The gift everyone of us can give

Parents of adolescents… stay cool, don’t panic.Your precious little -sweet- child has not suddenly lost their ever-loving-mind!

It’s just THE epic transition you’ve been dreading since they arrived! You know, the painful process of growing up. A rite of passage that every parent endures, as kids move up from childhood to become young adults! All of it aggravated by nearly permanent ear buds, post-Christian pop culture and the once-in-a-lifetime, hormone fueled…adolescent growth spurt!

I recently talked with a slightly sheepish 11-year-old who was anxious about when he could expect to enter the aforementioned hormone tsunami, and finally get his mustache and muscles. He was openly noticing how much taller his ‘younger’ sister was… and woefully predicting that he could end up being the only one in his family shorter than mom!

I paused for a moment and reminded myself of how it felt to be a pre-adolescent boy – living in an adult world. The shortest kid in your class, with a child’s cherubic, stubble-free chin to defend every hour of the junior high day. I could feel this little guys angst… his uncertainty and his frustration and even open bewilderment.

racheldevine.com

racheldevine.com

It suddenly dawned on me… his dad wasn’t around to reassure him. Raised by a single mom who was working day and night to make ends meet, he didn’t have many role-models in his masculine life. Like many kids today, there just wasn’t anyone to take the time with him to dig into the deeper stuff… to explain this hormone fueled season of life and to convince him it would all turn out OK in the end…

So I did.

I had forgotten just how terrifying the path to adulthood really was.

The issues are still exactly the same as when I grew up… (Identity, acceptance, purpose, girls…) but the intensity and complexity of all the ‘extra’ stuff kids struggle with has dramatically amplified the impact of stress on our kids. The layering of uncontrolled circumstances and the pace of life has increased the stress on pre-adolescents like never before and we adults need to be extra sensitive to our kids needs.

No generation has ever needed to be more affirmed, encouraged and supported. No other generation has ever felt the anxiety of only knowing and growing up in a post-9-11 world. 

Pre-Teens are desperate for adults to take the time with them! They long for someone to show a genuine interest in them…. to believe that they are important enough to warrant a semi-adult conversation about their very grown up fears and frustrations, loves and likes.

Let’s all agree to listen more and pay attention to the 10-11 and 12-year-old kids in our world. To really LOOK AROUND and be aware of these ‘tweens’ ! To remember they are little adults desperate to be affirmed, accepted and included in a grown-up world.

It maybe that our extra attention at just the right moment in a tween’s life will change their world forever. 

That’s a gift every one of us can give.

Pastor B.

 

 

 

 

 

Girls + Boys = Drama !

I think it’s safe to write this now… we’ll see !

I’ve raised three teen-agers ( 2 girls and a boy) and anyway you cut it… with the teen years, there is going to be drama.  Seriously, until I was a dad I had no idea how much girls fuss and fume about the boys. Hair… makeup, fashion… shoes all become “CRITICAL” issues at some point. I didn’t know how messy boys really were or how much some kids need their space to stay sane !

onlineparentingcoach.com

onlineparentingcoach.com

As parents we have a couple of choices on how to manage the DRAMA. I’m very curious if anyone has had much success with any one approach ? I’m currently working on a new book project and wanted to do some basic research with our RTP readers. Feeling strong… read on !

Girls and boys isolated or together create lots of drama. The older they get… the more it seems to be around. Tears of anger, tears of joy…tears of frustration and tears of sadness. Every kind of TEAR falls in the home of families with tweens and teens. Lots of life get’s sorted out in these years and it’s VERY difficult to know exactly what to do.

I’m starting a series of blog posts to take polls of what average families of faith are doing or have done with their tweens and teens. This is very helpful stuff for those parents living around the hormone storm and struggling to navigate the junior high and HS years.

If you would be so kind… please read and reply via social media  or email (bam567@msn.com) and let me know what your families stance has been or will be on the issues below ? This is to help other parents who are struggling a bit… so please be totally honest.  Very little has been researched with our emerging digital age of parenting, and we have much to learn from each other!

21 Essential Questions for Parents of tweens / teens !

1-Do you as parents allow your kids to date?

2-Do you have an age limit for dating ?

3-Do you have a curfew ? If so, when ?

4-Do you chaperone your kids dates ?

5-Do you allow your kids to participate with dates at school dances and special events like Prom, Homecoming ?

6-Do you talk with your kids about sexuality before they date? If so, when or at what age?

7-Do you do regular devotions with your kids… if so, how often ?

8-Do you use a particular resource (Bible, App, Ministry, Denomination) to educate your kids about their faith ?

9-How often do you attend church on average ?

10-Do you take your pre-teens or teen with you to Church or do you let them decide ?

11- Have your kids been baptized ? If so, at what age ?

12- If you were honest, which emotion is most common for you as a parent ? (Fear / or / Love)

13- Do you allow your kids to watch TV ? If so, how much and what shows ?

14- Do you allow your kids to watch R rated movies ?

15- Do you review your kids iPod’s or other mobile devices for browser history and text message content ? If so, do you tell them?

16- How do you discipline your kids ?

17 – Would you say your kids are “Christian” in the cultural sense ?

18- Would you characterize your kids as being “Passionate” about their faith ?

19- Do you know if your kids read the bible ? If so, how often would you guess ?

20- Do you know if your kids believe what you believe ? How did you determine that ?

21 – Do you allow your kids to have a mobile phone / smartphone and if so, at what age ?

 

Thanks so much for taking a little time to help with this project ! Results will be forthcoming and shared on RTP 🙂

Pastor B