We are going to take a different approach to Q & A today. We have received a number of questions about raising teenagers…not only from the blog, but personally as well. And while we will continue to attempt to answer these questions, we want to strongly encourage you to take advantange of some helpful resources. These books, articles, and cd’s—if studied and applied—will ultimately be more helpful than any advice we can offer on any one question.
In particular, there is a brand new resource we want to highlight, and that is the latest issue of that most outstanding publication, The Journal of Biblical Counseling. Devoted entirely to topics related to parenting teens, this issue (Vol. 23, No. 3, Summer 2005) includes articles such as:
“Only A Teenager” by David Powlison
“Dazzle your Teen” by Tedd Tripp
“What is ‘Success’ in Parenting Teens?” by Paul Tripp
“Why Do Kids Turn Out the Way They Do?” by Jim Newheiser
“Communicate with Teens” by Tedd Tripp
“Addressing the Problems of Rebellious Children” by Mary Somerville
“Counseling Angry, Unmotivated, Self-Centered, Spiritually-indifferent Teens” by Rick Horne
“Yelling at My Kids” by Nina Campagna
Here are some choice excerpts from just one of the articles (“What is ‘Success’ in Parenting Teens?”). But it’s hard not to quote the whole thing!
“Many parents have a simple goal for getting through their child’s teenage years: survival. But this goal focuses simply on getting yourself through a difficult time. In order to get through these years, parents tend to settle for external, behaviorist goals. We try to deal with our kids according to the Nike way, ‘Just do it!’ But parents who just want to regulate and control behavior don’t give teens much to take with them when they leave home….The final years of a child’s life at home are a time of unprecedented opportunity. As a child’s world unfolds before him and he experiences greater freedom, his heart is revealed. This means parents have to take every opportunity to be part of the final stage of preparation. Being involved with our teenagers at a deep level is a critical goal for these years.”
“The most helpful thing to remember is that your teenager is more like you than unlike you….There are very few struggles in the life of my teenager that I don’t recognize in my own life as well. For instance, imagine my child has gotten into trouble because he’s procrastinated on a school assignment, and now he can’t possibly get it done on time. Haven’t I done the same thing? Of course, I have. And if I realize that, I can’t come to him and say, ‘How dare you! How could you? In my day I would have never thought of doing this!’ Instead, I come as a fellow sinner. It’s because of this that my dealings with him become based on the gospel rather than the law. Here’s my opportunity to point him to Christ. So I say: ‘Son, there’s a rescue provided for us in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. There’s hope for both of us. I need it every bit as much as you do. And I stand with you. However, don’t expect me to write a note to the teacher to get you out of the assignment.”
My husband, Steve, who is the pastor of the parent-teen ministry at our church, recently gave this journal to all the parents. And as my dad says, “This issue of the journal deserves broad distribution.” The cost is only $8 and we hope that every parent of a teenager (or soon-to-be teenager) purchases a copy. You can order it by clicking here or contacting the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation at 800-318-2186.
Also, most of you are probably aware of these resources, but if you haven’t read or listened to the following, we believe they will serve you as well…
Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp
“Parents, Teens, and Reasonable Expectations” by Grant Layman