Being a teenager parent, you are brought up thinking that you will be able to raise your children with your opinions, values, and ideas. For the most part, children are receptive to their parents’ values and concepts. Aging and transforming into being adults themselves, children tend to gravitate to conflicting viewpoints when hitting adolescence.
Teenagers begin to develop their own identity and assert independence. Many times, this assertion can begin to rub parents the wrong way, especially if they are in disagreement over the topic that brings conflict.
Disagreements will always happen, but how one communicates will determine its effectiveness or failure. While teenagers should be held responsible for how they talk and treat their parents, the adults also must realize whether they’re blood or not; they are the elder in the situation. It is the teenager parent lead that will determine how a conversation progresses.
The following five mistakes you make as a teenager parent will help you guide yourself as a more effective speaker and person to go to with teenagers.
- Immediately digging into the negatives.
- Not giving attention to what needs to be said/done.
- Care about what is going on, not for other purposes.
- Stop interrupting each other.
- Not enough listening, too much talking.
Mistakes you make being a teenager parent. Challenges and tips to avoid them
Problem: As a teenager parent, it is easy to remember what your child did wrong, mainly if their actions were offensive and disrespectful. For adults, knowing God is vital to success. However, teenagers are in the midst of discovering their own faith and experiment. Sometimes, this is with good choices; other times, they decide to pick the poorer decisions.
Even the most God-fearing teenager sins, and this should be judged accordingly. Alcohol, drugs, sex, swearing, smoking, and rebellion are considered average behaviors. However, for the Christian teenager parent, these are choices they rather not catch their children in.
Once they do, sometimes, the reaction is not what one would expect out of themselves, and their dialogue intrudes into character destruction and belligerence. Other times, the parent assumes their child is up to no good when in reality, they judged too fast.
Solution: Teenager parent should always remember the following verse from Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” This is the hardest choice and challenge for a distressed parent to choose, especially when you catch your child in sinful behavior. However, we must remember to not judge unless we want to be.
Think about your own past, because you were a Christian. Even if you have been a Christian for all of your life, we have all made mistakes. We all sin. Instead of pouring accusations and disappointment from our lips, we need to think and remember the person we were at their age. Life is filled with negatives, and it isn’t your job to berate them over a decision they will eventually regret. Instead, allow yourself to pray over your thoughts and talk to God. He always knows what is best, and will direct you to the right decision.
Not giving attention to what needs to be said/done
Problem: Society views teenagers as dramatic, hormonal young adults who believe the universe revolves around them. For many, this rings true. However, there are also problems in society that no one will address, but the claim issues. Some of these hot-button issues include bullying (cyber as well), sexual harassment, double standards with dress codes and gender acceptance. Teenagers today are becoming more educated and aware of the world they live in. Many times, they suffer from these problems, but will not discuss them with a trusted adult. Why? The reason is thanks to our natural instinct to say, “everything is alright,” “it gets better,” “it won’t matter in _ years,” and “ignore it.” In reality, we ignore the problems. We have caused them to others, and instead of addressing the issue, we brush it under the rug.
Solution: Talk to your teenager and let them know you are there. Embody the infamous Matthew 7:1-3 affirmation. Judging people is natural for humans, and Christians are some of the worst offenders. We naturally try to live like Jesus and be better to others than ourselves. Unfortunately, we take this and develop our own ego and complex. While you might not want to hear about your daughter’s opinion on the Pill, you might also find out she was invited to a party. Your son might listen to you about your dating advice, and not lose his virginity. Like anyone else, teenagers especially need parental acceptance. The better your communication is and the more understanding you are, the more likely you will uncover the truth, before it’s too late.
Care about what is going on, not for other purposes
Problem: As people, we cannot stand it when we are only talked out of convenience. It hurts our feelings and makes us believe that the person was just there for one reason: to use us. We’re the biggest offenders with teenagers. We don’t have much in common theoretically, but teenagers are beginning to rationalize ideas and make abstract world connections. With this, they can tell when you want to talk to know them or to “know” them. In this reference, the teenager is more of a spy on the inside, giving adults the information needed in their situation. This can be with their own child or using others to discover the truth for theirs. Either way, it is a gossiping tactic that is out of date and not worth focusing on.
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit
Solution: “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit (Psalm 34:13),” is the best defense against this problem. While you might discover more information from gossip, it is not laced with good intention. Instead, you have encountered individuals that want to break down another’s character with their motivation. At the same time, it is disrespectful to God, who speaks the real word for us. If you as a teenager parent want to know what is going on, you have to speak to them personally and effectively. They will be more than happy when they realize you’re not investigating them. Remember, teenagers are insecure and fragile, so gossip can destroy their day without discovering it.
Stop interrupting each other
Problem: You and your teen are in the midst of an argument. Typically, you bicker, but this one is overflowing with anger and pain. You feel unheard, unappreciated and take advantage of. It’s not the first time either, and you’re sick of hearing their excuses. While your teen makes their claim, you interrupt them, expressing a thought you’ve held for minutes. Then, they begin to interrupt you. Interruption is the result of impatience and intolerance. Whether we want to admit it or not, interrupting a person states that our opinion or saying is more valuable than the other person. On top of this, we are not listening to hear the other side. Instead, we respond with the intention of stating our view, not comprehend theirs.
Solution: As Proverbs explain, allow a soft voice to escape your lips, not a harsh word. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and speak how you feel. As long as it’s within reason and without consideration, it is valid. Interruption makes your child feel inadequate and undervalued. Imagine their stance: they want to be heard by the one person they can trust, and instead, they are met with arrogance and snide. Teenagers are known as the ones to give attitude, but they cannot take it with their budding self-concept and image. Be gentle with your words and understanding with your ears. Your decisions with your mouth can make or break your conversation with your teenager.
Problem: Everyone in this universe feels like no one listens to them. The majority of people I have met are talkers. We can all explain our rational and logic. We are love to speak on what we think, feel and want. I have yet met an individual who wasn’t happy to discuss themselves, but when I begin to talk, the mood shifts. However, how many of us listen to each other, and not just for our answer or turn? How many times do we realize the conversation has gone down south? Many times, the problem within the relationship has nothing to do with what the person did. It’s what we did not do. As James 1:22 mentions, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says,” we are reminded of the key point of listening: to understand and reason.
Solution: Abide by James 1:22, even in your daily life. Listen to your teenager. They aren’t able to fully understand, but you can be that example they need. It is essential for them to value the art of being able to understand a person and discover them. You learn more about their ideas, opinions, and self. Knowing your teenager will make communication more effective and decreasing conflict. Not only this, but they’re able to love you more because you accept them. Like how we accept Christ in our lives, children want to be able to look up to their parents. Continue to show unconditional love, and they will reciprocate.