Episode 48: Ba Luvmour On Parenting Teens [The Amiel Show]

Ba Luvmour

[Update: in July 2017, Ba’s school, Summa Academy, suddenly closed. It was a shock to our family and others.  The way Ba and the other administrators handled the ending fell short of what we wanted and expected given the closeness of our relationship the prior four years. It hurt. Still—and this is the main point I want to make—our family continues using the parenting practices we learned at Summa and continue to see positive results from them. There’s good stuff in here!]

Parents of teenagers, this episode is for you.

Ba Luvmour, pioneering educator and Headmaster of Summa Academy in Portland, is back.

A year ago, Ba and I talked about the unique challenges of parenting kids between 8 and 12 years of age.

This week, he describes how around age 13, the rug gets pulled out from under kids. Everything they understood to be true about themselves and the world suddenly changes. The new way that they make meaning of their experience is utterly foreign to them–and their families.

Listen to the Podcast

You probably already understand this.

But do you know how to adapt your parenting to this new stage of development–and the dislocating transition that precedes it? What big mistakes might you be making by not doing so?

If you don’t have good answers to these questions, join the club. Nobody teachers this stuff. If our son wasn’t a student at Ba’s school–and if we hadn’t gone through an intensive parenting curriculum there–we would be clueless.

For example, are you aware of the ways that you may be pushing your teen away under the false assumption that they want to be left alone? And do you realize that by shifting your approach–like engaging them in inquiry when your instinct is to judge–you can create more loyalty to you?

Yes, I said loyalty.

Ba guides us through these questions with a wise and loving hand. And he is the real deal–street smart in the best sense of the phrase. I know this because our older son has spent three years at the school he cofounded and has been nurtured daily by the teachers that Ba trained.

Enjoy and share widely.


  • 5:00 Nature rips the rug out from teens
  • 9:00 The giant mistake parents make with teens
  • 12:00 Playing with identity – sports, zombie movies, academics
  • 14:00 “My child is in my face or in my lap” and taking it personally
  • 19:00 When Ba’s daughter dyed her hair
  • 22:30 Buddies vs friends vs peers
  • 26:00 Helping kids through loss of friendships
  • 35:00 If we didn’t get it, it’s hard to give it
  • 36:15 Boys versus girls
  • 39:45 Teen romance and sexuality
  • 47:45 Alcohol and other drugs
  • 49:30 “Going to the edge” through rites of passage
  • 54:30 When teen identities are no longer sufficient

Tweet a Quote

“Your teenager isn’t rejecting you. She’s rejecting the former way of relating.”

–Ba Luvmour    Tweet this quote


“See through the child’s eyes. Feel through the child’s heart.”

–Ba Luvmour  Tweet this quote

Explore Additional Resources

  • Body Being 0-7 years
  • Feeling Being 8-12 years
  • Ideal Being 13-18 years **focus of this interview
  • Reasonable Being 18-23 years

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