WEEKEND: Christmas with Your Teen

Written by Mark Gregston. Posted in Parenting, teen culture


At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. But in homes with teenagers, Christmas chaos seems to rule! On this special holiday edition of Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston offers tips and strategies for filling your home with an extra measure of peace, laughter, joy, and love this Christmas.

Connecting Over Christmas Break

Written by Mark Gregston. Posted in Parenting, teen culture


Right now, parents around the country are facing a two-week vacation at home with their kids. So how can you make the most out of this leisure time with your teen?

Some of the best advice I have for connecting with your teen is this simple mandate: Lead with a question. Leave with a question.

Today, try lobbing your teen a good question, one that really makes ‘em think. Then … give them space to share their unfiltered opinion. No nagging, correcting, cajoling, or critiquing. And don’t finish their sentences! Let ‘em talk!

Teenagers long to know someone is truly willing to listen … without judging them for what they feel. So this Christmas season, put this helpful saying into practice: Lead with a question. Leave with a question.

Child Locks and Safeguards

Written by Mark Gregston. Posted in Parenting, teen culture


While I applaud parents who put child locks on TV channels and safeguards on the Internet … the reality is that kids can and do access inappropriate content elsewhere.

More than ever, parents and teens need to have frank discussions about things like drugs, sex and alcohol. Surprise your teen by cutting to the chase. You may think such topics are uncomfortable and inappropriate. But that won’t stop kids from the talking at school, texting each other, and posting things online.

So stop trying to completely shelter your teen from worldly influences.

Believe me when I say it doesn’t solve the long-term challenge! Rather, start training your child to guard his heart. The rewards will be rich as you watch him develop into a responsible, godly young man.

Dealing with Dishonesty

Written by Mark Gregston. Posted in Parenting, teen culture


In grade school, it starts with kids making up wild stories while keeping their fingers crossed behind their backs. But as time goes on, many teens fall into a deeper pattern of lying, cheating, and intertwining the truth with fiction.

Kids lie for the same reasons as adults … to lift themselves up, to get ahead, or to protect themselves and avoid consequences. What they rarely realize is that this short-term solution … often leads to long-term problems.

So if lying has become a way of life for your teen, don’t think it’ll just go away over time. Mom, Dad, confront fibbing while you still can! Don’t let them get away with bending the truth. Otherwise, you may be dealing with even bigger issues in the years to come.

Red Flags

Written by Mark Gregston. Posted in Parenting, teen culture


Lying, aggression, anger, mood swings, new friends, changes in sleep patterns … all of these are red flags that your teen may be abusing drugs.

When I was growing up, parents didn’t worry about drugs until their teens got to high school. But these days, kids are beginning to experiment at younger and younger ages.

So, if you’ve got a hunch about your teen’s behavior, don’t be afraid to administer a drug test every few weeks, unannounced. Even if they squeal in protest!

Your teen needs need to know how serious you are about keeping drugs out of their life … even if it means putting them in rehab or reporting them to the authorities.

Better a few days behind bars than a lifetime in the grip of drugs.