Parenting

Being a parent of a teenager | South Side Messenger

Being a parent of a teenager |  South Side Messenger

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin. Call us at our consulting office with your comments, feedback, issues or questions at 434-808-2637.

A web search for quotes from parents of teenagers turned up many funny sayings. Here are a few. Teenager for sale, fully equipped with rolling eyes, deep sighs and sarcastic comments. Plays video games and writes 200 words per minute. No reasonable offer refused.

Definition of a teenager – a name; someone ready for the zombie apocalypse but not ready for tomorrow’s math test.

Raising teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a wall. Raising teenagers is like showing up to a five-alarm fire with a water gun. Grandchildren are God’s gift to parents for not giving away their teenagers.

The teenage years can be extremely difficult for teens and parents. The adolescent is afflicted with hormonal, emotional and physical changes while facing a myriad of social transformations. “I know I’m supposed to prepare my teenager for life and all, but it’s hard when they already know everything!” Your responsibility is to confront negative behaviors, discuss uncomfortable situations, and set boundaries with a teen who doesn’t want any of this. John Eldredge says, “The balancing act that we parents try to convince our teenagers: 1. You are loved more than you can imagine. 2. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

“Raising teenagers is like a Chinese buffet; lots of sweet and salty and as rational as a fortune cookie.” When is a teenager just a teenager and when is it time to ask for help? Here are some behaviors that signal a problem.

Change of interests, friends, activities. Teenagers are world famous for spending hours in their bedrooms. However, it is a warning sign if your teen loses interest in hobbies, activities, or is out of touch with friends. Another warning sign is an increase in reckless behavior, including the use of alcohol or drugs, sneaking out, risky driving, or physical aggression.

Change in level of physical activity. Changes in sleeping and eating habits are expected in adolescents, but significant changes indicate a deeper problem. A change in overall activity level, such as walking up stairs slowly, answering questions slowly, or dragging yourself out of bed even more than usual, are indicators of deep struggles.

Change in general mood; depression, anxiety or stress. Teenagers today face enormous social and academic pressures, but they shouldn’t feel sad most of the time. Address intense anxiety, worry, or stress that is disrupting some aspect of your teen’s life.

With young children, control is a word to describe parenthood; however, influence is the key word for teen parents. Here are three concepts that are building blocks to influence.

Link. Having a connection point helps keep a teenager from being silent. Being part of their interests, showing them that you appreciate them and want to be involved can help pave the way for good communication.

Respect. Your teenager thinks he or she is an adult. Yes, you are only trying to help them with facets of their life by encouraging them in the right direction to act with maturity and responsibility. If your teen doesn’t feel respected, he won’t hear this message.

Empathy. Let your teenagers know that you understand what they are going through. For us, the problems of our teenagers may seem insignificant compared to the adult problems we face. Your teenager sees his problems as important and upsetting. Validate your teen’s feelings by letting them know that you can relate to what they are going through.

Even if it is difficult to reach your teenager, you must assure him that you are there for him. “Successful parenting is the legitimate, God-ordained loss of control. The purpose of parenthood is to get us out of a job…to raise children who were once totally dependent on us to become independent, mature people who, relying on God and being well-connected to the Christian community, are able to stand on their own two feet.” Paul David Tripp, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide for Teen Parents

And don’t forget a parent’s most powerful tool: prayer.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27

Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin. Call us with your feedback, comments, problems or questions; our phone number is 434-808-2637.