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Is navigating life with teenagers complicated and confusing for your family? We only have five short years from the time our offspring turn 13 to high school graduation day, and I want to walk that seemingly long road alongside you. Perhaps you subscribe to “the days are long and the years are short” mentality like I do.

My mission is to help families with teenagers build strong family ties, so I read a lot of articles about parenting older kids to understand better my role as a mom of teens. Here are six articles that touched my heart and soul this year as a parent with teens:

Why Teenagers are Amazing, by Rachel Martin at FindingJoy.net

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They don’t need people thinking they’re not going to be up to anything good – they need people that are willing to stand in the trenches with them, love them unconditionally, listen to them, help them, guide them, and generally want to be around them.

Raising Teenagers: The Mother of All Problems, by Rachel Cusk at NYTimes.com

Children are characters in the family story we tell — until, one day, they start telling it themselves.

Technology and Kids: How Much Do You Allow?, by Desiree Townsend at HerViewFromHome.com

Three out of our four kids were lying in their sleeping bags and, without the distraction of their electronic devices, they were forced to wonder if they were going to live through the night. My husband and I were only hoping to sleep some.

Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids, by Rachel Anne Ridge at HomeSanctuary.com

I want you to know that you aren’t alone. These years with your older kids can be your best, even if you can’t post photos of them on Facebook very often, and nobody says “OMG So PRESH” anymore.

A Teenager’s View on Social Media, by Andrew Watts at Backchannel

Facebook gets all of the photos we took — the good, the bad, etc—while Instagram just gets the one that really summed up the event we went to. It is much more selective, and honestly people spend more time on the captions to make them relevant/funny. On Facebook we just throw up everything we got so people can tag each other and show our family members that we’re still alive.

Many of those younger than me (10–16 years old) who I’ve talked to about this matter don’t even have a Facebook — Instagram is all that they need.

The American Teenager in 2015, by Victor Luckerson at TIME

It’s a classic form of youthful rebellion with a modern twist, and in many ways it encapsulates how the teens today are not so different from the ones profiled by TIME in a 1965 cover story on the state of American teenagers. They’re still looking for ways to assert their individual identities, but it might happen on Snapchat instead of in the class yearbook. They’re still anxious about college, but they may be applying to five schools instead of one.

Bonus reading from 2014:

The Collateral Damage of Adolescence, by Jennifer Senior at NYMag

Is it possible that adolescence is most difficult—and sometimes a crisis—not for teenagers as much as for the adults who raise them? That adolescence has a bigger impact on adults than it does on kids?

Have you read something this year, which has altered how you are parenting your teens? Please share it with me in the comments.

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Desiree Townsend

Desiree is a Christ follower, wife and mom. #WakeUpAndLive

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