Tuesday May 22

Your teens: Your best friends!!

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Why Teens Rebel and the Solution!.

Last week, I had a business lunch with a customer who told me he was having problems with his 15-year-old daughter. When I told him that my daughter is 14, he warned me, “Get ready- She’ll turn into a monster any day now!” This week, during another business meal, when I asked another customer if he had children, he replied with a smirk, “Yeah, my oldest is 19. You want her? You can have her!” Why do we lose our children’s friendship once they become adolescents? Is there a way to avoid losing their hearts? Finding the root of the problem may hurt a little, but it will lead us to the solution.” 

There are three reasons why teens rebel:

The first reason is a lack of quality time. During those short years when children are young and their hearts are open, parents often fail to sow seeds of friendship (read more on this: link). Many times parents (and it seems to be worse with fathers) get so busy in daily routines they forget that their children need more than food on the table and a roof over their heads. Children need quality with their parents and, as they become teens, they need to feel like someone “gets them”. A teen who feels understood by his parents is not a rebellious teen.

The second reason is the lack of consistent limits in your teen’s life from the time he was little. If you gave your child too much freedom while he was young and then try to constrain outward behavior with many rulers once they reach the teen years, this might be counterproductive to the outcome you want (read more: link to “happy and obedient children”.

The third reason is: you might not be the best example, so they might not respect you nor see you worthy of their friendship. For example, if you instruct your kids not to lie and they catch you lying, they will view you as someone who is inconsistent and not a desirable friend. Your kids know you better than you think. Have you ever scolded your teen for having a bad attitude? If you ever did that, while you allow yourself to gossip and criticize others, you placed distance between your teen and yourself. More is caught than taught. Perhaps you feel that your children have chosen the wrong friends, the music they listen to is feeding them lies and your daughter’s tight clothes send the wrong message. How about you, though? Do you approve of unsavory characters and short skirts on your favorite TV show? Maybe your child fails to do chores and turn in homework. How disciplined are you in the way you eat, exercise and spend your money? This kind of inconsistency harbors rebellion because a teen will feel unfairly treated and view you as hypocritical and condescending.

Before you beat yourself up too much, there is good news! Our children are wonderful gifts from God, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now. Because they come wired with the desire to follow and imitate us, they hold the key to our own growth. article. 

Though they may deny it, your teens still long for your approval more than anyone else’s.

They are our mirrors for self-evaluation. The bad news is that when we refuse to see our shortcomings and pursue change, our kids lose respect for us and find someone else to follow.

Though they may deny it, your children still long for your approval more than anyone else’s. Even if your relationship with your children has fallen apart, deep in their hearts they long to find you worthy of respect and honor. They long to be your friends. However, we often miss out on these friendships because we disqualify ourselves as friends. Friendship requires time, honesty and mutual respect but if we refuse to admit our faults and treat our children like they are below us, friendship is not possible.

And so, here are 3 steps to deepen your friendship with your teens:

  1. Ask your teen where you have failed him/her. Ask for forgiveness and help from them. Be honest about your shortcomings and pursue change. No one is perfect. Allow them to respectfully correct you when you break your own rules of conduct (more on how to do this: link). Nothing will earn you more respect in their eyes than when they see you repent and change. Humility is powerful.
  2. Take time to really listen and understand their interests and issues (more on how to do it: link). Make up for lost time (more on how to do it: link).
  3. Sit down and explain to them that you want to do a better job as their parent and want to set reasonable limits not for your benefit but for everyone’s best (more on how to do this: link).