7 secrets to raising awesome, functional teenagers.

One mom gets real about parenting teens.

I occasionally get asked by mothers of young children what the secret is to raising great teenagers.

My initial response is that I have absolutely no clue. My kids are who they are IN SPITE of having me as a mother. (The young moms don't find that answer too helpful.)

Really, the first thing that I will tell you is to disbelieve the myth that teenagers are sullen, angry creatures who slam doors and hate their parents. Some do that, but the overwhelming majority do not. Every one of my kids' friends are just as happy and fun as my kids are, so I know it's not just us.

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It was just one tiny fraction of a moment, captured in time. And it didn't look good.

Back in 2016, a man in a Colorado airport took a photo of a mom browsing her cellphone, her young infant squirming on a blanket on the ground in front of her. His original post (which has since been removed) was uploaded to Facebook with the caption: "Albert Einstein said, 'I fear the day that technology will take on our humanity ... the world will be populated by a generation of idiots.'"

Sure, absent any context, background, or explanation, the photo seemed to show a mom so uninterested in her child she'd rather check Facebook than pick her up off the floor.

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In high school, Tiffany Jenkins was cheerleading captain and student body president. Then she became a drug addict.

As a popular student with good grades, Jenkins was hardly the girl people would vote "most likely to end up strung out on the floor of a jail cell." But that's where she ended up in 2012, at the low point of her opioid addiction.

Now five years sober, the mother of three has a popular blog, Juggling the Jenkins, where she blends mom humor with stories of addiction recovery. The unlikely combo has helped her gather more than a million Facebook followers in less than a year.

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Parents whose children attend James Madison High School were taken aback when they received a letter from Principal Carlotta Outley Brown outlining a strict dress code they needed to adhere to while on school grounds.

“We are preparing your child for a prosperous future,” Brown wrote. “We want them to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for any setting they may be in.”

The list of banned items was pretty extensive. It included satin caps, bonnets, shower caps, hair rollers, pajamas or any pajama-looking attire, jeans “torn from your buttocks to all the way down showing lots of skin,” leggings “showing your bottom and where your body is not covered from the front or back,” very low cut or revealing tops, sagging pants, shorts or jeans, Daisy Dukes, low rider shorts, undershirts on men and dresses that are “up to your behind.”

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