In the early days of this blog I offered advice on parenting. At the time I had younger kids that were relatively compliant. Parenting in that season yielded challenges most parents encounter.
It seemed that daily we were addressing issues like irresponsibility, disobedience, or lack of respect for others. I wouldn’t suggest it was on a chronic scale. Just typical opportunities to teach our kids how to be responsible, how to care more about others, how to respect authority, etc, etc.
Today we parent teenagers.
You’ll notice I haven’t offered parenting advice on my blog in quite a while.
Maybe I will AFTER I’m done parenting teens. Then again, maybe not.
Parenting teens is different.
It’s kind of funny because when I review the list above, it isn’t as if you no longer address those issues. Actually, you lean into them more. The difference with parenting teens is you’re always navigating the relationship in such a way that you keep the door to their hearts open.
And that can be tough to do.
You see, we strive to raise adults who can make wise decisions for themselves no matter what they face in life. At some point they have to learn how to make decisions for themselves. And allowing them space to do that while they are still in our home is the best time. The stakes are lower right now. They can mess up and the consequences are not as severe.
But creating this culture within our home requires consistent conversation. And introducing conversation in the elementary years is the best way to establish that culture.
Spiritual development is not a singular event. It’s not a say-a-prayer, get-’em-dunked, one-and-done moment. It’s a series of conversations, moments, and experiences that help a child adopt a faith that impacts their every day life. An every day faith.
And an every day faith involves constant conversation.
Not a monologue.
Lord, have mercy. Don’t monologue! (I’ve tried… it doesn’t work.)
Talking implies an exchange. You talk, they listen AND they talk, you listen.
And you’ll be far more successful establishing a pattern of conversation with your teens if you start when they are in elementary school.
That’s why I really like Brian Dollar’s new book, Talk Now and Later.
Brian does a great job establishing why conversation is so critical to helping our kids grow into healthy adults. In fact, the book addresses some key conversations you want to have with your kids about hot topics like Sex, Self-Image, Divorce & Friendships.
These are tough conversations every parent is likely to encounter with their kid. Brian does a great job offering help to navigate them.Learn More