Hosting an international student is rewarding in many ways, but we also know it can be hard. Not only are you hosting a student from another country, but you’re also inviting a teenager into your home. You’re brave, and we have a great deal of respect for you. 

Parenting a teenager who you didn’t give birth to can be a big challenge, but in love and humility, you can learn, adjust, and improve through prayer, and trial and error. It can be an exciting chapter in your life.”

– Ed Wu

Teenagers are funny. They have extreme highs and lows, and they can go from one extreme to the other in 0.2 seconds for no apparent reason. 

If God’s calling you to host a teen and you’ve never had a teen in your home before it can be especially challenging. Our fearless leader, Ed Wu, has hosted and parented countless teens in his home. He offers us nuggets of advice that he’s learned about the wonderful world of parenting and hosting teenagers.

Things Ed wants us to know about teenagers that you will never know if you don’t have one!

  1. Common characteristics of teens are defiance, disobedience, withdrawal, isolation, use of social media, and mood swings.
  2. These characteristics are a result of many things that are happening in a teen’s life. Their identity is developing, and they want more independence. However, their brain is not fully developed until they are 25 years old. Peer pressure plays a significant role in how they behave. Hormones are raging at this age as well. You can read more about this in an article written by Harvard. 
  3. As a host family, your pressures are compounded because your teen will be experiencing language and cultural barriers, as well.

Advice from Ed on how to host your teenager if you’re a first-time parent of a teen.

  1. Keep your focus on simple and proven parenting techniques. You can find more information and useful resources on the Parenting with Love and Logic website.
  2. Balance more freedom with more responsibilities.
  3. Listen and don’t lecture.

In the end, only true love can save a prodigal son! There is always hope in the midst of everyday struggles.

– Ed Wu