess up; I do it all the time.
  • I’m sorry you don’t like my rules, but you have to abide by them. I will hold you accountable if you break them and there will be consequences.
  • If you are in trouble, call me first no matter where you are. I may be angry, but my first concern will always be your safety. We will talk about punishment or consequences later.
  • You are an integral part of this family, and the family needs you to run smoothly.
  • I don’t care what your friends get to do. I’m not their parent; I am yours, and you are my main responsibility and concern.
  • I admire you more than you can ever understand.
  • If you get in trouble at school, be honest with me. Your teacher is the authority at school and if I hear it from your teacher before I hear it from you, I will feel betrayed or deceived. I may react to this breach of trust.
  • From the first time I saw your eyes, I vowed to be the best parent I could be for you. I make mistakes, but they are not meant to hurt you. I make them because I love you so much and get scared sometimes. It’s hard parenting a teen (your child will understand this confession)

.Your children’s teen years are short. However, this is an integral time for your children since it can influence the relationship they have with you into adulthood. Hold strong boundaries, talk with them, listen to them, and tell them frequently with a hug how much you love them. They will make it through this time in their lives, and so will you.

Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at and more about
Rapini at
Start Talking features succinct yet lively answers, sample conversations, and real life stories to help open the door to better mother/daughter communication. Rapini and Sherman have compiled more than 113 questions girls (and their moms) routinely ask – or should be asking – about health, sex, body image, and dating.