Parenting teens has always been challenging but it seems even more daunting now with the onslaught of media, constant connection with technology and mixed messages all around. I was given the advice a while back to “Save your NO’s” whenever possible while parenting teens.

Our teens are trying to figure out how the world works, sometimes it’s uncomfortable to watch that happen. If they feel close to us as parents, they will ENLIST us along the way (sharing their challenges, their fears, details of plans, etc).  If they feel marginalized and unheard they will DISMISS us (increased need for privacy, sharing little to no detail, avoidance). Saying YES repeatedly silently (or not) shows our teens “I believe in you! I trust your growing decision-making abilities and I’m here to support as you navigate making more of them.”

I want to clarify that this idea is not synonymous with being doormat and saying YES to everything our teens ask; you are still the adult entrusted with their safety. This is about giving our teens confidence to make choices/decisions while they are in our homes.  Say YES to all the little and medium things so they can learn and make mistakes with us right there to coach them through it. You will have to decide what the NO’s are for your family; I recommend establishing these NO’s before the issues come up. Then, when you do say NO, your NO’s have weight because of relationship fostered during all the many times you said YES.

If you already are doing this? Great! Keep it up, it’ll pay off. If you recoiled from the post above, I encourage you to challenge yourself with the questions below:

1.       Is your first answer is usually NO? Why? Is it just out of habit, or maybe just because ‘you are the parent’? Does it seem to be working well?

2.       Why NOT say YES? Really think about why you hesitate to say yes to things. If saying yes is a trigger for YOU, perhaps its more about the control, less about the question.

3.       How would your relationship change if you said YES more times than NO this week with your teen? Maybe try it. ????

Well, that’s it for this post! I look forward to connecting soon.

Be well,


*If you have a teen in crisis please call 911.

If you would like more information about how Equip Counseling can help support your entire family visit