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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Apr 24, 2024

Melissa Kruger serves as the Vice President of Discipleship Programming at The Gospel Coalition. As an author and Bible teacher, she regularly teaches women in her community and speaks at conferences around the country.

I’m so excited to have her on the show today to talk about her latest book, Parenting with Hope: Raising Teens For Christ in a Secular Age, and dive into the ins and outs of raising teenagers. We talk about transitioning with your children as they grow, modeling a life of faith, creating a prayerful home, and so much more.

In a culture that often implies that the teenage years are miserable and difficult, Melissa encourages parents to not overlook the beauty and joy in this chapter. Whether you're a parent, teacher, or simply someone who influences young lives, this conversation is SO important, and I can’t wait for you to hear it!

2:00 – Melissa 101

  • Vice President of the Gospel Coalition
  • Mother of 3 and wife
  • Former math teacher
  • An unexpected path to writing 16 books

6:42 – Changing The Parenting Narrative

  • The negative narrative surrounding parenting teenagers and tweens
  • Understanding the development stages of this time period
  • Being gracious and patient with teenagers + adapting your parenting style

14:21 – The Gracious Home Vs. The Permissive Home

  • Setting boundaries and allowing for mistakes
  • A lack of structure leading to negative outcomes
  • Setting boundaries as a parent
  • Allowing children to face consequences in a safe and supportive environment

21:25 – Parenting Through Different Stages

  • Transitioning parenting styles from one stage to the next
  • Recognizing children as independent human beings
  • Walking alongside your children as they make their own decisions
  • Avoiding placing your identity in your children’s actions or behaviors

33:03 – Modeling Faith

  • Being gracious with failure as a parent
  • Setting the example by walking with God
  • Incorporating prayer into everyday life as a family
  • Connecting with Melissa


“I think growing up with our teen in some ways, is remaining curious about who they are and not making assumptions about why they're pushing back on something.”

“I think it's really tempting as a parent sometimes to place a lot of our identity and in our teen…we start trying to control who they become, rather than walk alongside them as they're becoming who God made them to be.”

“Learning how to make a mistake is actually a life lesson.”

“I always say aim for patterns, not perfection.”


Learn more about Melissa:

Get your copy of Parenting with Hope

The Gospel Coalition


Connect with me:


Barnes & Noble:





Indie Bound:




About Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder? Podcast is a weekly podcast where we have honest conversations about faith, business, life, and everything in between. Hosted by speaker and author, Molly Stillman, her mission is to make you laugh, cry, and laugh till you cry. She wants to create a community of people who are unafraid to be themselves and have honest conversations about the things that matter most. Her vision is to create a safe space for people to explore their faith and share their stories and gifts with the world.