Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Best Parenting Teen Ideas - part 2

Most parents warily face the prospect of their children moving from child to adolescent.  It can be scary, overwhelming and the cause for many parents simply to drop their children off at a relative's home for 6 years.

However, there are a few ways to make the transition a little less stressful.  First of all, gradually give your kids more and more responsibilities and appropriate freedoms.  You need to let them know that you actually want them to grow up and be an adult (and to get out of the house, but don't say this). Therefore, you're going to give them more liberties but with that come some adult-like expectations.

For example, they may get to adjust their bedtime a bit more but at the same time they are now going to help more with evening meals, the laundry, yard work or whatever. Don't let too many activities keep them from this important involvement in your home either. Just because they work hard at football practice or cheerleading doesn't mean they should get the evening off.  And if they are doing too much for them to be an active participant in your home then cut something and simply say "no."

Second, talk to them.  You've seen the commercials about drugs, smoking and the like where parents are challenged to talk to their kids about both the joys and dangers of life.  The commercials ironically are right.  We need to keep the stage set for dialogue.  Now some of you are already responding with, "But my teenager won't talk to me."  And yes, some kids are more open and verbal than others.

But I'm pretty convinced we let our kids off the hook by first not starting to talk to them openly at an early age and secondly letting them beg out of talking to us.  We can help things by not turning our talking into an interrogation.  Don't simply badger them with questions.  Simply ask them to tell you about their day or some specific part of it.  Don't freak out when they tell you something a bit "out there" either.  Ask them to tell you more about that, then go crazy later when they're not around.

Finally, consider a 13 year old challenge. This is where at around age 13 you give them a six month or yearlong project to grow spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically.  And in each of these areas you put together things they will need to do during that time period which can help them become more mature and prepare for their future.

For example, we had a book list for them to read.  We had a savings goal for them to reach. We required that they job shadow three people, one in Christian ministry, during that time.  You can be as creative as you want with this.  What's the reward?  We made payday that they would receive an equal amount from us to what they saved during that time as long as they met all the requirements. In additions we would do something else special with them.

A quick update?  Our son Tim spent one of his job shadowing days with the manager of a local, Christian radio station.  Guess what he's doing today? 

The teen years can be challenging but they can also be some of the most rewarding as we see our kids grow and mature.  So maybe you need to go back to Aunt Sally's and get those kids. What do you say?
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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