Parents in trouble with their teen call me when they are in pain and need help, but I’ve learned that many are just looking for an affirmation or justification of their own plan or ideas. Sadly, most people only accept advice when they agree with it, when it fits into their own time schedule, and when the outcome is what they predicted.
Trying to understand how to help your teen in a world that is constantly changing is like trying to hit a target that constantly moves. Just when your aim is right on target, things change — your kids change. Parents are often bewildered when trying to keep up with the always changing world of teens. It’s like trying to get a drink of water from a fire hydrant, or holding a fistful of sand. Knowing how to set the right standards and enforce the right discipline can be overwhelming, and may seem impossible.
One would think it is becoming easier to connect with our teenagers today with all of the newer, faster, and easier ways to communicate. We have Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SKYPE, cell phones, text messaging and voicemail. But are they really doing anything to improve your parental communications?
The story goes that Jesus was invited to come over to a friend’s house to sit down, relax, and swap stories. One of the hostesses of the get-together was a lady by the name of Martha, and she was your typical type A personality. The morning of the party, Martha frantically cleaned, cooked, and prepared the house for Jesus and the other guests to arrive. Then she spent the whole time during the party washing used plates, wiping up spills, refreshing everyone’s drink—basically running around like a chicken with her head cut off!
What have you done today to help your teenager grow in maturity? Some parents feed their teen’s selfishness into adult years by continuing to rotate their life around them. I tell parents that at age 15 it is time for them to begin aggressively helping their teen get over a selfish mindset.
Relationships thrive in settings where everyone agrees that nobody is perfect. Unconditional love is fundamental for building healthy relationships with teenage children who will test their parents and their rules in every possible way. When they do, a busy, stressed-out parent can often react in ways that don’t always convey unconditional love.
Confession time; I love my smart phone. I check my e-mail, read books, listen to music, store my photos, and navigate directions. I can also use this handy device to talk to people, but that is almost a secondary function on this type of phone. The technology in this tool can be wonderfully useful. With all the information and functionality at our fingertips, we live in a world far different than the one we grew up in.
If pain were knocking on your door, you wouldn’t welcome him, invite him in, or help him in any way. You would send him to the next neighborhood, reassuring him that he was at the wrong address.