Teenager = nearly adult sized, complex, often-irrational, hormone soaked, walking – talking, mood machines. As impossible to predict as the stock market in an election year.
For parents of “teens” the challenge is the same. How do we connect with them in the middle of their funk?
Couple of quick thoughts to share, ALL learned the hard way.
1 – SPACE; teens need their space. Don’t hover or cover them when your feeling their “pulling-away” vibe. Fight the parental instinct to force the issue and immediately resolve whatever is ailing them. The reality is, it probably has little or nothing to do with us. Give them the emotional and physical space to move back towards you when their hormones re-balance.
2- RESPECT; teens crave respect. Even if what they just told you is absolute drivel, don’t blow it off right away. We parents need to consider their ideas, dreams and passions as we would an adult friend. Learn to focus for a moment on their latest passionate obsession before blasting it away. Listen to their interests as closely as your opinionated adult brain allows you to. Fight the urge to correct the many errors of logic and false assumption that you will most certainly discover!
3- CONSISTENCY; teens love and hate this. Love- Love- LOVE the stability that we as parents provide when we stand our ground on life issues. They Hate, Hate – HATE House rules, our rigid moral values and insistence on sticking to the bible. In the end our decision to rule with quiet fortitude will be more effective than periods of passivity & frustrated – enraged debate.
As my dear friend Fr Brian Hardin says… “teens like to try on new ideas and new identities like clothes“, let’s give them the space and the pace of life to thrash out who they are going to be without “reacting” every time they say or try something crazy. Instead we need to stand firm on our principles of faith and family values and watch as they process it all into their own beliefs. Go ahead and be near enough to support and protect them… but with the space they need to expand and grow.
I believe parenting is like marriage, it only works if your committed to making it work. For parents of teens…renew your determination to keep trying until you find a way to connect with each of your kids hearts. No matter what.
In the end, we’re broken and flawed parents trying to raise up “perfect” kids. Folks, let’s be honest…It Aint’ gonna happen. Let’s plan instead on God’s Grace working in us to attract them to a Faith and a God that’s big enough to handle us both.
Peace out, Pastor B.