Parenting - Teens

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Lines of Communication, Part 2

Dear Parent,

Hopefully, you have had an opportunity to watch this month’s video about communication. If not, I really want to encourage you to take just a few minutes to watch it!
Communication with your teen is vitally important to the health of your relationship! But communication is changing as fast as your teen is!
I want to give you a few ideas to help you with this very important issue.

  1. Sit down with your teen and talk with them and not to them. They want to know that you are really listening to what they say and not what you think they are saying.
  2. Agree that yelling is not allowed. You can’t yell at them and they can’t yell at you. It shuts you both down and makes you feel undervalued and disrespected.
  3. Don’t just “lay down the law” about cell phone and computer use! Allow your teenager to have input. For example, your teen can text while doing homework, but no cell phone is allowed within ten feet of the dinner table.
  4. Agree to never argue through texting. There is no way in the world you can know what the other person is saying unless you can at least hear tone of voice.

There are sooo many other ideas, but these should get you rolling.

It is vitally important that you teach your teenager that communication is not with the fingers on a keypad, but it is tone of voice and hand gestures and wise choice of words.

Remember, Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word spoken at the right time is like golden apples on a silver tray.” But unless we teach our teens about real communication, they will not know how to truly appreciate this verse!

Walking with you!

Kim Constantino

Lines of Communication

Dear Parent,

Do you remember the story in Luke 1 when the angel appeared to the priest, Zechariah, to tell him that he and his elderly wife, Elizabeth, would have a son and name him John? Zechariah doubtfully questioned the angel, and swift consequences followed. His ability to speak was taken from him until the day of his son’s birth. Why is that important? Zechariah’s ability to communicate clearly with people was removed and they had no clear idea what had happened. Is that happening today?

Here is another way to ask this question. Do you know what ROFL, 831, 9, BWL mean? If not, then our teen’s style of communication and our style is very different. These are considered texting shorthand. And this is why our teens must know how important real communication is. For those of us who are a little uninformed when it comes to texting shorthand, the following is a list of the definitions of the above shorthand:
ROFL – rolling on floor laughing
831 – I love you
9 – parent watching
BWL – bursting with laughter
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to have a conversation with your teen when they won’t even make eye contact because they are glued to the screen of their phone or tablet. Or are we the culprit? Do we immerse ourselves in the digital world to the point that our teens can’t get OUR attention?
We are going to be talking about opening those lines of communication with our teen this month. And we can either make technology work for us or against us. How about we WTO (win this one)! Made that one up all by myself.

Here’s a quick video filled with more encouragement for you: https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/84831487/c2f6af242b

Walking with you!

Kim Constantino

Listening

Dear Parent,

Do you remember Charlie Brown’s teacher or grandmother or whatever adult happened to be on the other end of that telephone line with him? The only conversation we ever heard Charlie Brown have with them was punctuated with “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah…” as the adults response to him. Do you feel that it is also all your teenager hears when you speak? Wah, wah, wah!

Let me ask you a question you may have never considered. Do our teenagers think that is all we hear when they try to talk to us? Hmmm. Hadn’t thought of that? Couldn’t possibly be! Here is a great test to see if that is true. After your teen talks, do you start your partwith the phrase, “Yes, but….”? If so, that means you probably haven’t listened. You have spent the time that they were talking formulating a response, or an answer, or even a brilliant idea that they just have to hear since it is coming from parental wisdom!

I think you probably have many of the answers to so many of your teens questions and problems. You have experience and age on your side! But sometimes the best lessons your teen will ever learn, and the lessons that stick the hardest are the ones that they learn themselves. Without the correct answer, but with the listening ear of their biggest fan. You!

Often we beg God to make our teen just listen. How about we, as parents, first ask Him to give us an ear, not just to hear, but to listen!

The next part of this week’s online parenting class is a short video that furthers the conversation.  I’d love to hear what you think of it: https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/84188976/ac8a01662e

Walking with you,

Kim Constantino

Broken Trust, Part Two

Dear Parent,

“How could you hurt me like that?” Have you ever wanted to scream those words in the face of your teen? Or at least murmur them in passing? Although screaming might be somewhat of a stress reducer!

Your teen often has no idea the power that they hold over you to hurt your heart as a parent. That’s why sometimes they don’t understand why you have to take a step back in order to process what they have just done or said that brings you pain.

In order for our teens to learn how to restore trust with us, they also have to learn that sometimes we just need a moment to work through the pain that they just caused us. Anytime something causes pain, our initial reaction is to push away. We can’t do that when it is our teenager causing the pain.

When King David broke trust with God by taking another man’s wife and then killing that same man (I Samuel 11 & 12) God didn’t immediately confront David. I Samuel 11:27 says, “When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her (Bathsheba) to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.” The time of mourning for Jews was at the least 30 days, and it also says that Bathsheba bore David a son by the time the prophet Nathan appeared to tell David what God had to say.

My point in sharing this story with you is to remind you that when your teenager makes a choice that is diametrically opposed to Godly principles you have always taught, you need to take a moment or a day or even longer to work through the anger, the fear, and the sadness of the results of broken trust. You will be better able to help your teen understand that their choices affect so many more people than just themselves. You can teach them how to take responsibility, ask for forgiveness, and recognize how to restore that trust with you. Whether you know it or not, your trust is very valuable to your teen. Have you ever lost something of value? How much more valuable is it to you when you find it again? Don’t you take better care of it?

And so will your teen.

Walking with you,

Kim Constantino

Broken Trust

Dear Parent,

Nobody told you when you had children how personal it would feel when that very same child made a mistake that broke your trust. Nobody told you how much it would hurt your feelings. And, I don’t even know if anyone ever told you how important it would be to let your teen know that trust can be restored!

But let me tell you now! It is imperative that your teenager knows that no matter how big of a mistake or a mess they make, you haven’t slammed the door on them. Sometimes that is really, really hard.

Teenagers have no idea that the decisions they make, good and bad, are absorbed into the very heart of you, their parent. And, as parents, you often give that decision great influence over your confidence as a parent! Let me say this and please hear me. The choices your teenagers make do not define you as a parent! They are your teenager’s choice.

Your job was and has always been to teach them what is right and then give them the freedom to choose. The second part of that same job is to teach them about the consequences of all choices. And when that choice is made in the heat of the moment that is guided by maturing teenage logic and wisdom (or lack thereof), we as a parent need to let that teen know trust can be restored. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but at some point that trust can be brought back to its original condition.

Walking with you,

Kim Constantino

Friends

Dear Parent,

I just want to encourage you this very minute. You are extremely important to your teenager whether they acknowledge it or not. Now with that being said, you need to know that you are probably being replaced as the “best friend” in their life. Some of you are shaking your heads as you read this , because you have already dealt with this very issue. One of the hardest things to understand as a parent is how very important friends are toyour teen and how not to take it personally when you aren’t the “go to” person anymore.

Talk to your teenager about their friends. Help them determine the qualities of a good friend. And remember , listen to what your teen has to say regarding friendship. They are smart and can be discerning if they aren’t shut down by all of the requirements that you have for prospective friends. You taught them about respect, and trustworthiness, and character. They won’t forget those lessons as they choose their friends.

Allow this to be a time when you can talk openly with your teenager about friendship. Allow them to be just as open. Sometimes it’s very easy to have expectations of your teen that you aren’t willing to have from yourself. Do your friend choices match up with what you are requiring of your teenager? They watch and often navigate down the same roads their parents have taken. Ask yourself if this would be a hard mirror to look in?

The video we are providing gives you great ideas on how to help your teen foster true friendships and learn how to be a true friend themselves. Just remember, you aren’t being replaced. It’s more like they are learning how to better appreciate you in later years. Ok, maybe it is being replaced for a short time. But they need a parent more than they need a friend right now anyways!

https://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/78815344/64b167228f

Walking this road with you,

Kim Constantino

Shepherding Their Heart- Part Two

Dear Parent,
If you haven’t had a chance to view this month’s video, I would like to encourage you to take a few moments to watch it:  http://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/76756779/c0b0d03574

Today I want to share an encouraging Scripture with you. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”  Paul wrote those words to a the church in Corinth. He wasn’t speaking about parenting specifically, but he was giving a beautiful picture of spiritual leadership.

You see, the way you as a parent will be able to shepherd the heart of your teenager is for you to simply follow after Christ.  I know it can be intimidating to lead spiritually.  That’s why I love this Scripture. It simplifies the whole process.

1) Follow Christ, and don’t be afraid to let your teenager see you do it.

2) Have the courage to invite your teenager to follow with you.  None of us are perfect, but Christ is.  Just tell your teenager, “I’m following Christ every day, so if you want to know how to follow Him, you can follow me.”

That sounds spiritually arrogant doesn’t it?  It sounds like you are the expert in following Jesus.

Paul wasn’t expressing spiritual arrogance when he made the statement.  Paul was saying, “I love you so much, that I am willing to walk in front of you and lead the way to Jesus.”

Have you ever been completely lost?  Have you ever had the experience of stopping to ask for directions, and the person doesn’t just tell you where to go but they lead you there?

It’s so comforting isn’t it?  That’s the gift you offer your teenager when you offer to blaze a trail for them to follow in their spiritual journey.

Walking this journey with you,

Kim Constantino

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