saffron (and tips for parenting teens)

I am getting ready to travel to see my mother down in Florida – so I only have one more post after this one and then I will back to the blogosphere on March 6th.

back roads for karin


The other day, we had our usual drop offs and pick ups for my teenage son, which of course included a drive through the winding back roads in Mechanicsville, VA.

Mechanicsville is a rural suburb right outside of Richmond, VA.  My friend Karin loves the back roads here and so I decided to snap a photo to text her and say hello.  I like how they look at dusk with a little blur from the window.

mechanicsville va roads

The parents greeted us and shared that they had not been at this house very long  and they were still making updates.

mechanicsville, VA


The cabin style house had some textured wooden siding. This photo from the porch is linked to Narami’s texture challenge week 8texture


We had to make another stop to drop off a different friend on the way home.  Darkness had set in, but I was able to grab a photo of this old yellow muscle car.

saffron car two


It looked a bit “saffron” yellow and so I am linking it to JNW’s color challenge this week:

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 3.01.49 AM

saffron coilored car


When we got home, we went in through the garage and I looked over at this can of sea foam sitting on the shelf.  For those that don’t know – “sea foam” is a gas/oil cleaning additive for engines – and it is the best stuff around.  Last week’s JNW word was “sea foam”- and seeing that the saffron photo is of a car – well here is some Sea Foam….



Okay – so now for part 2 of my post.  

Please free to skip this part!  

I want to share a few thoughts on parenting teens.  My hubs and I are still learning so much as we go – and I like to be very careful before I share tips, but I have a few things to share that might be of value to someone.  This is just for educational purposes and this is just me informally writing to you.  It is not trying to be the list of the century – just some things on my mind this week.

So just a few things to chew on….

1. Bank account “deposit and withdrawal” analogy. 

The “deposit and withdrawal” analogy is one of my favorites – and it involves thinking of your relationship with your teen like a bank account – where you make deposits and withdrawals.  If you make too many withdrawals without depositing – well things get depleted – and so you basically just monitor the relationship by making sure you deposit enough of the right things into the relationship.  A strong relationship is fortified with a good balance of deposits to withstand times of heavy withdrawals. This is simple – but it really helps – and it could take time – like time to heal if a big withdrawal was made – or time to have some space if it is a phase where folks are butting heads.  But become mindful of the “red and the black” –  just like you would other “accounts” – and the relationship can be fortified and strong.

2. Understand LOVE languages. 

I have always liked using Chapman’s Love languages (HERE)  and even though I disagree with him on some aspects – the concept helps us to think about how we uniquely respond to each other.  People do not express love emotionally the same – and so it also helps to understand how you and your child respond to 1. affirming words, 2. acts of service, 3. receiving gifts, 4. quality time, and 5. physical touch.

I also throw in a 6th one – which is food – because in my experience – feed teen and the entire mood is improved instantly.

If one of your teen’s primary languages is receiving gifts, well a shopping trip that included talking on the way might be ideal.  If the teen valued quality time, you would tell them that you blocked out a whole chunk of time for them and then set up an activity that allowed for this time together.  The acts of service one is similar to the “love is a verb” saying – and it involves doing an activity that just serves the other person – and it can be powerful – and can lead to reciprocation.

I have written about words of affirmation before – and do not want to be long-winded about it – but remember that words can either build up or tear down – and sometimes we have to share harsh truths – of course – but too often people constantly berate those around them from sloppy or unchecked speech.

Many are anemic in the area of building up, but it can be improved.

And please hear me on this – teens soak up your words more than you will ever realize. They “hear us now, but listen later…” – and so much of what we say falls onto this absorbent sponge.  It is hard to sometimes see through a tough exterior – or through their needy ways or developing personality – but look for ways to build up your teen.  Keep it genuine – because BS never works at any age, but look for ways to use words to build them up – and all the more if this is something that is a primary emotional area for them.

Also this may change – as the teen ages.  One mom shared that an older teen was low on money for a good year – and this humbling period made that teen later value reviving gifts more.


3. Explain the process and share the thinking with the teen. 

This is a very personal tip that is one of my favs.  Explain to children how you are making decisions – ask for input about things – and make deposits into the bonding side as you discuss “their” life.  This respect for them will come back to help down the road.  Tell the teen that more than wanting conformity right now, we care about their adjustment as an adult too.  remind them that their brain is still growing until they are 24 +.  Remind them that you know there is not set formula – but you are willing to learn and explore what needs to be done.

Many parents know to “Always make sure the consequence fits the punishment” but I say BEFORE it even comes to that  – there might be some grace handed over.  Too often – especially in the Christian community – I see parents coming down way too hard on a teen with a predetermined consequence.

It is really wise to assess what is going on at that moment.

If the teen is reachable and doing well – well an extra consequence might not be needed – the situation might already be assuaged from the discussion and the occurrence – and it takes an in-tune parent to see that.

wood shingles

There is a learning that HAS to happen with people – and we need to embrace the learning without always coming down with a scold.  

Sometimes when grace is given the child learns in a way that is far more helpful that having them live out a predetermined consequence.  

4. Don’t be a big crab all the time. 

Sure, we want our kids to be responsible and to enter adult hood equipped,  but without realizing it  -some parents have made their teens lives completely miserable.  I know this is such a complex and layered topic – and so I want to be careful with my words, but this is also why I am also spending my time to share a few tips.  I see SO many parents being way too mean to their kids – when really the teen sometimes just needs a huge dose of love and some grace – along with some deposits into the parent child back account.

And the teen needs to be told this grace is happening – for example, the parent might say something like, “You know, I was going to take your phone away for this – but we have been thinking about it and while we are really disgusted and sad that you let someone take your photo while giving the middle finger like that – well we feel as if you have learned your lesson.  Also, at least it was not a shot of you mooning someone.  Seriously though, remember honey (uses term of endearment) – we talked about your digital footprint and how this trail follows you for a long time – so this is very serious.  But because I see that you are taking this matter seriously, we are not going to take your phone away. But you have been warned and so please make better choices….”

which leads to my next tip –

5. Don’t crush the child’s spirit. 

Now sure we want to help the child as best we can – but don’t lose the child in the process.  Parents, please hear me on this – teens need a whole bunch of love and grace – and they need your essence.  It might help if you remember what you wanted to be treated like as a teen.  The Bible even says to not provoke your children to wrath and to lead in a way that does not ruin them…. and to tran them up in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it.  Did you catch that? It did not say they will instantly “get it” – but instead it takes time – so always remember that you are fortifying a foundation – and you may not see fruits for a while.

It might help to just lighten up and not worry so much.  Get your hands on some resources and look for tips -toss some – keep some – and use some – but know you do not have to reinvent the wheel – and there might be some challenging days – so it helps to have a few tips.


6. Find a balance.  

know this – permissive parenting can lead to floundering for your child later in life. And too strict of parenting will hurt them for a long time in ways that make them seek relief.

So find a balance, but be sure to parent!

For example, parents can say something like this: “Right now this is not about our friendship side.  I value the friendship we share, but at the end of the day-  I have a job to parent you!   I know you know this – and when you are older you will see this even more.  In the meantime, it would be easier if I could be passive here and just let you do your thing – but because I love you – and because I have accountability to parent you – well I am not letting you do such and such…. it is just something I feel strongly about and I need you to respect my wishes at this time… ” and then maybe add something else that can be compromised on… and remind the child that they have choices and also times of when you did give in fully (or something like that).

Don’t come down too hard on yourself when things do not work out exactly the way you planned.  

Because that might be a sign you are dong things right – you are keeping an open fist and not smothering – and maybe – well maybe… you are letting them be them…. in a genuine way that is also a gift.

7. Raising Leaders.

One thing that always helped me was to know that I was raising leaders.  Both of my boys have different leadership sides that come out naturally.  They are both so different – and it depends on the scenario – but leadership is innate and it is also nurtured –  (the whole nature nurture debate can get us talking for a long time) – but I believe that teens that have some power – choices – and that are respected more will have more power in general and they will make better leaders over their own lives.

It is more than saying they rise to the occasion – it is also about tapping into their strengths – opening a path for them – and speaking good things on them and letting them feel empowered.  Have you ever heard the analogy of the country dog and city dog? The country dog rolls freely and the city dog bolts out the door as soon as it is cracked.  And so as you train the child and teach (not as you beat them and stifle them with so many consequences) well as you equip them and help them find their own individuality –  well – you are equipping them for leadership in different ways.

Remember that as they respect you and respect your wishes, you respect them and they are not necessarily becoming a little clone for you. Give them space to be their own person (with boundaries).

8. Stay being you – do not apologize for it, but be humble enough to compromise because of it. 

Most people know that self-awareness is the key to health and growth.  We need to know how we come across – we need to know how we “want” to come across – and then we need to understand more about how we personally respond to this and that.  We need to be aware- this helps us know what to improve and modify.

Once we understand our strengths and weaknesses as a parent – it can really help us assess what our kids will need to have supplemented – or what we will need to work on.  Even the best of parents will still have things to work on – and growth is expected and needed – but you also are who you are.  And then kids also have different phases and stages that adds to the mix here – and then some parents do better with younger children -while others do better with older – etc.  This little tip is one that I could write a chapter about – but it comes down to owning all of your ways – without excuses and without taking too much personal – and then staying objective as you  improve – but also accept and supplement.

9. Enjoy this very day with your teen – because it might be all you get. 

We all know life is short and we do not knowhow much longer we have on our life journey – and so keep that in mind when you look at your teen – smile and love on them some more – just because life is short- and just because life is precious.

And feelings follow behavior – so when you start becoming grateful for this very day – just because it is a gift – well that gratitude permeates the whole setting – and makes life better.

cloud wallpaper

10. Don’t compare. 

Do NOT compare your teen (or family life) with others – I know there are general comparisons that can be healthy – but comparing either puffs up or slams down – and it is not a good way to measure personal progress.  Set your own benchmark for success with custom-made goals for what your family needs. And stay flexible with the outcomes because one of the gifts of being human is that we are not robots.  The very mess and angst that leads us to problem solve is the same stuff that gives rich pleasure and fulfillment.

Okay, I could go on – but I think that is enough for us all to chew on.



Enjoy your day – and if you are the parent of a teen – or parent of grown adults – or if you have anything that is unsettled – well I encourage you to lighten up and approach it with grace and tenderness – and see what unfolds.






77 thoughts on “saffron (and tips for parenting teens)

  1. Virginia is beautiful. I lived there for eight years. 🙂
    Skim read your advise. About 25 years too late. The points are very good…even if a parent accomplishes a few of them at a time. And they can apply even after the teen years. 🙂
    Have a good trip.


    1. thanks Lady Sigh – and just some things to chew on and I just put it up as a resource kind of post – and I appreciate your feedback – ❤ ❤


  2. psst…part three..’goring’? (grin) I agree with all your points, My kid is at her tweens right now and believe me, I’m still 10% through the processes you described ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much andy – – it was supposed to be growing – lol – and please let me know if there are any more typos – but maybe a new word for this is goring -ha! thanks again

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the photos in this one, especially the winding roads. Very pretty scenery and great capture. Really loved the advice for parenting teens. The bank account was particularly helpful. I tend to beat myself over how I respond to our teen’s sullen, “bad” moods, but I like the idea that we can still build her up and cherish our “good” time together. Also really helpful example with the phone restriction. We’re learning as we go along, so this was really helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What beautiful roads!

    My sons are in their thirties now, but I remember how difficult those teen years can be, and how hard it is to know if you are doing the right thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks timeless lady – and then each teen is so unique – and so it really takes customizing for them – at least in my experience with nieces and nephews – students – and then my own babes.


    1. thanks so much Carl – and that deposits and withdrawal one is my fav = and I wish I could recall where I got it – but I can’t… have a nice day

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    1. thanks so much dear Sue – that is so sweet – and I think I realized early on that as parents we never offer perfection – but when we dialogue – love – and when we are intentional about doing the best we can – that itself can have huge positive outcomes.
      Last week we had a friend say that he thinks he did a horrible job raising his daughter. She just picked a major party school for her college choice – and he was shaking in his head – but I disagreed – and while we do not want her dying during her party phase – and those “funnels” can catch up with people – but there are so many things he did right – including giving her space to be herself – space to grow – without micromanaging every single thing – I dunno – but then another friend was all heavy too – and I know there are always many things that combine – but it helps to see some of the bigger picture too… thanks again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. okay G – and I have a few more days to go – and looks like Florida has not been shielded from this winter’s cold – but it does help that I am not really going for the weather – more to see family – but thanks for the tip ❤

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  5. Enjoy your sojourn to Florida and with your mom—good luck with the teens—having survived my own servitude raising our son, along with 31 years teaching High School art, teenagers are an interesting lot indeed—the good, the bad, the ugly and the miraculous all rolled into one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Julie – I love how you summed it up – especially this “-the good, the bad, the ugly and the miraculous…” and sometimes that described a single teen over a month’s time – ha!
      and I have enjoyed and gleaned from some of your tender posts about your relations with your older children – ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love these photos. Would like that cloud wallpaper in my house 🙂 And your saffron and seafoam are perfect of course. A good bit of your advice can be applied to most any relationship. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  7. Many wise words lay here in this post, Lady Blueski, that not only can be applied to teenagers but to everyone in general. I do not have children, just a very large child called a husband. I have to check myself constantly because the “teaching” at times outweigh my words of praise and Love. Not good. Balance is they, just like you said about a bank. You have given me a lot to think about, and in many ways, have helped me change some of my ways. Being married to a Vietnam Vet is like being with a teenager, and OH does that get on the nerves at times. So, with your wisdom in mind, I plan on making a few deposits of Love today. Thank YOU!!! Love, Lady Pinkski

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  8. The winding road photos are beautiful, Yvette! Love the dust blue sky and the woods on both sides.
    Parenting teens is not an easy task. It has never been easy, may be getting more challenging…


    1. thanks so much Amy – and the roads are purdy in Hanover – but sometimes it is annoying picking up a friend from what feels like the boonies. ha! and your comment was dense because the challenges might be increasing… hm

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  9. Your road trip photos are beautiful Yvette. Your description of taking your son to places reminds me of my mom and what she used to call her taxi 🙂

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    1. thanks colline – and the word taxi does come up here too – and glad I have dad’s help too – but I have scored some nice “deposits” with my son when I have made some late night trips for him to pick up a friend across town or to take him a third place that day… 🙂


  10. Wow. These are such wise and long-reaching goals for us as parents of teens. You have me beat by a mile! I’m so glad I got to read this!


    1. thanks very much – you rock! and quick side note – we all really do need to remember that it is not that anyone has anyone “beat” (even tho I know exactly what you mean) and we all have just had different miles to walk – with different terrain, different footing, and changing strides – and so another reason why sharing helps – we do not all have to reinvent the wheel as we start the next parenting path or walkway… ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much T – I will share some photos when I come back – one of my goals in Florida – besides just enjoying family – is to take some street portraits – but still winging it – hope you are staying warm with all that snow…..


  11. Those first photos of the road have a real feeling of movement Y and the sky is such a vibrant colour peeping through the trees. I found your tips for parenting teens to be solid good advice and in actual fact can be applied to any relationship at any age, love, caring, listening, appreciation of another person etc will always help oil the wheels of a relationship. Your sons are very lucky to have such caring parents. Enjoy your time with your Mom.


    1. Thanks dear Pomme – and I love the “well oiled” analogy a lot p- thanks for that… and well said “love, caring, listening, appreciation of another person etc will always help oil the wheels of a relationship”
      ❤ ❤

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  12. The photo of the cloud wallpaper caught my eye, Yvette. Together with the tiles it has an Art Deco look to it. I really liked your recommendation to parents not be too hard on themselves when things don’t go as they planned. Better to accept “good enough” parenting than torment ourselves for not doing a perfect job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Jill – and I think you are right about the art deco – and also good point about the acceptance – because it is not about perfection, but about improving and doing the best we can and staying well in the process…. have a great day J

      Liked by 1 person

    1. oooo – well you can speak that on me anytime! But just in case the book does not ever happen – I actually do have a few more tips to add now – and well, maybe your comment reply is the perfect place. and here are a few that came to mind… and maybe one or two parents will find themselves here at this comment and need to read this to chew on…

      ~ Dare to be average – with some things! Set goals – strive for excellence and tap into strengths – but chill out about being the best at this and always the best at that! WE really were not designed to be the best in every area – it helps us need others and it helps us hone a skill – so just think about certain striving.

      ~ It really does take a village – and if parents have strained relations with a teen – utilize others to build into teens or find other ways to enrich their journey – youth group trips, clubs, mentors – and then also reach out to other teens – sometimes a friend’s parent is “new” to them and can share knowledge or just spread kinds their way.

      ~ Watch the pressure you put on the teen because when expectations are set too high – it may lead to problems later.
      ~ WE have seen some parents live through their kids – or in an attempt to give their child what they never had, well maybe they end up giving them stuff they do not need – or stuff they never asked for. So get to know your kid – and find a middle ground between what you want and what they want.
      ~We remind our teens that all of the years leading up to 18 are setting the blueprint for their adult years – and so that is why we are being mindful of our role as a parent.
      ~We also reminded our kids – when they were younger – that they are kind of like a blank canvas (somewhat) and as they go through life a picture is getting painted – and we want to help make sure the right media is used – and a healthy picture unfolds…. And this helps us explain why we value what gets layered on their canvas now – because it lays a foundation that impacts the next layers – and so sometimes they just need to trust us that we have their best long-term interest at heart. We can negotiate and discuss – but they have to know that we truly care about this more than they do….
      ~Garbage in garbage out
      ~ Give kids space to experience things. I always recall a story from Bill Hybels’ about how his dad made him go and collect some money from some business guy. Bill was forced to sit there and wait for hours until this guy finally gave in and paid up. He talked about the experience of that and how it helped shape him – and I think many parents today need to not minimize the rich value of “experience” – and instead want to provide materials or adventure camps – and whatnot – when maybe some of the best character building and life equipping lessons are found by helping the parents or by doing regular life stuff.

      ~ Remember that folks need to learn – and so find resources and materials to help develop wisdom, character, and common sense. This may sound corny, but my boys have learned a lot from the year we sat and watched Judge Judy (I still watch her – but they do not) but they learned things like “a car can become a lethal weapon” “if you always tell the truth, you do not have to have a good memory”
      “don’t put your hands on other people”

      Okay – thanks again for that comment G 🙂


      1. Wow! I wish I could give this all to a woman I saw while out shopping today. She was “negotiating” with her five year old. She wanted him to promise to have a good day: no screaming, yelling, crying. Make good choices, use his words. He could have the silver airplane he wanted – which by the way was a decorative piece for a desk or office NOT A TOY! – but he had to promise to behave all day. It’s a good thing I meditate, or I would have grabbed her by the hair and banged her head against the wall. (Breathe!)
        Just sayin’.


      2. oh wow – glad you took those deep breaths too G – and my pet peeve is when a mom lathers on the slams and verbally abuses a child –


  13. Great post as always, Yvette. Well done with the saffron and seafoam pics. 🙂 The parenting advice is very good. It’s not easy keeping a happy relationship with one’s teenage children. Looking back, There are some things I would have done differently with my daughter, but she turned out fantastically in the end and is a great mom to her two teneagers. Our son was an absolute breeze, and I wouldn’t change one tiny bit of his teenage years. 🙂 Have a great trip. Love the Virginia road pics. xx


  14. You can’t always tell how good a job you’ve done till they’re out of the fold, Yvette? I was only a fraction as wise a parent as you are being and I was fantastically lucky with my daughter, in the long run. The boy is still a work in progress, but come to think of it, so am I! 🙂 You have to laugh, don’t you? Have a great time with your Mom. And enjoy the warmth. I would! 🙂


    1. Gosh Jo – you said so many little nuggets there – and especially how you note that we parents are also a work in progress – we learn “so much as we go” and it is not about perfection, but about improving and loving and staying in the game with health…. ❤ ❤

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  15. Hi P, I didn’t skip the part 2, in fact read it with great interest. I know my son’s a toddler but one day he’ll become a teen. Lovely list and tips. They’re not only mature and thorough, but also loving and compassionate. Your part 1 is so exciting that I thought I was on a journey. Lovely roads, houses, car, and you ended it with Sea Foam 🙂


    1. also— as you know – there is nothing new under the sun and so my insight is just from years of gleaning from others (from books, talks, forums, emails, and even blog comment sections..)
      – and I do not say that to sound humble – I say that to remind other people to share when they can or when they see the opportunity- because when we toss out a lesson learned or just some nugget of advice – it really “can” make a difference – and I am indebted to many. Thanks again M

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  16. Wonderful photos. I read the title and thought, what is this about? Then I realized – and it’s a cool mix of topics, really. I don’t have teens but still read through the section to learn more. Now, as to the saffron colour and car, very cool. Then it went to Sea Foam, which was the perfect accompaniment. You have a very compelling blogging voice that I like 🙂 We will miss you when you are away from the blogosphere ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well thanks so much C 🙂 – and I still have a post or two before I go – and it’ll just be a short break – and that yellow car was an unexpected find – thanks for reading and TTYL


  17. Great article and #AWEsome pics! I love the back roads too. I grew up in the country in East Tennessee. I learned to drive on roads with no lines. My baby will be 20 in July and my oldest just turned 22. You are most definitely correct that they absorb the words, actions, and behaviors that they hear and see. All you can do is be the best example possible (I know we all have our moments.) Good luck and it sounds like you are on a great path.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. shawn, thanks so much for adding this to a post about tips – because “modeling” is HUGE!!! because se speak so much with our behavior and words – so thanks for that tip. And I think that being the best example also ties into not modeling extreme discipline where everything goes perfect – but we can model how we also learned (or still learn) how to problem solve – deal with difficult people – handle stress, communicate, etc.
      and thanks again for dropping by

      Liked by 1 person

    2. shawn, I was just at your blog and noticed you wrote this line that happens to fit in with the comments (***cues spooky cool music***)
      really loved this:
      “There are many “smart” answers to problems right in front of us. Sometimes it just takes a different perspective to realize it. “

      Liked by 1 person

  18. My daughter turns 25 in April, and your teen parenting rules are good ones, Y. I kept open ears and eyes and was me, and she and I get along very well, then and now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The first four shots looks surreal Y, So so good. Love the contrast of the sky and trees. And how the picture is blur at some places while very clear at others. It’s like being transported through some time machine, Doctor Who much? Hehe. Great post Y 🙂


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