Do you remember what it was like as a teen? Being a teenager can be scary and awkward. The emotional highs are up in the clouds and the emotional lows are down in the dumps. It can be a tough season for the whole family, even more so in these stay-at-home times.
How are you doing in quarantine if you have teens in the house? I’d love to hear back from you on how it’s going and what is working for your family.
Being around teens can sometimes be trying in the best of times. But this–this hothouse living that we are all forced into–can make things even more heated. And so I’d like to share some things that might help you take a step back and look at your teen a little differently.
(I will be sharing some wisdom from author Paul David Tripp, author of Parenting.)
Teens aren’t eager to get wisdom and correction.
Most teens think they know more than they do. Especially more than their parents or other adults. Thus the eye-rolling and disinterest that some of them exhibit when parents or adults are talking. Yes, this is annoying, but the answer is not to correct in a mean way or demean the teen.
Your job is to make wisdom attractive.
You don’t do this with nasty, inflammatory confrontations. No wisdom is imparted in these moments. If you hit teens with a barrage of verbal bullets, they will either run for the bunker or come out firing themselves.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
Making wisdom attractive means imparting it in loving and timely ways, not as a weapon or punishment.
Teens are protective of their friends.
If you feel the need to have a discussion with your teen about one or more of their friends, approach them with calmness, sensitivity, and love. Attacking their friends verbally or name-calling will only make your teen defensive. Your goal should be to ask thoughtful questions that encourage your teen to think about their motives and choices when it comes to friendships.
Teens live in the moment and don’t think long-term.
Teenagers are notorious for living only for the moment, which may result in them procrastinating responsibilities until the very last minute. It’s important for parents to lovingly challenge that mindset–today is not the only day that matters.
Our teenagers need us to be on site, teaching them to look at the long view of life, not with harsh condemnation and frustration, but with empathy and forbearance. They need our help to see that every choice, every action is an investment and that it is impossible to live life without planting seeds that will be the plants of life they will someday harvest. (Paul David Tripp)
Effective parents do a good job of remembering what it was like to be a teen with a roller coaster of emotions and hormones raging. It’s too easy for us to forget, but let’s force ourselves to think back on it every now and then. Remember how you wanted to be treated.
There is no doubt in my mind that you are living in a season–Coronovirus and all–that is full of opportunity for you to see your teen through a different lens. When you find yourself getting frustrated with them, take a break and try to look at life through their eyes before you impart on them the lecture you think they must hear. Work on two-way conversations–you’ve got the time right now because no one is going anywhere anytime soon.
If you need some support in getting along with your at-home teen, I’m offering free coaching from now until April 30th. Please schedule a call here.