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Parenting is an Honor, Not a Chore

Jena Beckman’s 17 year old son, Ty, passed away in April 2013 from CF. The funeral was such a tribute to her as a dedicated single parent raising four children, one with a deadly disease. She received no child support or alimony, but some how trusted God each day and never went hungry or without a roof over her family’s head. What was so amazing about Jena was her unconditional love for her son, even to the point of staying up all night long pounding on his back so she could break loose the fluid in his lungs. This didn’t happen occasionally; it happened every night for years and years. She would be awake tending to his needs all night long. In the mornings, she would then get up and get the other three children to school, then flop down on her bed while Ty was doing his computer work for school.

Ty knew his mother cared because she dedicated her life to keeping him alive. He was not supposed to live past 6 or 7 years of age, but because of her, he did. Jena continually researched about his disease and about holistic foods and medicines that would help him breathe better. She cooked special meals for him and she even attended nursing school until he became too sick for her to leave his side.

To Jena, taking care of her dying son and three other children was an honor and a privilege, never a chore or burden. What an example she is for parents today! Joy truly comes from dedication to serve our children and love them unconditionally. We are made to nurture and Jena did that with such amazing love.

Helping Your Children Pick True Friends

“Birds of a feather flock together.”  “Who you hang out with is who you will become.” These two quotes might be ancient, but they are still relevant today. How can parents help their children choose good friends?  First of all we have to examine what we at Project SOS call “TRUE FRIENDS”. Here is a list of characteristics of TRUE FRIENDS:

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Parents: If you care, you can’t cave!


If you truly love and care about your children, then parents you can’t afford to cave in to them, especially when it comes to their safety. An example might be allowing them to go to a party where you don’t know the parent hosts, their values or if there will be drugs or alcohol at the party.

As our children become adolescents, they will challenge you more and more because they are trying to find out who they are. They are in a state of confusion about many things, especially their identity. Many parents feel like they are living with a stranger in their homes, but this will pass. During these turbulent times, teens need CARING parents. CARING=CONSISTENCY=CREDIBILITY. They need consistent rules that are consistently enforced, even when you won’t be the most popular parent in your circle of friends. You will lose credibility if you stop being consistent. Kids need to know that there are boundaries that they must adhere to because of your love and concern for their well being. You cannot afford to be their best friend during their turbulent adolescent years, but if you care enough to be consistent and keep your credibility, you WILL become their best friends when they are through their teen years.

You CAN be their best cheerleader through their adolescent years. This is what they need most, because of their lack of self-confidence. Being a cheerleader does not mean being a permissive parent. It means you encourage, exhort and find the good in your children. You let them know that there is a purpose and a plan for their lives. You need to encourage them to explore their gifts and talents that will be use in their life plan.

You will hear these statements if you are a caring parent: caring enough to be consistent and not cave into your kids demands, pleading and manipulation. Here are some of the most common teen statements made to parents:

  • “You are the only parent who won’t let me do that!” (Guilt trip)
  • “I can’t believe you are so mean and are going to ruin my life!” (Guilt trip)
  • “Why can’t you be like so-and-so’s parents? They are so cool and you are not!” (Guilt trip)
  • “If you change your mind and let me do, … I will do, … for you.” (Manipulation)
  • “If you won’t let me so what I want, I will start taking drugs, drinking or having sex.” (Manipulation) 

Care enough to be consistent, not caving in to your children’s demands. Do what is best for them and their safety. 


Pam Mullarkey, Ph.D.
All Teens Destined for Greatness

Words of wisdom

For the past 42 years, I have dedicated my life to coaching, teaching and counseling middle school and high school children. Life experiences bring great wisdom that needs to be shared with all generations. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle; you have a tremendous influence in the lives of children. Your words of wisdom surpass all generations. They are timeless, boundless and will stand up to scrutiny, even when they are not in vogue.


  • As they start on their road through puberty, they lose their identity and walk in confusion about who they really are. Their greatest need is to have an adult love them, show them that they are valuable and promise them they will ALWAYS be there for them regardless of how bumpy the road gets.
  • Having an identity through succeeding at something is critical to their self-esteem. They need encouragement and yes, a push to try out their skills so they can start to build their identity. Have them join a club, learn to play a musical instrument, go out for a sports team, keep a daily journal of thoughts, etc. Expand their world so they can find what they are good at. Having an identity through succeeding at something is critical to their self-esteem.
  • Keeping them busy, keeps them out of trouble. Middle school is a time of experimentation. They fear very little and want to explore. Getting them active in scouts or other organizations that allow for exploration and are based on a merit system for reaching goals will teach life long lessons.
  • Middle schools have mean kids that love to find weaker one to pick on. Here are two statements to teach them to MEMORIZE in their minds:
    1. GIRLS: PRETTY IS AS PRETTY DOES.” Every girl wants to be pretty. Teach them that beauty is identified by how a person treats another person, regardless of their appearance.
    2. GUYS: “IT TAKES MORE OF A MAN TO SAY “NO”. All boys want to grow up to be strong men. Teach them that strength is measured by their courage to say “no” to wrong things and speak up to protect people who can’t.
  • Usually in middle schools, the most popular kids are the loudest, most obnoxious ones. Their gift of leadership needs to be channeled to become one of “protector” of the weak. They will learn compassion for others which will change their behavior. High school students who are not as loud will come into their own and become more popular and respected because of the healthy choices they are making. Being popular is not a healthy goal, but being compassionate and protecting others is.