Preventing Damaging Parental Habits

Written by Mark Gregston.

Preventing Damaging Parental HabitsI have never heard a mom publicly announce, “I want my daughter to be perfect,” and I have never heard a dad audibly declare, “I want to force my authority on my son.”  And, I’ve never heard parents say, “We want to be judgmental parents.” For I’ve heard hundreds of daughters say, “My mom wants me to be perfect.”  And I’ve heard an equal number of sons say, “My dad rules our home with an iron fist.”  And I’ve heard thousands of kids say, “My parents are the most judgmental people I know.”  Somewhere between our intent and our execution, those can be the very desires we communicate to our kids.

Picking Up The Broken Pieces of Shattered Trust

Written by Mark Gregston.

Picking Up The Broken Pieces of Shattered TrustTrust is a valuable and fragile commodity.  In the economy of family relationships, trust is both given and received as parents and teens gingerly pass it back and forth.  When these trust transactions are handled properly, relationships grow and thrive.  But Mom and Dad—don’t hold on to that commodity too tightly, because your teenage son or daughter will break it.  It’s really not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when.”  At some point, you’ll place your trust in the hands of your teenage child, and they’ll drop it and shatter it into pieces.

Dousing the Flame: Dealing with Teenager Anger

Written by Mark Gregston.

Dousing the Flame: Dealing with Teenager AngerFor Lucas, it started in high school.  “I guess I have a face and personality that invites bullies,” he told me.  Kids in class would ridicule Lucas’ clothes, mock his behavior, laugh at where he came from, and deride him constantly.  But in teen culture, you can’t show weakness.  Teens know that if you let on to bullies that they’re affecting you, you’re giving them an open invitation to continue the abuse.  So Lucas put on his impervious face each day, and endured the barrage of mistreatment at school.  But that kind of ill-treatment wears you down.  “When I would finally come home,” explained this young man, “the littlest thing would set me off.  I mean, my mom would ask me to take out the trash and I could feel the anger building.  At first I wouldn’t talk, but that made my mom mad, so eventually all this anger would just, kinda, explode.  I would yell, throw things, break things.  My mom didn’t know what to do.

Finding the Hidden Messages In Your Teen’s Inappropriate Behavior

Written by Mark Gregston.

Finding the Hidden Messages In Your Teen’s Inappropriate BehaviorDon’t judge; but I’m a fan of the National Treasure movies.  Remember those films?  They starred Nicholas Cage as Benjamin Gates, a historian and modern fortune hunter who believed that America’s national monuments and historical artifacts contained a secret treasure map from the founding fathers.  While other researchers and academics laughed at his conspiracy theories, Benjamin Gates eventually proved that underneath the common symbols and landmarks we see in America was a trail of messages pointing to new discoveries.

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Teen

Written by Mark Gregston.

Greatest GiftAs parents, we often put a lot of blame on ourselves for what we cannot offer our kids.  When Christmas or birthdays roll around, we feel guilty when we can’t afford the latest and greatest iPads, video games, designer shoes, or state-of-the-art cell phones.  Perhaps we feel embarrassed that, when it comes to housework, we’re barely keeping our head above water, and it’s all we can do to start the laundry, run the dishwasher, and feed the dog.  And if that’s not bad enough, we have the tendency to compare ourselves to what other moms and dads can offer their teens.  Instead of being able to take a family vacation to Disney World, perhaps all you can do is pack the car up for a weekend with Grandpa and Grandma in Peoria, Illinois (I love people in Peoria; this is just an example).  While other teens you know are taking private ski lessons, learning Italian in Europe, or going out to a movie every weekend, you feel like you’re letting your teen down because you’re not able to offer the same type of experiences.  So we start to believe that we don’t pass muster as parents.

A False Sense of Maturity

Written by Mark Gregston.

Teaching MaturityIt’s probably happened to a lot of dads.  Your kid spends his mornings watching you drag yourself to the bathroom mirror, pile some shaving cream in your hand, break out your razor, and start shaving your face.  Soon, your son (or maybe even daughter) decides they need to shave too.  So you squirt a little cream in their hands, supply them a with tongue depressor, and let them “shave.”  As you both lean into the vanity mirror, it’s hard not to laugh, watching your five-year-old seriously attack the non-existent stubble on his face.

When Your Teen is in the Wrong Crowd

Written by Mark Gregston.

Wrong CrowdIf you swim with the sharks, you’re bound to get bitOne bad apple spoils the whole bushel.  Bad company corrupts good character.  Many parents have added these phrases to their lexicon, because they illustrate the dangers of running with the “wrong crowd”. As moms and dads, we know how susceptible kids are to peer influence.  You’ve likely spent many sleepless nights worrying about the people your child is hanging around.  What are they teaching my son?  What are they pressuring my daughter to do?  Are these friends that will give needed support and encouragement to my teen, or are they the type of people who will bring my child down?

Events/Retreats/Mark’s Schedule

Date Event Location
Apr. 18-19 Heartlight Parent Retreat Longview, TX
Apr. 26 Friends of Heartlight Dinner Portland, OR
Apr. 26 Tough Guys & Drama Queens Seminar Portland, OR
Apr. 27 Mark to speak at Grace Chapel Wilsonville, OR
May 2 - 3 Evening with Mark Gregston Flagstaff, AZ
June 26-28 Families In Crisis Conference Longview, TX
Parenting Today's Teens is produced and sponsored by the Heartlight Ministries Foundation. You can visit our family of websites below.