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Ahh, the teenage years...traditionally, the time when that once cute and cuddly and sweet child that you birthed turns into a....well, turns into a...well, you probably know what I mean, right?! 😉
Now, I'm gonna give a bit of disclosure here that I'm NOT a PhD. I'm not in clinical practice, and other than some psychology classes I had in college while studying to be a Music Therapist (woot woot!!) way back in the dark ages, I'm not a "trained professional" of any sort!
We have 5 children: 3 adults (2 of them married), and 2 teens. And when I add Candy's experience (whom I consulted for this article) you can add 3 more adult children and another teen! 😉
So today I'll be sharing from our experiences, friends!
This post actually originated from an inquiry we received and posted on FB:
Whew - let me tell you, replying to that one is a little scary, but my heart goes out to her.
Rather than make this a "one approach vs the other"...
let me just share my thoughts.
Nobody can argue that the teen years aren't turbulent. Changing emotions, crazy hormones and newly-developing body parts all contribute to personalities who don't know whether they're coming or going...and that's just the parents!
Added to that, our culture doesn't entirely provide clear milestones to adulthood, or should I say healthy ones, for our teens. Although one's first beer, first dance, newly-acquired license, first car, first date, etc. may provide opportunities to behave responsibly, the settings in which they often occur neither emphasize nor encourage the same.
With all those mixed messages, no wonder our teens check out!
I think engaging with our teens is something that happens when they're children. Think about it... If mom or dad isn't really willing to pay much attention to a board game or time on the swing set...if the child's questions are deemed silly or, worse, not addressed at all...if parents are not a safe haven for information and encouragement from the get-go, why should they start running to us when the going really gets rough?
But I don't think that's the scenario this reader is describing. It's more a question of "What happens when a good parent seems to lose a grip on the child they played with, loved and cared for as a youngster?" Or, "How do I handle it when the bonds that seemed strong and secure appear to dissolve with the advent of adolescence?" Or even, "When parent and child don't seem to have anything at all in common anymore...is all lost?"
And holding on during these turbulent times is something that parents, including myself, often find difficult! But yes, you CAN!
Try to look for practical ways to bless your teen. And though they may be a bit awkward or uncomfortable to you, make sure they're ways that speak to him or her.
When our children are going through a rough time, I often tell them to remember "this, too, shall pass." Yes, it may sometimes be heard as trite and superficial, but it is also a time-tested truth that has gotten me through some pretty dark moments.
It's important, however, to remember that what we're talking about here is not an outrightly rebellious teen, not someone who is seriously into dangerous and/or illegal activity. We're referring to teens who may have temporarily lost their way; teens who are searching and seeking to discover what kind of adult they will be...what kind of man or woman is developing emotionally and psychologically inside, as they're also growing up physically outside.
Two books that I have found especially helpful for this topic are Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Ted Tripp, and The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers New Edition: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively, by Gary Chapman. Full of practical advice and easy-to-read, I had either one of these books on my bedside table for years. (Disclaimer: I didn't read the new Edition of the Love Languages book...I read this edition, which was fantastic in and of itself, so I'd imagine the new one is even better!)
Need Help With Your Teen TODAY?
But if you're struggling right now with your teen, and need a bit more immediate help without having to get through a whole book, you're here at the perfect time!
Introducing the Thriving at Home Summit
From June 1-4 (yup, that's right now!) you can listen to over 20 top-notch, qualified speakers present ways to help your relationships grow (Day 1), practical parenting tools (Day 2), personal development strategies (Day 3), and faith-building concepts (Day 4).
Specifically, if you're looking for "teen tips," I'd especially recommend the following (all times Eastern):
Day 1 - How to Truly Connect at Home - 9am - Gil and Brenda Stuart
Day 2 - The entire theme of the day is Thriving Kids. These may be especially helpful:
- Daddy, Are You Proud of Me? - 9am - Sean Smith
- How to Raise Great Kids from Diapers to the Dorm Room - 10am - Randy Pardue
- The Father Effect: How to Overcome Past Wounds and Parent Well - 1pm - John Finch
Day 3 - Wednesday's theme is A Thriving You, but these presentations may be applicable to healing the relationship with your teen (especially during these stressful pandemic days...):
- How to Manage Anger and Stress at Home... - 10am - Drs. Ray and Julie Hayden
- Everyone's Got Bears: How Not to Feed Into Anxiety and Depression During Stressful Times - 1 pm - David Cumming
- You Can Do Hard Things (And Your Kids Can, too!) - 5pm - Sloane Ketchum
So, for a few hours of your time, you can be inspired and get some great tools - presented by people who are making this their life's work - to help heal your family and grow even stronger down the road!
But the folks at Thrive at Home know that even if you can't make these live, it doesn't mean you don't value your family relationships or want to take them to the next level... And to that end, you CAN STILL BENEFIT from the wisdom presented during these four days by picking up a "front-row seat" VIP ticket!
The VIP Pass includes:
- video recordings of all 20 sessions
- audio recordings of all 20 sessions
- printed notes from all sessions (so you can listen without distractions!)
- future bonuses and updates
The live sessions are free...the VIP Pass is available for a nominal fee.
Please note: I hope you never sign up for anything solely on my or anyone else's recommendation. Head over to the website, read up on the presentations and the speakers, pray about it and talk it over with your spouse, and then make a decision. The only thing I would say is if you're finding an undue amount of stress at home these days, or if you're finding the relationship with your teen is somewhat deteriorating...there is never a better time to act than the present! Reach out and work on it while you can, ok?! <3
Click on the image to learn more!
It's time to be intentional about our parenting!
Are you up to the calling? Reclaiming your teen's heart will require some intentional effort. Yup, it's a lot of work - but oh-so-worth it! Looking for ways to be more intentional? Watch my 5 part series on things you can start doing today to "up" your parenting game!
Of course, everyone and every situation is different, but I do know one thing: God covers it all... Click To Tweet
Nevertheless, if you find yourself dealing with a more-than-reluctant teen, or there are serious issues going on at home, I'd encourage you to find serious help. We were not made to live alone, and often good, Christian counseling can help us get through difficult situations.
I often joke about how the teen years helped keep me on my knees (which, by the way, isn't a horrible place to be!). As my older three have left this season, I have two others still there... Guess you know where I'll be in the foreseeable future...
So those are my thoughts...and some from a few wise Facebook friends...