Talking to a closed off teen

If you have a closed off teen you will need to be creative to get the information you seek. With one of my children I spent time with them and tried to ask things in a way that did not pry but at the same time helped open the line of communication. Many times I was shut down. When this happens – do not take it personally, just try a different method – get creative! Create an environment that says you will listen, get them in a neutral location and put down all your walls, have some fun then watch and listen.

When something is concerning, do not react as you normally would that may shut down the conversation (work on your shock and awe face). If your child feels that by sharing openly with you they will get a lecture or in trouble they will not open up. Also get to know and listen to interactions with their friends. Those friends gave me more information than my child ever did. It was the information I gained from friends that sparked a lot of conversations about choices and the consequences of bad choices. I tried to work hard and got little, it was frustrating. Always let you teen know you are there so if they do decide to open up it’s you they come to.

Sincerely,
A Fellow Parent

Starting To Talk With Your Teens

Communicating with a teen can be tricky. They do not always want you to know what they are doing or thinking, these are closed off teens. While other teens will tell you all you want to know and all you have to do is find the right questions and listen. These are open teens.

The first issue is finding out which teen you have. If you have a closed off teen you will need to be creative to get the information you seek. If you have an open teen creating the time open ears are two essentials. Being willing to have nothing off limits is important we well. Believe when I say there were times I wanted to say-oh no, I do not want to hear this, but I did not. Just be careful, you may hear more than you ever wanted to know.

Communication take place when the pressure if off. My kids and I have been in the car, I pulled into a parking lot and we sat and talked. Other times they needed me to be busy and not look them in the eye to get their story out – that was okay too, I kept driving. When kids say they need to talk try your best not to put them off, or you may never find out what they wanted to say.

Prayer is the most important element of all!!!! The Holy Spirit is a good tattle tale when it’s needed. Stay in constant communication with the Holy Spirit.

Sincerely,
A Fellow Parent

WHEN A TEEN WALKS AWAY FROM GOD – Part 2

One of my children has walked away from the Lord and it is heartbreaking.  I am praying for this child ceaselessly! I gave this child to the Lord as an infant; I cannot take the child back now.  God will see them through, but as parent it is hard to watch.

We raise our children to know right from wrong, to believe the Bible as the true Word of God and we have to rest in the fact that is it out of our hands when they become teenagers and grow into adulthood.  They will either reject or accept Christ and there is not much to be done by that point.  I did tell all my children that while they lived in our house they would be expected to attend church, today I have to wonder if I did the right thing.  I may have planted the seed of rebellion.

Above all let you child know that even though you may not like their decisions you love them no matter what. When they decide to return to God your attitude can foster reconciliation – as long as you did not burn the bridges in the heat of the moment. I had to rebuild some bridges on the way to reconciliation with my child as I tried to stay a constant in their life. Hang in there you are not alone, you may not understand what is going on but God does.

WHEN TEENS WALK AWAY FROM GOD – Part 1

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

It breaks my heart every Sunday that my child stays home from church and does their own thing. I pray for opportunities to speak words of truth and encouragement to my child. I have asked God to do whatever He needs to do to draw my child back to Him.  This is a hard prayer to pray though because it could mean heartache and pain before that child will return to God.  I have been praying for my child for 10 years and I continue to this day. I know that God is listening and I am committed to pray as long as it takes; because in reality that is all I can do.

Targeted, specific prayer for your child(ren) is the most important tool we have.  Invite your child to share how they would like to you to pray for them.  My child will ask me to pray now because they already know I am praying for them. Hang in there you are not alone, you may not understand what is going on but God does.

HOW TO ENCOURAGE CONNECTION WITH YOUR TEEN

(Carol Bishop, is an amazing woman of God. She has led youth ministry, is a wife, mother and an active member of Ferris Hill. I am so thankful she has offered to share her wisdom with us. Please enjoy!)

As the parent of a teen, one of the most important things is communication. We are going to break this down into categories:

YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

Every teenager needs to see their parent(s) living out their relationship with God. “Sunday Morning” Christians – those who worship God on Sunday and put Him aside until the next Sunday – don’t have much hope for good communication with their teen(s). Your walk has to match your talk. How can a teen (or anyone) trust you otherwise?

ENGAGE THEM

Find ways to engage your teenager in conversation. Do you think they will come to you for advice if all they ever hear you say are things like, “Clean your room.” “You can’t wear that.” “Brush your teeth.”

START THE CONVERSATION

Find conversation starters. I don’t recommend, “How was school today.” That’s too broad.  You could ask about a favorite class, teacher, friend, etc. It is very important that you know what they are interested in and know something about that subject.

SEEK COMMON GROUND

Seek common ground to help you engage your teen in conversation.  Then listen.  Let them talk. If you correct them on anything they say or feel like you have to control the conversation, then you are going to discourage your teen from trying to talk with you again.  They should talk.  You should listen.  Sometimes what they say will amaze you!  (Be sure your electronic devices are turned off.  Don’t be too concerned about their device.  That would be demanding attention instead of encouraging conversation.)

ALWAYS REMEMBER:

PROVERBS 15:1 (KJV) “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”