Parenting Teens Requires Strong Hope & Courage


Remember the dark woods that Dorothy and her friends, Scarecrow ,Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, skipped nervously through as they journeyed to Wizard of Oz? They started out fearful as they went deeper into the creepy tangled forest that resonated with screeching birds and creaky noises.

Parenting Teens Requires Strong Hope & Courage!
Parenting Teens Requires Strong Hope & Courage!

The trembling sojourners linked arms, skipped slowly at first, then started singing bravely “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!  Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!”

Their step got faster as they began to feel more courageous following the overgrown yellow brick road through the deep sinister forest. Braving the many challenges along the way produced strength of character because they never lost future hope in finding Oz.

The journey of adolescence begins similarly for parents and teens.

  • Both are fearful of the many obstacles that could be up ahead. If courage is to take root for both parents and teens, both must persevere together.
  • This perseverance produces character for both parents and teens, which then in turn produces a strong hope for the future.

“Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5: 3-4

Strong hope for the future sets the stage for healthy autonomy for teens.

  • Adolescence brings uncharted paths to navigate, with many possible risky outcomes to avoid.  Parenting that worked when a teen was a child, does not work anymore.
  • A natural shift is beginning to occur that is painful for both parent and teen.
  • If teens are to navigate this passage toward healthy autonomy, it is important that parents hold on to a positive vision of their child’s future.  They must remember this is not the end of the journey, but instead normal growing pains associated with their child becoming an independent adult.

Parenting adolescents requires courage coupled with hope.

  • Parents must push forward and remember the fruit of healthy autonomy will come forth when the season of adolescence begins to close if the proper care and nurturing takes place.
  • Even when seeing the “lions and tigers and bears” appear in their teens, parents must keep future hope always at the fore front of everything they experience.
  • Teens who experience this strong hope and courage in their parents, no matter how many obstacles they encounter, will be more likely to come out of the scary forest of adolescence with hope and courage as their strength in adulthood.

(Taken from Secure Base Parenting: Fostering Teens Towards Healthy Connection and Autonomy in Today’s Changing World, 2006, Susan Miller, MEd, LPC, NCC, Doctoral  Dissertation)


Author: Susan S. Miller, PhD, LPCS, NCC for Miller Counseling Services, PC

Dr. Susan Miller

Susan Miller, PhD, LPCS, NCC is a Psychotherapist, Certified Creativity Coach, Certified Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coach, Entrepreneur & Life Coach offers counseling, coaching & creativity workshops that light the path of your life journey through Lighted Path® Coaching and Miller Counseling Services, PC Along with having 30+ years of counseling, coaching, and group facilitation experience, Susan is a life-time trained artist with a special interest in painting, mixed media and fabric art.

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