Raising Teens

Widen the Circle

It Takes A Village.

The days are long but the years are short.

You’re gonna miss this….

I’ve heard all of these, and I bet you have to but what don’t we hear often? WHO should be in that village,  WHAT do you do to make the most of the short years, and HOW do you make the most of each phase?

Here’s a little exercise for you: Grab a note card or piece of paper.  On the front, write the name of your child (do one for each!)  On the back, write #1-5 and adults names who currently have permission to speak into and influence that child.  Grandparents, aunts/uncles or other relatives, coaches, teachers, your BF, etc

Wisdom tells us to incorporate these people earlier into our kids lives.  Then they have trusted adults in place when they NEED them to be there.

I want to tell you about Karly & Bridget who are on Kai’s list.  When Kai entered Quest in 6th grade they had just met each other being placed together as small group leaders.  Let me read a recent Facebook post from Bridget as she says it best:

“6th grade, they were all over the place, innocent and naive, and SO talkative we had to use a stuffed animal that got passed around so we could make sure only one person was talking at a time!
7th grade, their emotions were starting to flood them, and we were lucky if we could get through 5 minutes of any discussion without someone crying and then the rest of them swarming to whomever was crying. Focus was sometimes tough, and while we didn’t need the stuffed animal to keep conversation at a minimum, they were still talkative. 
8th grade now, and the maturity level has definitely jumped as they all are preparing for high school. Emotions still come, there are still tears, but now more from bigger, tougher, life decisions and issues. They have learned to respect each other more, swarming during tears doesn’t happen as much, and they all have grown in their level of depth during conversation time. They are still talkative, let’s face it, they’re teenage girls! But, last night, while they reflected, I was reflecting on how much they’ve all grown. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.”

In 6th Grade Karly overheard Kai telling another girl with parents starting the divorce process that “it ain’t no big thang”. Karly made a mental note and she & Bridget started praying for Kai and her parents- that was almost 3 years ago- that when something big did happen Kai would be equipped to handle it. They have been a huge support to Kai during this trying time in 8th grade.

We need to work together with the people in this widened circle.  For the most part, you know where they stand on moral and social issues and you have a mutual respect regarding things shared between your child and this person.  These are people who spend some quality time with your child


Our kids lives are mess– my life is messy!  Kids need a safe place to be when they are messy.

Tips to creating a good list:

  • You know your kids better than anyone
  • Be sure everyone on the list isn’t just like you or your spouse
  • Think about your kids strengths, interests & growth opportunities. Can someone from this list speak into all these areas?

Sometimes these are organic relationships that form like a coach or teacher.  Don’t hesitate to be intentional in these conversations.  I recently brought in an officer friend (See photo above…she wasn’t in trouble!) to explain the dangers of choice made via social media etc.  My BF knows that she doesn’t have to come tell me everything Kai tells her.  That would not build trust, but if it’s big, she’ll let Kai know she needs to talk to me about xyz….

This is easier for some parents, and some kids, than others.  If you are struggling, I challenge you to open your mind to this concept as you’re going to see individual and family benefits today and in the future.  I’m a huge advocate for accountability and bringing in those who can support my strengths with their own, and this applies to parenting as well.

Let me know if you have a good circle or if this is an area where you need some help!


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