5 Things Your Teens Have in Common With Toddlers

“What would you do if your daughter screamed ‘I hate you!’ and stormed out the door?” a mom of a 3-year-old asked me. I thought back to the countless moms of teens who had asked me that same question when I was a youth minister. My answer for the toddler mom was the same as it had been for the moms of teens—I’d let her vent outside, but then bring her in. I’d acknowledge her feelings of frustration and anger, but then remind her of the house rules. The only difference here was that I didn’t need to warn that mom to hide her keys if her kid has a history of taking off in the family car. Luckily for all of us, toddlers don’t drive.

I have been both a youth minister to teens and a mom to toddlers, and I still can’t get over the similarities. Parenting toddlers is tough; so is raising teens. But the good news? The toddler years are a phase that passed, and the teen years will pass, too. Plus, you can use some of the same tactics again now that you used when your children were toddlers. Just consider these 5 things your teens have in common with toddlers.

Book Review: “Living Beyond Sunday” by Adam and Haylee Minihan and David and Pamela Niles

I am always looking for more ways to make my home and my family more “Catholic.” I don’t want the only thing that makes us Catholic to be the fact that we go to Mass on Sunday. Our faith has so much more depth than that. There is so much more that we can do with our faith. I want our lives to look Catholic. I want our homes to look Catholic. I want our faith to be more than just Sunday. I want to live my faith, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you feel the same way, then this book can help you to do it.

“Living Beyond Sunday” talks about the ways that we can make time and space sacred. It talks about the holy calling of mothers and fathers. It talks about the value of liturgical living, and gives you practical ways to do it. I don’t want my kids thinking what we’re Catholic just because we go to church on Sundays. Being Catholic does involve going to Mass on Sundays, but it can and should be so much more than that. Our homes should look Catholic. Our days should be peppered with moments of prayer. Our lives should revolve around the faith and move with the liturgical calendar. The Church has given us such a beautiful gift in her seasons and cycles. We just have to use it!

“Living Beyond Sunday” is the perfect combination of theology and practical suggestions. It explains why we should live liturgically and how we might go about doing it. If you are looking for an easy way to imbue the faith in your children, this is the book for you. If you want to teach the faith to your children by the way you live your life, this is the book for you. If you want to know why it’s important to live beyond Sundays, “Living Beyond Sunday” is the book for you.

What to Say to a Teen Who Wants to Be the Popular Kid

I never told my mom that I wanted to be popular, but I’m sure my actions spoke louder than words. I remember being 14 and crying as I threw out my favorite red t-shirt. Why would I do such a thing? Because a popular kid had commented that the shirt made me look like a boy. I loved that shirt, but I thought I loved being popular more. I spent years trying to be like the cool kids, but I wasn’t really happy until I tried being myself instead.

In my time working with teens, I met many kids who made all sorts of sacrifices in the quest to become popular. I knew that if I could see those changes, their parents had to notice them, too. So if you confront your teens and they tell you they want to be the popular kid, here are 5 questions you can ask to get them to open up.

I Was the Girl Who Was Always Reading and I’m Finding Her Again

This article originally appeared on Her View From Home’s website. You can view it here.

I used to be the girl with a book in her bag. When I was growing up, if I had even one free minute, I would pull a book out of my bag and read. I read in line at the grocery store. I read when I had finished all my schoolwork early. I read while riding the bus to and from school. There was always a book in my backpack. When I finished school and got my first job, the book just moved into my purse. I read during breaks at work. I read while I waited to get gas in my car (yeah, I’m a native Jersey girl, and I did not pump my own gas until I moved south). I was always reading.

I have always loved reading. I love the fictional worlds, the characters, the stories. When I was struggling to understand the world I lived in, I found comfort in the worlds offered by books. When I was the new kid in school and didn’t have friends, I turned to the characters in my beloved books. I would often imagine myself in those worlds, a part of those stories, living alongside the characters. I dreamed about those worlds at night, and on occasion, I even tried my hand at writing new stories for my favorite characters in my creative writing classes. They were my friends, and I loved them.

The first place I was allowed to ride alone was the town library. I would check out as many books as my bike’s basket could fit and return the following week for new ones. I could read multiple books in a week and usually, multiple books at the same time. I have always had a book on my bedside table, a book on the coffee table, and a book on the kitchen counter. I found every opportunity I could to read.

I did not give up reading entirely when I became a mom. As I fed my children at night, I read. I read every night for a little bit before falling asleep. I read on Sunday afternoons during the quiet peace of nap time. I still had a book on my bedside table, another on the coffee table, and one more on the kitchen counter. But there was no book in my bag. My bag was a diaper bag, and it was filled to the brim with diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, toys, and food. There was no room for a book. And when would I read it anyway?

And so for four years, I lost sight of the girl I had once been—the girl with a book in her bag. And I didn’t even realize she was missing until I finally found her again. I finally became her again.

I don’t carry a diaper bag anymore. I carry a purse again instead. It still has a small pack of wipes and snacks, but the days of diapers are fast receding. But now there is something else in my bag . . . a book. I used to be the girl who always had a book with her, and I finally am again. I rediscovered her. She was temporarily lost, but I found her. And hopefully this time I’ll do a better job holding onto her.

I am the girl with a book in her bag again. If you find me with my kids at the playground, I might be reading the latest murder mystery. If you find me sitting at the pediatrician’s office, I might be reading my favorite Jane Austen novel. If you find me sitting in my car on the school pick-up lane, I might be rereading the Harry Potter series for the fourth or fifth time. You’ll never know for sure what I will be reading, but you can rest assured that I will have a book in my bag. Because that’s who I am. That’s who I’ve always been, and I’m never losing sight of that girl again.