mel studer imperfectly empowered podcast with ahna fulmer

The 7 C’s Of Parenting Teens

Share With A Friend

Teen parenting mentor and author of College Bound: The Ultimate List Of Conversations To Help Your Teen Through High school, Mel Studer shares her expert advice on parenting teens to thrive. 


  • Mel’s experiences of being a mom vs. being a teen coach
  • Strategies for handling conversations with your teen effectively
  • The 7 C’s of parenting teens and how to implement them in your home
  • Practical ways to let your teens use technology in a balanced and healthy way
  • A parenting tip for raising well adjusted teens



Melanie Prather Studer is a wife, mom, educator, speaker, and parenting mentor. She’s the mom of three great kids in their teens and early 20s. She’s a teacher of preschool, elementary, and middle school -you could say that she’s seen it all. Her blog Parenting High Schoolers is where she shares ideas for parents of teens, mom self-care, resources, insights, and inspiration for you as you travel this road called life. You can also find her on YouTube, where she shares short sound bites about life with teens.


Enter your email below and unlock access to exclusive podcasts, recipes, DIYs, home decor ideas, health & wellness tips, and more.

Ahna Fulmer Signature

Chart your progress. So use a checklist to see your accomplishments. That’s more for your teens. Like you don’t necessarily need to chart your progress on how it’s going with your kid, although you may wanna just keep a journal in middle school. It’s a great time to try new things. So you might make a list of things they might wanna try, like a foreign language, an instrument.
A sport, join a club. That’s a great time to kind of make a list and then when they get to high school, maybe they expand that list. Welcome to the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast with DIY Healthy Lifestyle blogger Ahna Fulmer empowering you to transform your life. One imperfect day at a time. Hi, and welcome back to another episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast.
I’m your host, Ahna Fulmer . If you are watching this on YouTube, I apologize. We have a really weird video thing going on. I sat down here and realized suddenly my video camera does not work. I am using the really horrible computer one. It looks super weird. My apologies. We will get that figured. For another day, but I am super excited to introduce to you Mel Studer.
Mel is a teen parenting mentor and coach, and the author of the highly regarded book, college Bound, the Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen through High School. She is here to share her expertise on thriving with teens. She’s going to share the seven CC’s. of successful teenage parenting. You do not wanna miss these.
Welcome mentor and coach Mel Studer. We will find out. Well, speaking of children, I, this is so fun to have you here. I love, we have a lot of coaches on here, but I especially love and we have coaches that are really niche down to a very specific population and target market, if you will, and teens especially.
My oldest is, Going on 20 . Mm-hmm. . And actually my five year old is really, she’s five going on 15, I should say. She’s the one I feel like is more the teenager. But I love that you specifically work with teens and there’s so many areas that I’m excited to hone in on. You have three kids currently, is that right?
I do. They’re all boys. And what ages are they? . So my oldest is a 20. He’ll be, oh, he’s 25. Wow. And then my middle is gonna be 23 in a couple weeks, and then my youngest is 18. He’s a senior in high school right now. So when we talk about. Your experience, like you’ve been there, you’ve done that, you’ve kind of gone through the process.
And I think that’s an important thing to highlight because it’s challenging sometimes when you’re in the midst of it to see it clearly. And it’s also hard when you are before it, but we always say like, hindsight vision is 2020. So I think it’s also a blessing to be on the side of it that you are, where you’re sort of able to also look back and be.
In real time, like, I could have done this, or maybe I should have done this, right? There’s a lot of that. I mean, no parent is ever perfect by any means. So in part of my background as well, besides being a mom to three, almost grown practically ground boys, and I say that because 25 is when they say that their brain is completely developed and his case.
So they say pretty close. But I’ve taught preschool for 11 years. I’ve taught elementary for nine, and then I’ve taught middle school. Bless you. And so what was the worst? Which one was the worst? Which was the hardest? I mean, those are some significantly middle school. Yeah. Yeah. If you would’ve told me in college that I would ever have taught preschool, I would’ve said, No way.
You know what? I think those are kind of my favorite, my little people. Ah. And I think you just realize over time, maybe after being a mom, I don’t know, there’s so much you can do when they’re little. Mm-hmm. , they’re just like little sponges. They’re still sponges in middle school. They just don’t want, they’re not very receptive.
They’re drying up as sponges. Their ideas have kind of been formed. Their concept of the world that they live now. Right. And they’re kind of. . I call them my snarly toddlers. You know, they’re, yeah, they still have a lot of toddler esque behaviors, attitudes. They revert in a lot of ways, but they’re, they’re not cute.
They smell and they, like you said, they’ve already formed some of their own opinions, which, yeah, that’s a fun time. Basically, when it comes to my five year old, I’m screwed. That’s the bottom line cuz she’s basically a middle schooler in a tiny little five year old package. I know I used to tell my boys, you know, it’s so good that you’re cute because I would so put you up in that window.
Sometimes. I mean, you know, they just look at you and they’re so cute and they say something and you’re like, really? Wait, wait a second. I know you’re cute, but that was totally uncalled for . Right, right. Oh, it’s so true. So you, so then talk to me a little bit about how you went from being a teacher to now being a teen coach.
Tell me about that transition. Well, that’s an evolution that I am still in the process of. So over the last 30 years, I’ve been a mom for 25 plus. I’ve been an educator in different ways. Through all of that, none of it was all together or in a straight line. I think when my oldest son was 14, which was now what, almost 12 years ago.
That’s scary. Crazy. When he hit middle school, my husband and I were like, oh, you know, this hasn’t been terrible. He’s a pretty good kid. We’re patting ourselves on the back. And then something happens when they turn 14 for real, not just the adding on the age like you are. And they sort of start to shut you out and they wanna be alone and their friends are more important.
And I think we realized, oh my. This is not gonna work for us because we’d always been really close with our kids and have him push back was really difficult to experience. And so that’s when I actually started writing my book, trying to, I was just trying to research like, what can I do? How can we go back to what we had?
And here’s what I have to say. After researching, writing a book, starting a blog is. You can’t ever go back, but you can create some bridges to get over those middle school years. You don’t sit back on your laurels and think, oh, we’ve done a great job. Because even if you have teenagers are specific and important and special beasts.
They are gonna start to push back and they are gonna want their independence. But if you’ve bridged that gap, if you’ve stayed in touch, if you’ve stayed in communication, you’ve created some systems to stay connected. Mm-hmm. , it’s still gonna happen. But you’ve got this basis for staying. Sort of in mesh, it doesn’t mean it’s gonna be perfect.
Yeah. But I will say the other two boys, when we didn’t drop the ball on like having a, you know, sort of a one-on-one meeting once a month or once every six weeks when their grades came out, there was less of that snarly, 14 year old mm-hmm. attitude. Mm-hmm. , I’m not saying. Was perfect cuz it’s not going to be, but I feel like we didn’t assume anything.
Yeah. And I think that’s where we get into trouble as parents. Yeah. Is we assume, oh, things are great or he’s a good kid, or we’ll never have a fight, so stop. Yeah. Well then use. Start to assume, you start to subconsciously assume the resistance or the struggle as a reflection of your parenting. Correct.
And that’s a danger I think, especially as a mom too. And you made the point, and I wanna touch on this again, I’ve not been to this place, but I have eyes, you know, I can observe. Yeah. And I think sometimes as a mom too, the danger is that. , you see the independence as a bad thing and like the pulling away when in reality.
that’s actually a good thing cuz you are preparing them to ultimately be independent once they leave the house. So it’s maybe also flipping the narrative in our minds that we actually don’t want our teenager on our hip , like we no longer want them to actually have that kind of connection. And I think if they are on our hip, then perhaps we have not done something well.
Right. We’re not actually preparing them to have independent thought and to think critically and not just be like, well, I was raised to think this. Yeah, there’s a quote and I’m gonna butcher it. Something like, you’re supposed to raise our kids to move away, to move on, to move forward. And so if you’ve done your job well they, those are the sort of behaviors that you’re gonna wanna start seeing now.
There are obviously nicer ways for them to handle and. I mean, it’s a 50. It is a hundred hundred, not even 50 50. It is if your kid is snarly and in a bad mood, like my instant reaction and I have gotten so much better over the years. I mean, I’ve had a teenager for many, many years. You can’t knee jerk. You just have to like take a deep breath.
You have to count to a hundred if you need to. You maybe even ask for your own time out to. Reframe your thoughts, realize that well, their brains aren’t developed. I mean, I mentioned that earlier. There’s so much research, but in the time, and especially with your first like, whoops, my little pop screen, the you do react because yeah, I think if you’ve come from a place of you’ve been, you know, a supportive parent and you’ve, and you have done your job, a lot of times you’re used to just responding.
But I have a tone problem. Constantly reminding myself, like, okay, take a step back. Mm-hmm. . And because of that, I have gotten a lot better about asking for forgiveness, giving myself a timeout, and then just trying to stay in conversation during these times. Like, I can tell and, and my boys know, like, you know what, what you’ve just said is, What I maybe necessarily wanted to hear or mm-hmm.
was hoping for, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And I think that’s where we can’t assume that what they want or what they’re thinking is gonna be in line with what we are thinking. Sure. Yeah. You mentioned tone, and I think tone is an important thing to hone in on for a second. This is something that my husband and I had to learn as.
So I worked in emergency medicine for 10 years, and one of the things that you learn really, really quickly is that your tone very much can lead a conversation as an emergency medicine provider. So you learn to kind of like level out a little bit. Even if in inside you’re actually thinking like, oh my gosh, this person’s gonna crash on me.
This person is gonna code right here. But on the outside, , you’re calm, you’re collected, you know, you are not in any way conveying on the outside what your internal alarm is doing on the inside. In addition to that, if you have a really aggressive patient, you learn to then hyper compensate on the other side to actually use your tone to help bring down their level of, it’s like all these non-verbal ways to sort of.
Deactivate a situation. So I came into parenting I think in some ways pooling some of those experiences, life skills, techniques, . Yeah. Into parenting. But it was something that, it was interesting for my husband and I to have these conversations and recognizing like how our tone. And how we’re responding to our child can very much either inflame the situation or it can deescalate the situation.
And so what advice would you give to somebody because I think it is so true that a lot of parents actually have no idea how they sound. Meaning I think there are people who actually sound a lot angrier. than they even realize. Right? Or they might sound more critical and nagging than they realize. Like how do we take a step back and actually hear ourselves?
How do we even know how somebody might be hearing us? That’s a great question. I think just shy of recording yourself. Yeah. Might be to frame that as a question to your kids. Like when mommy talked, and you could even start this when your kids are five. It could just be a little simple convers. Out of a moment of heat and just say, how did you feel when we talked about you taking the dog out or whatever.
I mean, a five-year-old’s not gonna be doing that, but some kind of a little maybe, and maybe you know that you were, or maybe you have a feeling. And I think if we stop and do some self-analysis, a lot of times we, maybe, we don’t think we sound as bad as we do, but based on the way our children react to us, I think that should be a clue.
Mm-hmm. and. That is one thing when, when we started to try to reconnect with our, at the time 14 year old, we started a little notebook and I mean, it literally was like a spiral notebook and things that he was thinking or had questions about or was worried about or, and there were times in it when as I would receive the notebook or my husband would receive the notebook from him, sometimes it said, , I felt like you were really mad at me and it was maybe a conversation.
We weren’t mad at all. So that’s when I sort of realized that, and I already knew that my tone could be kind of sharp. I mean, I was a teacher, so like, yeah, I had to be pretty, and I was a pretty firm teacher and I thought, you know what? I don’t want him to ever, I want him to know when I’m mad. And so if he’s thinking, I’m mad now.
I need to tone that way down. Mm-hmm. And so that would be a way, especially if they’re older, that you could do some communicating, is have them write their thoughts down. I’m a firm believer in not just family meetings, but one-on-ones, and we did them all through elementary with our kids. Every six weeks they would get what’s called an I P R, which is interim progress.
I think as A I P R. Anyway, it was a good opportunity. It was a good excuse to speak with each one individually, and they would come to Kenton, I, and we would talk about grades, good or bad, what were their goals for the next six weeks? And we would talk, take that time to talk about like what sport were they in or what was coming up and.
It was just kind of a good time to check in with them and that’s what we had kind of dropped with my oldest when he got to middle school. We’re like, oh, he’s got it. We’re good , so not so much. Don’t stop. And if you haven’t started those conversations, the thing about this isn’t my notebook for the boys, but at the back I would have a list of like, I would make a list of things that I wanted to make sure that we talked about that maybe like, you know, you have.
eventually talk about driving or sex or those kinds of things. But think about the little things too. What happens if someone asks to take you somewhere? This is like when they’re teens and they just have gotten their license. Like, how are you gonna feel as a parent? So what is your answer gonna be?
Because that is gonna happen all of a sudden. And there are so many things like as you’re talking to your friends and they have teens ahead of you, write down things that you’re like, Ooh, we need to talk about that. Cuz you’re never gonna get it all covered, but at least you’ve. A guideline for yourself, cuz the big stuff you’re gonna cover, you know that you’re not gonna forget.
Mm-hmm. . But it’s some of the little stuff. What is going to be a consequence if they get a low grade? You know? And what is a low grade in your opinion? Like in our house we ask for As and Bs. Uh, C, if you’re really working hard and you’re struggling, all three of my boys. Have some sort of a d d of some sort.
None of ’em are severe, but math and science were really hard, oddly for them, as long as they were trying, you know, Had to be Okay. Anything below his 70. Yeah. We needed to talk about and make a plan. Yeah. But well, and grades are such a fickle thing because the fact is you could have an incredibly intelligent child who gets a’s no problem and has learned no life skills because they don’t know work ethic.
And then you could have the kid who is just struggling intellectually and gets all Cs, but he’s learned life skills cause he is worked his butt off to get those Cs. So I, it’s interesting. I feel like grades have kind of shifted. I, my husband’s a teacher as well, and we talk about this a lot, like education needs to change a little bit because it’s such a life skills versus like numbers.
You know, what good is an A, if they’ve learned no skills, , you know, it’s like trying to reframe the idea that it’s about work ethic and setting a goal and meeting that goal as opposed to sort of like, , it’s quote unquote standard of success. Right. And I, there’s some, like, there’s a quotient system. There’s like iq.
There’s eq, which we’re starting to hear more about. Emotional quotient. Mm-hmm. . There’s also now adversity quotient. And so if you do have a child, and this is as, as a teacher and a mom, if you have a child that’s breezing through school, you need to find something that does challenge them. It doesn’t have to be school related, but that is going to show them what it is like to get frustrated and to have to stick with something.
Maybe a club or a project, or it could be anything but mm-hmm. , because that is what is really lacking in a lot of these kids that are getting out into the real world and they, they can’t. They can’t do anything. They give up. Yeah. They can’t handle criticism. They can’t handle, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I think that’s a point for those of you listening and watching is also pulling in that concept of making sure that there’s also not just like a sheltering from struggle or, okay, your kid’s getting all As, so you’re good.
Well, maybe , maybe, and getting an A in calculus is not actually going to create a successful. No. And you know, honestly, honestly, as someone who’s been on the back end, you know, as you’re putting together that resume when they’re in high school for either college or military or, or even a gap year, they’re gonna need a resume for a job, whatever it is, they need to be able to put something on there besides school.
And so maybe the job they get needs to be a little challenging, you know? And. And have things bulleted under that job experience where I was able to create a project on my own or, you know, I struggled with this, but this is what I learned and that kind of thing. Um, cause a well-rounded resume outta high school is, is key to.
A lot of opening whatever door they’re headed into next. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well rounded being the key there for sure. We’re gonna take a quick break, but we come back, stay tuned for a speed round of this or that with Mel, and we are going to hear more of her expert advice on connecting with teens right when we come back.
You have tried it all, worried you will never lose the extra weight or reclaim the energy you once enjoyed. Want to. Fat loss without spending hours in a gym or eliminating entire food groups from your diet. Well, now you can in the virtual faster way to fat loss. With Anna, my six week fitness nutrition program, you will learn how to pair effective 30 minute workouts with all natural evidence-based nutritional strategies to leverage what you eat and when you eat, to reset your metabolism and burn fat fast.
Even that stubborn belly. I am a dual certified nurse practitioner, passionate about teaching sustainable strategies to promote fat loss and prevent disease. I have cheered on thousands of clients who have done just that with the Faster Way program. In my six week program, the average client currently sheds seven inches of body fat.
93% report more energy and 89% state that their mental health has improved. 100% of clients report. They feel this program is sustainable. Curious to try the program, but not sure if the strategies will work for you. Try the faster way strategies for free. Head to and sign up for.
Free seven day fat loss accelerator course today and start your own transformation story. We are back here with Mel. Okay, Mel, we’re gonna play a round of this or that. No stress, just one or the other. Would you rather teach math or English? English? . Mm Truth. Okay, so then going with English, would you rather teach British literature or American literature?
Ooh, gosh. Honestly, that would be a toss up. I love both. My oldest son took Brit Lit in high school and he loved it. I don’t know. I feel like there’s a lot of American authors that our kids are completely unaware of, so I, I guess I. . Stick with that. The American literature. I’m a Brit lit nerd. I love British literature.
Mm-hmm. candy or baked goods? Oh, probably baked goods. Brown. . Yeah, just straight. Do you have any like special I love brownies with this in it? Or just give me the chocolate. Give me the chocolate. Yeah. Okay. Well, here’s a really controversial question. Boxed brownies or homemade brownies. You know, I’m gonna have to go with boxed because A, who doesn’t have an egg and oil and they’re right.
And they’re so good. They are so, they’re so good. So, And I under them. So they’re a little chewy. Yes. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. I knew I liked you. Yeah. . Don’t over bake my baked goods. Who wants dry baked goods? All right. No, no, no. Add a movie, candy or popcorn. Ooh, I’m gonna go with popcorn. Popcorn. I always love telling people this.
I had somebody, people get real, like the moviegoers know exactly what they want at their movie, and I had somebody say that they do both. They put their m and ms in the popcorn. My mom. I was like, all right. Something little bit like that. She puts her peanuts in, I wanna say her Pepsi or something. I do like my junior men’s and my popcorn together, but not mixed, like I like sweetened.
Yeah. The sweet and salty peanuts in her soda. Yes. That’s like a, I don’t even know how that works. Fifties thing that like her, a lot of her friends do it. Yeah. Doesn, that sound you, you drink it with a, I’m real distracting. I You drink it with a straw at the bottom. I don’t know what. Yeah. Oh, and then you have soggy peanuts.
Yeah. . Oh yeah. No, not for me. Nobody ever that they want. Oh yeah. I like my junior Manza. Couple of those. Yeah. And then popcorn. That would be a good combination. I can get behind that. Wow. Peanuts and soda. . I don’t like either of them separate. So together sounds really challenging. Really gross. You mentioned like multiple different things sort of as we were sort of entering into this expertise on connecting with teens.
Parenting teens. You’ve used the word connect multiple times, and I do think if you could boil it down to one word, what is the one word success story for raising teens? Seems like connection is is the key there, but I love you have something that you call the seven C. Of parenting teens. And I like, there’s a graphic here that’s really nice.
In fact, we can probably include this in the show notes. How’s your little copy right there at the bottom? But all right, so tell us about the seven Cs of parenting. And y’all need to print this out. Put it on your fridge, bedside table. Um, , yes, in your Bible, these are all common sense, but honestly, if you’re like me and you like to see something written in front of you, , this is what you’re for.
So control what you can connect with a friend. Now, this is not necessarily, this could be for you. or your team because like they need to connect with their friends if they’re having a rough day. But like if you are having a rough day with your teen, you need to connect with your friends. Yeah. Um, I think that’s a really important piece to plug in there, that I would also encourage those of you listening, no matter how old your children are, you have to find people that are in the same boat.
Like that is so crucial. I mean, the girls that I, my girlfriends, we have to have kids that are the same age in order to truly connect. So if you don’t have any, like try to find some, even if you’re not best friends, I do think it’s crucial. Like, is my kid normal? It’s like then you realize, oh, okay, Yeah.
Yeah. This is a normal, like this is a normal behavior. Yeah. Yeah. This is another great time to look for a mentor mom. I’m a huge on that. Oops, sorry. I’m saying my timer was telling me to go feed my dogs a mentor mom, someone that’s just a step or two ahead of you that maybe has a kid a year or two ahead.
That’s a good thing too, is just to reach out to them and say, when Tommy was. Five. Did they? Whatever. Okay, so chart your progress. So use a checklist to see your accomplishments. That’s more for your teens. Like you don’t necessarily need to chart your progress on how it’s going with your kid, although you may wanna just keep a journal.
But kids, what are you having them? When you say a checklist for your accomplishments, like what are you having a teen? Think through. Okay. In those terms. So especially in middle school, it’s a great time to try new things. So you might make a list of things they might wanna try, like a foreign language, an instrument, a sport, join a club, that’s a great time to kind of make a list.
And then when they get to high school, maybe they expand that list. Get a job, take care of job, or maybe they paired down the list. Do you also like, is there a place then to give them the understanding, now’s the time to try things with the idea that once you get to high school, maybe now you have a better sense of, oh, this is something I’d really like to spend more time doing.
A hundred percent. It’s like you’ve, okay. , right? You may decide in middle school that you hated tuba, but maybe you wanted to try percussion or maybe music isn’t the thing for you, right? Maybe you’re gonna just do sports or, or whatever. Mm-hmm. . Or maybe you decided in middle school that you didn’t like football so much, but you’re gonna try basketball.
Mm-hmm. and on my website, parenting high schoolers, I have a lot of middle school specific blog. for just that kind of thing. I think a lot of times our kids need to see that they have accomplished something. So like make some goals at the beginning of each school year or at the end of the school year.
What is something you wish you would’ve done that you might wanna try next year? It’s never a bad time to have a conversation with your teenager, ever. It’s always a good time. And so then they can see, oh yeah, I did. I. Like I made a list of six things and I tried three. Hey, that’s a great accomplishment.
Okay, so it for also for the kids chip in around the house, like studies show that even helping your parents out around the house will help you meet, feel better. So like that is to, hmm, just encourage that interaction with the family and again, a little. Independence is great and I am all about kids having time on their own, in their room.
But I will preface that by saying if they really want to be alone in their room, then the phone doesn’t come with them because mm-hmm. , that’s with someone, that’s with social media, that’s with friends. Right. Exactly. Maybe put an there if they want some music, but, and no computer, cuz they have ways to get mm-hmm.
connected, you know, it’s just, Maybe 30 minutes to an hour of time to just decompress after school or before they start homework. And in our house, the door could be closed, but at the end of the hour they had to open the door. They didn’t have to come out. The door was open after that hour. Mm-hmm. . And so I think that way you’ve gotta balance, they’re getting their time alone, but then it ends.
You know, it doesn’t go, I mean, the technology in bedrooms, that’s a great thing to also, yeah. Hone in there for a second. Again. Yeah, my oldest is 10, so we haven’t had to cross, but we’ve already tried to be really intentional just with a lot of technology concepts already. Yes, and I mean, I say this to adults to sleep better, but for kids and teenagers, especially from a medical health and wellness standpoint, all of the above.
Technology should be staying out of the bedrooms here at end of story turn for so many reasons that I wanna elaborate right here. But for the sake of your child’s mental, emotional, and social health and your own, let me also reiterate what Mel said. There should be no technology in the bedrooms, phone should stay out.
So anyways, I’m reiterating that from multiple, right, and, and go on a little bit about that is no technology in their room. period. I mean, that was our, that was, I mean, my senior just now has his phone in his room at night, but he has all notifications off, like I’ll text him something for the next morning and I can see notifications are off.
So he has learned that he doesn’t wanna hear the buzzing, beeping lights, and that was sort of, that was our compromise, is that he had never had it in his room until this year. But then I thought, you know, he’s leav. . Mm-hmm. , he is 18. So that, and it’s, and it’s hard in college. College is tough because you literally have one room,
Yeah. So, so I do understand that. But yeah, even parents, I will throw that out there. Like my husband and I have always said that anything that we demand of our kids, we will exemplify. So like we do not keep our cell phones in our bedroom. Right. And they’re not gonna, mine’s in my bathroom with the alarm, so I have to get.
And go in there to turn it off, which has helped. Yes, choose happy. And again, that’s for you and your team. Like don’t watch the news or if you do, like I watch the first seven minutes just to kind of get a blip of what’s going on and then I turn it off or I turn to a program that I enjoy. So yeah, I mean, don’t get bogged down in whatever our.
we are our own worst enemies and teens have a hard time controlling that. So, and that’s another way. Limit the social media. Maybe 30 minutes on a phone, especially when they’re first starting to have it. to put those rules in place from the beginning is much easier than backing off of whatever it is now.
Not to say that you shouldn’t, it can be done in baby steps if you’re, if they’ve had full access, maybe back it off by an hour a day until it’s where you want it to be. Mm-hmm. , I think now playing the role of the parent who has the teen, cuz I’m just imagining this question, how. practically. That’s an overwhelming concept to a parent, I think, especially if you have not been implementing that early on.
What are like practical ways that you’re implementing that? Are you taking the phone away from the child, from the teen before they get it for 30 minutes and then you physically confiscate it? Because that is nearly an impossible thing. . Yeah, to monitor is apparent, like there has to be some sort of action plan in place to.
So in most things, whether I’m adding something or taking it away, it’s baby steps. And so if you have a teen that has had full access and there are problems, which I’m gonna guess that there probably are, how do you not, I mean, you could be the best parent in the world, but it’s just like you’re a teenager, right?
Do you mean like I got even without social media, like kids were getting into trouble as teenagers anyway, add like the unlimited access to the world, you’re not necessarily a bad. , it’s, this is real life. This is gonna happen. So, yeah. Well, and the pushback’s gonna be, well, there’s a million things they’ll say to you, and they’re probably all true.
All of my friends do this and mm-hmm. , you know, blah, blah, blah. So you’re gonna have to decide what is your stance. And I would say it’s going to be most beneficial if you’re on the same page with your spouse or significant other. Mm-hmm. . And then just, that’s one of those conversations that needs to happen.
You know, maybe, maybe keep a chart or. teen, keep a chart. Like what? How much of their day are they on it? And you observe as well. And then what exactly are they needing to get done? Because if your child is doing well in school or needing to do well in school, maybe have a job. Maybe you’re in a sport, like there’s going to be less time for that kind of thing.
And that’s where their priorities need to be anyway. So if you have a child that is struggling in school, the first thing I would look at, Their phone and then just, that is something they can earn back too. Like I’m not saying go cold Turkey. And it doesn’t matter how you decide to reduce the time, it’s gonna be difficult.
But if you already have your stance and you have the support of your, the other adult in your house, or maybe it’s just you. , then you’ve got to stick by it. I mean, the teens are looking for consistency in boundaries anyway. Mm-hmm. , they wanna push back. They’re gonna push back. But if they see that you’re standing firm, they’re gonna quit pushing back.
It’s gonna take a while. And even if they quit pushing back, they might push back in another month just to make sure you’re. Still where you Well, and then the hard thing is you have to be the example. This is the challenge as a parent, is if you are gonna set these expectations for your kids, the reality is most adults are not doing this well or managing their own mental health when it comes to Right.
When it comes to technology, social media. Yeah. So yeah, it’s something that you engage in. I think as a family culture, I will throw this out there, there are apps to help you limit the time on social media. So that’s the other thing. If you’re listening and you’re thinking, I mean, I would love to do this for myself, let alone my kids.
There are apps that you can actually download that will lock you out of certain social media that you can set. There’s also an app called Lock My Phone. Zen study mode. I use this every morning for my morning routine where my phone’s totally locked. So I can’t even open it. And you can set it for recurring hours.
So that’s another option if you truly just wanna turn it off, or if you truly cannot. So there’s cannot do it on your own. You say you’re gonna and you just can’t. Oh, sure, yeah, that happens. Which is normal. That’s human. It’s human. That’s totally it out. You know, like I’ve got it right here, but Sure. Like one of our rules is it can’t be at the table.
Um, the only time we have ever, you know, not followed that rule was like if someone was waiting to hear from a coach or a teacher, there’s something, but I mean, it’s very rare. Maybe once a month there’s an exception. Not even then you can put it in a different room. . Exactly. You can have your notifications on really loud.
Keep it off your person. Yeah. Yes. That’s the other thing is you can go into notifications. Like I just realized, so our oldest son is in Spain, and I remember one day I turned the notifications off of WhatsApp. I can’t remember, maybe I was on a podcast or something. I was like, oh, I can’t have it buzzing.
Normally those are on 24 7 because if he is trying to get ahold of me, the time difference and everything, well, I realized I hadn’t turned it back on. , but once they’re on, I can hear it from the other room, so. Mm-hmm. that, like I said, those kids that want that hour to themselves in their room or whatever, if they’ve been allowed to have that time, just say, well, that wasn’t alone, and that’s where you can start the conversation just mm-hmm.
everything can be. Maybe not solved through conversation, but you can make steps in the right direction, whether it’s pulling it away or adding it in or, and the best way to prevent a lot of this is just like you said, set the parameters when they’re young. You know, don’t let it get outta control. But for a lot of us backtracking is, you know, I mean, look at what happened when we had our 14 year old.
He didn’t necessarily have a phone because he was born in 97, so, There were definitely cell phones. I mean, I got my first phone when he was a baby. That sounds crazy, but they weren’t as big of a thing as they are now. Mm-hmm. for my 18 year. Oh yeah, absolutely. Just that seven, eight year gap. Things have changed a ton.
Mm-hmm. . And so with him, it wasn’t, that wasn’t as much of our problem with him, but it became more of a problem with our middle and our youngest son, so mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. in every, every next step there’s going to be something. So just staying in conversation. Well, yeah. And to your point, conversation’s a bridge that’s, you were talking earlier about creating those bridges and I, I mean, this.
A human principle. Having a conversation just in general creates those bridges of understanding. Even if you’re on two totally si two different sides of the bridge, there’s at least now something where you can meet in the middle that is gonna support you. So having those open conversations are so essential.
And then actually I think that leads beautifully into your, into your number six when you talk about the need to stay off of social media and have conversation. So tell us about number. Chat with a live human. So there you go. What must that be like? There’s times that I’m like, oh, do people even know how to have real conversations anymore?
Right. And that can mean a sibling. And again, that is, this is geared towards your teen, but it’s all true for us as well. Right. And so it says 15 minutes to connect with someone in your house or in the neighborhood. Go outside, you know, ride your bike. Even teenagers can still go out and shoot the basketball.
Like something. If you go out and shoot your basketball, I bet you anything that the boy that lives shoot doors down is gonna come over and start shooting with you. Mm-hmm. like, or you know, reach out to that mom, say, Hey, I just sent Joe outside to shoot. Yeah. Baskets. Tom, come play with them or whatever.
Maybe there’s an elderly neighbor that they could go check on and just say, hi, I brought your paper to the door, whatever. It’s just so important. And like I work at home, I work outside of the home two days a week, and then I’m at home and I need to remind my, I need to go take a walk in the afternoon, meet a friend, or talk to a live human being before my family gets home at night.
So yeah, we, I think just the concept of getting outside, I mean, I think that’s a. Thing, even just with that little chat with a live human section on the, um, principle. She has connect with someone in your house or the neighborhood, but you could even put a little star there because I do think just the concept of being outside, again, coming at it from a health standpoint, there’s lots and lots of research to show the benefits of getting outside for your mental health.
Yes, physical health, the list goes on and on. So maybe put a little asterisk. Get outside. Maybe you need to get outside, maybe your kid needs to go outside. So I think that’s also a great plug in there. Yeah. And the final one is check in with helpers. And that is true for ourselves too, but again, for your teen, it’s important.
It’s really important that they have another adult in their life that they trust besides us, because they may be able to open up to someone outside, you know, maybe there’s something they are struggling to tell. Like our boys, we had a, we were really good friends with a younger couple before they had ki well, I mean, still are, they have kids now, but all of my boys were really close to the husband and I could call him and say, Hey, you know, this is going on.
Could Sam call you? Or whatever. I don’t wanna know what’s, unless you feel like I need to know. And so if you can have a trusted outside person. And the list here says teacher, counselor, doctor, but really someone. that you trust. It could be the neighbor next door, the mom, you know, I know I always loved being the mom, the house that the kids came to.
Mm-hmm. . And I know a lot of things from those kids. Maybe they couldn’t tell their own parents, be available. Just be that helper for someone else, for someone else’s kid. And we need to check in with our people too. Are you, do you need to go see a counselor? Do you check in with your best friend? How is she doing?
And then maybe you need to pour your heart out today. Yeah, again, that’s so valuable. Yeah, like you have, I mean, I literally just had this conversation at lunch the other day with two girlfriends. One of them struggled very specifically. Mm-hmm. with. Certain mentalities, et cetera, that I can’t relate to because maybe to a small degree, but like never to the depth that she did.
And I’ve already had the thought like she may be able to connect with one of my girls in a way that I just can’t. Like she may be because there’s an. Empathy there, like my mental, I can speak into it from what I think is true, but if you haven’t actually experienced that yourself, there’s just only so much that I can speak into in somebody else’s life if I have not been there.
And I think that’s a really valuable thing as you get to know other parents and other just adults in general. You know, if you see somebody who you’re like, oh, my daughter kind of struggles with that as well, like, consider how that person could. part of your kid’s life, assuming that you trust their insight and you trust the way that they have grown.
Yeah. And made their own progress. I think that’s such an important one and a really good one to, um, hone in there as well, especially as your kids become older and can have those conversations and. sort of have the emotional intelligence to even recognize, you know? Right. It goes along with that. It takes a village.
Yeah. And it really does. And I love your idea of maybe my daughter’s struggling with something that I know my friend did, and that’s a good connection. You know? That is wonderful. And you know, keep those things in mind. When our kids start struggling with different things, especially as they get older, it may be something you haven’t experienced and they can tell you, tell their, and you just can’t relate.
find somebody that can, when it keeps those doors open. I think the problem is parents is we also sort of get in our own heads that we feel like we’re failing because our kid is struggling with something. And so we’re not willing to even approach that friend and be like, Hey, my kid is struggling with this.
Can you speak into their life? Cuz there’s part of us that says, well I’m failing them as a parent cuz I should be able to handle that right as their parent. So I also wanna encourage you, if you’re listening and you’re, you’ve had that thought before, I think it’s a very understandable human thought, but to really.
That and in fact, embrace the narrative that actually, because I love my kids so much and because I’m such a rockstar parent, I’m going to recognize I don’t have all the answers and that somebody else might actually better serve my child. So just fight that like negative commentary that well. I’m failing my kid because I can’t parent them through this when it’s in fact the very opposite.
You’re embracing the imperfect progress and recognizing that it does, it takes, it does a community, and don’t wait for a crisis. That’s the other thing is I think a lot of times parents of teens proactive, not reactive parenting. Yeah. I think a lot of times they wait till they’re in the middle of a crisis and like, I can’t help that.
I’m not a trained psychologist. But if you’re trying to get those systems set up, if you’re, that’s not to say that a crisis won’t occur. Sure. But if you’ve set up. Scaffolding for a relationship to move forward through their teen years and into their young adult years. And I would tell you, yeah, parenting young adults, you’re supposed to be letting go.
But a lot of times you’re sitting there watching them like, you’re like, oh my gosh, , what are you doing? But, and I think that’s, it’s become a thing. And I think we need to remember like if when I was 21, I was completely. Alone in City three states away doing my own thing. Like we need to let go. But all that to be said is just if you’re setting, if you’ve got a system in place, it will help.
And then in the back of your mind, have some people in mind, you know, ask ahead. Yeah. Support system. Yeah. Yeah. If someone, if my kid needs help, like who do I call? , do you know someone? That’s good, just in case. It’s always good to have a just in case person, and at the very least, print off this little graphic Seven Cs.
Write down the notes that you remember from this interview. Mel, where can people find you to learn more and hear more about what you do? Okay, well starting Friday I’m actually have a new website called Next Phase Parenting. So that ww fun Next phase Parenting. Yes. I’m pretty sure we have that. Let me make, yeah, I think I gave you both.
So I’ve been at parenting high schoolers and it’s still next phase gonna be around, but I am joining forces with a friend that has blogged. empty nesters, and we’re kind of joining forces so we can move forward, you know, still doing college and life prep. We’ll be on all the socials. Mm-hmm. , but we’re also gonna be able to speak into parenting young adults and aging parents and just that midlife piece that a lot of people Yeah.
Are struggling with as their kids leave the nest. , what do I do now? And will all of your resources still be on next phase parenting? Yes. Like your middle school resources and all, that’ll still be connected there. They can still find it all. We’ll be connected. You’ll connect it all. Okay. Yes, it’s, it’s a, so just go to next phase parenting, like basically everything that we talked about by the time this goes live, I’m think you’ll have that set up.
It’ll probably need, I dunno, where my producers have you on the schedule, but next phase. Parenting. Mel Studer, go find her. Print off this graphic, check out all these resources. I put a little asterisk here because I’m going to need these resources very shortly, which is terrifying. I might need them now for my youngest.
We’ll see. Well, yeah, it’s for yourself. That’s a big thing. Yes, right. It’s an honor having you here. I just pray God’s wish, blessing over your heart, your home, your boys, your boys all over the world and you’re blessing so many people with your knowledge and your expertise. Cuz this is a, teenagers are their own world.
Yes they are. And they’re wonderful. So yes, love them for who they are, who they’re trying to become because yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to grow up. It was hard enough back when we were doing it and we didn’t have social media, so I. Kudos to the kids that are making it through and making it work and making positive changes in our world because it’s not easy.
So yeah, it’s hard. Well, thanks for being here. Thanks for having me. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Imperfectly Empowered Podcast. I would love to hear your thoughts from today, head to your preferred podcasting platform, and give the show an honest review and let me know what you. Remember, you cannot be redefined, only redeveloped one imperfect day at a time. Your story matters and you are loved.

Share With A Friend

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *