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Ever heard that old one-liner "Everybody complains about the weather...but nobody does anything about it!"? Well, it's often the same with the teenage years...but what would you say if I told you that YOU can be different; that you CAN do something about it?
We often look at the teenage years as a messy mess that our kids have to go through and that parents have to endure, but honestly, that doesn't have to be so! While Pat and I surely went through some tough situations with our teens - and you may be in those same shoes right now, too - now that we're on "the other side" of them, we've realized there were some things we could have done differently. And because our kids' ages incorporate such a wide time span, we're been blessed to be able to actually "field test" some of those ideas!
It's important that we parents realize that the teen years are challenging to navigate. Embrace it and accept it. But understand too that your teens are feeling the same way! They are trying to assume new responsibilities and roles. Moreover, in addition to their own fluctuating hormones and emotions, our society doesn't exactly help them with the transition, either.
How and when DO they become adults? Not an easy question to answer... (although we'll be sharing some thoughts on that same topic soon!!)
In the meantime, much as you'd like to help your hubby or a friend when they're going through a tough time, there are some things you can do for your kiddos to help make life a little sweeter during this transition. Bear in mind that this is not an exhaustive list. But I hope it will be enough to get you started thinking creatively!
8 Practical Ways to Bless Your Teen
- Cook their favorite meal- just for them and just because
- Write them a letter - Leave it where they're sure to find it. Tell them what you love about them and the ways you see them growing and maturing. I realize that some seasons may require some digging to find something positive to say. I get that! But, I guarantee you that you can find something. When you do, focus on that!
- Let them hear you talk highly of them to others - You don't have to make it obvious, but make sure they hear you...
- Make them breakfast in bed - How fun is that? It also makes getting up a little bit easier.
- Praise them - When you see them doing good make sure they know you notice! If you're struggling with a rebellious teen, this may seem overwhelming. But if you look for the good, you'll find it. Praising them for a good attitude or a job well done will go a long way to counter the correction that may seem to be the rule of thumb right now. Trust me, they'll appreciate it (even if they don't show it!)
- Handle some (or at least one!) of their chores on occasion - Saying something along the lines of, "You don't have to worry about unloading the dishwasher tonight. I noticed you were pretty busy with your homework so I handled it for you" will bless their socks off!
- Show them respect - Let them know that you recognize them as young adults through your tone of voice and in the way you interact with them.
- Surprise them with their favorite candy bar - They may be teens, but they'll still appreciate getting a treat when you come home from the store.
Want more ways to reach your teen's heart?
Watch the 5-part video series with creative ideas to be a more intentional parent. Blessing your teen is only one way to reach your teen's heart... Discover other ways to stay close as they grow!
See? Nothing rocket-science-y here! Bear in mind that love-languages can play a major role in blessing anyone in your life, so study your kids well. Through trial and error, I'll bet you'll come up with a list of your own; one that's perfectly tailored to your own teen!
And also remember the quality vs. quantity time issue... Love languages and their attitudes aside, your growing young adult really does need your time. Your engagement with him or her and your input will help serve as a compass as they move forward handling important issues in their lives.
So, what do you think?