Tag Archives: listening

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

my gangAfter parenting 4 amazing kids, for almost 30 years, I thought I would share some of the toughest things I’ve had to learn (and am still learning) through the process…

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

  1. LISTEN and ASK questionsChill questions. Casual. Don’t act like Sherlock. The point is to ask questions that usually require something more than a grunt, and hopefully you’ve been listening and can come up with one that they will want to answer. A great place to attempt this, is at the dinner table or while they are trapped in the car with you. (This is tricky, and requires much effort and patience on your part.  Don’t get discouraged, it will get easier)
  2. Set guardrails a/k/a boundaries and rules with set consequences.  Rules or, as I like to call them, non-negotiables; such as lying, cheating, disrespecting you, getting a zero on a report card… I don’t know what yours would be, but I’m talking about the issues you will fight to the death for.  Those are in stone and set your family’s standards.  Everything else is a guardrail, which you discuss, explain and can possibly  alter under circumstances.  If these are in place, then you are parenting  proactively instead of reactively. (much easier for day to day drama) Really.
  3. Hang out with them.  Have a date night. A shopping trip or, a breakfast out.  Something my gangthat you regularly do with your kid – that’s different than the daily grind.  Be intentional.
  4.  Know your Social Media.  No excuses.  If your young person has any kind of an internet identity, then you better know what it is and how it works.  Period.  Take a class if you have to, but it’s the INTERNET. The ENTIRE world in the palm of their hands.
  5.  Know your kids internet passwords.  They don’t have a right to internet privacy. Seriously.  If the government and all the interfaces they are using, know their passwords, and activity, so should you – you, the parent and the person that is supplying all of that electricity, wifi and phone service.  If you both understand the internet, this point is valid.  Check their social media. Now that you know it, and have the passwords, every now and then, do a check.  Kids need parents and accountability.  Otherwise they wouldn’t be kids.  Man up and just do it.  It’s not invading their privacy.  Now reading their diary/journal is a completely different story. Leave that alone.
  6.  Make your home a place they want to be… and their friends.  Find a used ping-pong table or a basketball hoop.  Always have snacks in the pantry and something to drink in the fridge other than milk and water.  (Please don’t think I mean you should have all the latest video games, and let them do whatever they want)
  7.  Say, “I’m Sorry.”  Be an example of learning from your mistakes.  Especially when you lose your temper with them! Even if they have pushed you over the edge, freaking out is never a good idea. So, when you do freak out, (assuming you’re like me) be sure to tell them you’re sorry.
  8.  Encourage them.  They need it. A lot.  Encourage without sounding like you are babying them. Avoid pinching the cheeks and telling them how cute they are… especially in front of their friends.
  9.  When (not if) they mess up, and come to you, or even if they don’t come to you, never motmobsay, “I told you so.” Don’t even say, “I was afraid that would happen.” Consequences will be hard enough when they hit the wall.  Having you there to listen and love will be much better, and will set the foundations for the impending friendship that you just might have with them someday.  I’m not saying save them from consequences – Don’t do that.  That’s how they learn and grow. I’m saying to love them through it.  They already know they messed up. They don’t need us pointing that out again and again, or telling them what they should’ve done.  This would be a great time to implement #1 …
  10.  Pray with them. Pray for them. Share the Word of God with them in a real way.  It’s not the Churches job to train your kids up in the Lord.  It’s yours.  You can’t be too busy.  You can’t put busyness before that.  If you do, don’t be surprised when they grow up and are too busy for the things of God.  What you make priorities in your life, will probably be theirs.  I know… Ouch.

Parenting teens is hard.  They are emotionally driven, hormonal, men/women children under our stewardship! Thank God we have all of those sweet memories of their first steps and loose teeth to remind us how much we love them!  They are not always going to like us, and will most likely even tell us that they hate us.  (which usually means you’re doing something right) They are full of passion, ideas, hope and energy.  God help us.

This list is far from complete.  I could have made this a “Top 100”.  These are just the ones that were the hardest for me to learn.   I didn’t even address dating! That’s a blog post all unto itself. Really.

What would you add to this list?

 

talking, listening & short shorts

talking, listening & short shorts

I talk a lot.  Sometimes I actually get tired of talking.  I’ve gotten better over the years, and have learned what conviction is, although sometimes it’s a little too late.  That’s the problem with us folks of many words.  The more you speak the more opportunity you have to say things that you probably shouldn’t have.

I think the gift of talking, comes with the gift of listening.  The first can be self-serving and empty with out the second.  Believe it our not, even God pointed that out in His Word… (Pro 10:19, 12:18, 13:3 & James 1:19, Matt 12:26-37

 (ouch).  If you can listen, you can speak life or death, and even be quiet when necessary.  You can help people, or hurt them.  I can testify to this, from years of experience!  That’s why I think the two gifts go together.  God usually doesn’t give us something that we won’t have to work out, besides salvation.

A couple of months ago, at one of my son’s baseball games, I accidentally sat with the opposing teams parents.  The lady sitting next to me was pretty sweet, and we chatted all though the double header.  We cheered for each other’s boys, and congratulated each other for good plays.  She’s a cheerleading coach and has a daughter and son, both in middle school.   We shared lots of “mom” stories, and we really seemed to hit it off.   One of the things I shared with her was the difficulty of raising a daughter and a son just a few years apart.  I warned her about the “crushes” from her daughter’s friends, and I told her about the “modesty” rules we had to have in our home.  My husband and I take modestly pretty seriously, and want our home to be a safe place, where my boys, and my husband, are not faced with “stumbling” in lust.  I casually told my new friend, that we didn’t allow any of my daughter’s friends to hang out in short shorts and tank tops, while lounging in our home.  It was a challenge! Especially through middle and high school!

That topic was really just one of many my new friend and I shared, and honestly, I didn’t even really remember it.  I don’t normally remember most of my conversations, until the middle of the night when conviction or Satan wakes me up.

We went back to play that team last week.  I will tell you that my insecurities were large and in charge, as I saw her sitting down the line with her family and friends.  I was expecting her to give me a half wave, and look away, as I was sure I probably offended her in some way or talked too much at our last encounter.  I know, I know… Lame.

Much to my surprise, she waved and even moved her chair down and sat with me.  As I sat there, thinking what an idiot I was, she excitedly told me that she had thought about me, and something I had said stuck with her, and has made a difference in her life!  What?  Really?  Excuse me, but being the Mom of 3 adults, leaves me in a mostly constant state of frustration.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had that statement said to me before…(I’m sure my mom can relate)

I looked at her, with obvious shock, and said, “what?”  She then excitedly told me that she had never thought about her son and daughter and the entire hormone thing together.  As a cheer coach, she had never even thought about those short shorts and tanks, and it hadn’t ever occurred to her that the way the girls dressed, just might be a stumbling block for hormone raging boys.  She had to order uniforms for her team, and she didn’t order the short shorts!  She was even communicating with Nike about trying to find more athletic attire for her girls.  She told me that those girls are athletes, and should look more like that as well!  She was even doing away with the hair bows.  She was on fire and focused on the challenge to modest up those uniforms, as well as staying aware of keeping her home a safe place.

Wow.  I was amazed.  First, that any of my babblings would be remembered, but then more importantly, I marveled at this women and how God was working in her life.  Her determination to make a difference was inspiring.  To be even more transparent, I was actually envious of her conviction that obviously surpassed mine.

It made me think about talking and listening.  I did listen to her, and she apparently listened to me.  How responsible should we be about what comes out of our mouths?  How thin is the line from hurt to help, and where does that responsibility lie? With the speaker or the listener?  God used something, as he usually does if we are really listening to things he wants us to hear.   She is using her voice and her influence to make a difference, and I believe she will.  I can only pray to do the same.

Are you a talker or a listener, or have you mastered the balance?