momdaughterGuest post by Peggy McKibbin

There are many things to be thankful for but, if you’re like me, a healthy relationship with your teen tops the list. After all, you have spent many years as caregiver, counselor, coach and cuddler to your “little one.” From first steps and first words, to the first date and the first time behind the wheel – you and your teen have celebrated milestones and weathered challenges together.

As you reflect on what you are most grateful for, here are just a few of the things to be particularly thankful for when it comes to your relationship with your teen:

The learning experience. Our teens are coming of age in a time full of innovation and groundbreaking ideas. It is uplifting to see how teens think about and engage with society, culture and politics. Often, it is during this journey to adulthood that the tables turn and parents become the pupils. We can learn so much from our teens as we observe the way they perceive and respond to their environment. To get the most from this experience, take advantage of free time with your teen to have a candid conversation about a recent news story, an event or a topic of his or her interest.

Open & honest communication. Building and sustaining a foundation of open and honest communication with your teen means he or she will be more likely to confide in you during their brightest and most challenging moments. It sets a mutually beneficial precedent of actively listening to each other’s concerns and responding in a way that encourages healthy dialogue.

Laughter. Raising a teen can be challenging, with every teen experiencing his or her own speed bumps along the journey of adolescence. Amidst these challenges, we sometimes forget to relish the shining moments of joy and laughter. This spring, take time to reminisce with your teen about those moments that brought you and your family closer together.

Growth. As parents, we impart many lessons to our teens as they grow. We plant seeds with the confidence that they will make healthy decisions and reach for their dreams as they become more independent. Watching our hopes for our teens come to fruition can fill us with pride and makes all of our hard work (and theirs) worthwhile.

Our teens will be adults before we know it, but cherished moments and memories will remain. Do this exercise with your family and tell us what you are most thankful for in your relationship with your teen in the comments below.

Contributor Peggy McKibbin

Peggy is a mother of two and a high school nurse with a passion for promoting good health among teens. As one of The Five Moms for the Stop Medicine Abuse campaign and through her involvement with the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), Peggy works to educate her students and her community on the dangers of medicine abuse. Join the conversation by following Stop Medicine Abuse on Facebook and Twitter.