I’ve had the privilege and blessing of teaching a class on Wednesday evenings to parents of teenagers called Just Tell Me What to Do! I know, I know, I set myself up for failure with a title like that. Anyways, last week we looked at healthy communication with teenagers. I think these tips can be helpful for both parents and youth workers. Here are the barriers:
- Failure to realize you (the parent) are in charge (see Eph. 6:1). My favorite illustration of this came from an ESPN analyst on Twitter after the PSU students rioted when Paterno was fired. His wise words, “This is the reason why there are adults in charge of this world.” Teens need authority. That is the Creator’s design.
- Busyness! Your business and your child’s business (sports, activities, etc…) can be a huge barrier to quality time and heathy communication. As parents we have got to quit killing ourselves and learn to say “no” somethings (probably a lot of things).
- Lack of understanding/knowledge of teen culture. As parents, we have to be on our game when it comes to social media, technology, hormones, etc…We’ve got to study and learn their world so we can reach them.
- Unwholesome talk (see Eph. 4:29, 6:4). Your tone, your mood, your language, are all important factors when talking with a teenager learning to become an adult. Are you demeaning your child in front of siblings & friends? All of these facets are important.
- Lack of Affirmation. Are you constantly negative with your child? Is there any honesty and a sense of building-up when talking with you child? Practice daily compliments with your teenager. Seek to build them up! My friend shared a great illustration of this from a Desiring God interview with Sam Crabree. Please go to 16:40 – 19:10 on the video. Click here!