Monday, December 20, 2010

Teenage attitude during the Holidays

   Strange dark attitude during the Holidays?
Often you will see a twelve or thirteen year old get an unpleasant attitude as Christmas approaches. Even act out more than usual.
Very normal - just a few years ago Christmas was a big, exciting, mysterious event that was built into this wonder that Santa Clause was going to magically give them presents. NOW the truth hits and often this makes a teenager sour toward what they see as a lie or con job about Santa and the mystery of Christmas.
What do you do now? It's damage control time and often a parent needs to actually apologize for the Christmas hype - children are very sensitive to trust and the lie of Santa betrays that trust and it has to be dealt with. The next huge problem is "if Santa is a fake, well than so is baby Jesus". Santa has driven more teenagers away from Christ than any war video game or atheist. It is time to be very truthful as a parent and admit that the Santa mystery was fun for the adult to see the wonder in their children's eyes but that the intent was not to lie to them.
I like to take them to the REAL Saint Nicolas Click Here and talk about how the Santa Claus story was changed as well as the real meaning of Christmas. Create a new family tradition and bake a birthday cake for Jesus and celebrate the birth of Emmanuel. It's never too late to bring children to the truth.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Cold Blues

ALL that energy and locked up in a house.

A dangerous combination - youth and exuberance trapped in a small house.
What is Mom to do?
It's tough because it really is too cold to play in but the house just isn't big enough.
Many churches realize this and have basketball or some other functions to help.
Before you get angry at that energy destroying your home - better find a way to redirect it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

He's not going to "get better"

The idea that he's "bad" and going to "get better"
                     is a way of thinking that has no reality.

What you consider "bad" and what you consider "better" is your judgement of how he is suppose to act and behave like at this time of his life. A teenage boy trying to become a man is not "sick". No matter how you judge his behavior this is a cycle of life he's going through. You may want him to ACT like a mature adult but again - that is not the cycle of life he is in.
So how do you deal with his belligerent attitude, his disobedience.
Well we talked about that in the BAM program in that you need to see through his eyes and have compassion on the new emotions and issues he is encountering now in life. Starting from there helps him know you care about what he's going through.
It does not mean the attitude is right or that we are going to accept it.
We start with acknowledging to him that this is a tough time of life. Then we set down the rules and stick to the rules as stated in the video.
Example: Sunday I had a 17 year old jump the fence at a juvenile detention center I work at. He was embarrassed to talk to me about it. I didn't start with condemning the action - I started with, "this is a tough place and some of your family have really let you down, I know that has to be really rough." He now knows I'm trying to see the world through his eyes. Then I stated, "But that was not the most brilliant thing to do was it?" I kidded him, "If you're going to jump the fence you'd better wait until Spring - it's cold out there." and made him laugh. But he knew I was completely against the behavior but with compassion.
We listen to people who we FEEL ...
understand us and have compassion on our foolishness.

Counseling for your Teenager

  I've been asked about finding counselors or doing counseling
As always stated at the bottom of this blog: BAM is not a counseling program. It is to help Moms understand the issues their son is going through and how to adjust to the new teenager in their home.
With this in mind we suggest a few parameters to consider when the situation reaches a point to find professional licensed counselors:
The important aspects of finding a counselor you can trust is to ask them defined questions:
1. Do they have separate - then combined - counseling time for you and your son. In other words do you get to discuss your issues about the relationship for 20 minutes alone with the counselor - then your son gets 20 minutes alone - then a together session for 20 minutes. This is critical.
2. As a percentage; how often have they prescribed anti-depressants and other drugs to help behavior issues. There is not a right or wrong answer but you will get an idea of how they try and solve the problem and if that is a direction you are comfortable with.
3. What is their faith - some psychologist will state it is an unfair question - and that should be a red flag - this again is helping you know what their mode of solving problems is. I don't trust myself to have the answers I trust the Lord - this keeps me accountable and you are looking for that.
4. And most important - how is his or her family life - have the counselor share that - and what ever it is; it helps you know if they understand your situation. If they won't share it...well, that is the guarded relationship they want to have with you which is understandable but is it what you want? This person could have a major impact on the rest of you and your sons life.
5. Pray and go with your first impression of whether or not this is the right person.

There is no fool proof way to insure you find the right counselor but it has proven to be an excellent starting point.
Make sure you have really studied and used your BAM work book - The first step to helping any relationship is to understand the other person and you need to make sure you see your son the same way he sees himself or you will never be able to really help him.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

BAM lesson number one

Had a funny response this week - a mom said she let her son watch the BAM video with her even though we make a point of saying - that's not a good idea. Well this week her son said "MOM, don't you remember the video? I heard you the first time." Too funny; it's definitely not a good idea to let your son sit through the program with you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Danger Zone

  Boys having to live in the Danger Zone - why do boys take such risk? As we learn more about boys trying to become men we have a better understanding why danger becomes so important. They honestly do not have a death wish or want to get hurt...what they want to do is prove they can overcome that danger and conquer it. David had overcome the danger of the lion to know that he could overcome the danger of Goliath - what is your boys lion?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

But I have a great relationship with my son

  The book stores have said they've had a lot of Moms look at the BAMtime program and say "oh, well I have a great relationship with my son."

It's an interesting attitude because the very comment points at the key to BAM which is the need for the relationship to change with the changes a son is going through between 8 and 18.

A great relationship at age 12 can be extremely different at age 13.
What motivates me to keep trying with BAMtime is the attitude toward that 13 year old that he is now a "bad" boy or has a "bad attitude" for some reason.

Time and again I am asked to help a "troubled teen"; and what I see is a boy trying to become a man - and a mother who doesn't get it. My ministry has always been helping the teenager - and I believe if Moms can see what is really happening, they will understand the need.
PS: I had a man who read this post say "talk about sticking your neck out - but hang in there."
      I'm ready for any and all comments but I had to say it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Teenagers depending on God

 We had some very disappointing situations for the boys in the Juv'D center today that brought up the discussion of people letting us down and how to overcome that with depending on God.
Those disappointing moments will always happen in life which is why it is so important we teach them now; to trust Jesus in everyday situations.
 Being open about our own lives is when the boys really pay attention - my personal situation of being laid off Friday was not fun to share but you could see it really had an impact on them seeing how we "live" depending on Jesus. You have to be HONEST and OPEN with teenagers if you really want to get through to them and show your own weakness and need for Christ.
Personal note: I used the analogy of marriage to talk about putting our trust in Jesus because even a spouse can let you down...a staff member that was in the class came up to me afterwards and said how much impact that had on him; he just bought an engagement ring yesterday. You never know how God is going to use you do you.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gift for Teenage boy

  What to buy a teenage boy for Christmas.
Certainly was a lot easier when you could just walk down the toy isle wasn't it? So now what do we get them that is wholesome yet something they really want? It's tempting to buy the video game but you may want them to get away from the TV. Music is a direction I like to encourage because I've taught guitar for years - don't buy lessons though - the web has great instruction for far less. Do buy a guitar that is easy to play which is now in the $99 range. What are your thoughts for gift ideas for teenage boys...?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free BAM workshop at Nampa ID Saturday Morning 10-12

    Northstar Book store in Nampa just off Garrity Blvd behind the Subway will be sponsoring a free work shop on the Boys And Moms program.
A 45 minute video presentation with an hour follow up with the work book and Q&A.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wisconsin Teenage Shooting

  Let them YELL! We have had two teenage to young men tragedies this last week; from a young man wanting to kill children in a bombing attempt in Oregon to last nights hostage and attempted suicide in Wisconsin. In both situations we hear that so common statement "they were quiet and to themselves".
In dealing with troubled youth for 15 years I have found this is the most dangerous attitude. The boy that is quiet is easy to deal with - but the turmoil inside is the danger. The boy who is yelling and expressing how upset he is is the one that we actually can deal with.
I lost a boy to suicide who would sit in the back of my Sunday school class and never speak up - since then I never let any boy sit in the back. They have to be in the circle and they have to express themselves even if it comes out violently.
Trying to stop the yelling is not my goal - my goal is to find out what the problem is and deal with it.

I'm sure there are many opinions on this and every child is a unique individual that needs unique direction so all comments are welcome.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Respect from your teenager

  Respect from your teenager can be difficult
BAMtime is designed to help you with this issue - the key is to respect the emotions, physiological changes and way of thinking your teenage son is going through. When he feels you respect what he is going through his defenses drop and it opens discussion to what you expect from him in respect.
If we feel someone doesn't care about our circumstances our natural response is to not care about what they are going through.
This applies in this new relationship you are building with this new person called a "teenager".

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gospel to teenagers

I have to admit - my Sunday school class at one of the Juvenile Detention centers taught me a big lesson today.

I asked the question: What is Salvation?
Several boys spoke up and reasoned it out together...
"well...when you salvage something it means you dug it out of the dump pit and made it new and good again. So I guess it means Jesus dug us out of the pit and make us new again...right...?"

I was so flabbergasted by the word picture I just sat down and nodded in shock.

Don't be afraid to ask them questions that we even struggle with explaining!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our need for affirmation

We all have a need for affirmation. If we tell a person we want something done, we expect that person to affirm they heard it and will do it.
When mom tells her teenage son to do something she expects an affirmation...doesn't always happen though does it?
This creates frustration - however we learned from BAMtime that he is passive aggressively being rebellious to make the point that "mommy" isn't his boss anymore; he's his own man and wants to prove it.
Ever notice that he eventually will get up and do what you asked?

Now we have to look at the big picture.
  1.  He is trying to become his own man = and that is something we want or he'll never be able to stand on his own feet and create his own life.
  2. But we still need him to do what we asked.
Can both be accomplished?

Tell him what needs to be done. But don't expect an affirmation from him that he's going to do it. If you know he heard you then give him time to do it.
If he doesn't; then you work boundaries and consequences, but patients here can accomplish both.
Try it and give some comments.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why boys need new experiences

Why boys need new experiences
We discuss the need boys have to "give it a try". From the way a tween/teen brain develops we know it has to have experiences to grow "neural connections, or synapses, that get exercised are retained, while those that don't are lost."
Take a look at the scientific article on youth brain development at the National Institute for Mental Health. Knowing that a young adult is going through this amazing "brain change" can really help us understand odd behaviors and what we would often "with our mature brains" consider illogical reasoning.
We need to have the insight to give their brains time to grow and develop in the reasoning frontal lobe of their growing brains. There is no substitute for time and experience.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Teen boys and holidays

Ever notice a lack of excitement in your son during the holidays now that he's reached his teen years?
It's normal - he's just in a strange place where he feels he can't act like a "little kid" anymore and get excited but he doesn't know how to act as an adult.
Often he's put at the table with the "little kids" and that's not where he wants to be.
The best thing you can do is ask him if he wants to be at the adult table this year. Let it be his decision but the fact that you offered shows him you are now seeing him as more of an adult.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CSB will be in town this week

An organization that helps churches create their own mentor program is called Christian Service Brigade
Contact us if you would like to know more about their mentor programs
Male Mentors are so important to a young mans life and it is so difficult to establish. I have been a mentor to a lot of young men over the years and this would have been a great tool to have.

Why I believe action novels communicate well to boys

I have preached for 17 years now from Sunday school boys to men in prisons and they just don't like having someone "tell" them what they should do. Men and boys also seem to need emotional stories (their kind of emotions) to get to their hearts. An amazing example is King David sinning with Bathsheba in the Bible - The prophet convicts him by using a story of a man with one little lamb and to summarize if you don't know the story another rich man with lots of sheep demands the man kill his one little lamb to feed his guest. God knew David would have been bull headed if he'd been accused of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband but the STORY opened Davids heart and convicted him beyond what any preaching would have done.
I have found the boys get more out of the action stories I write with a message then they ever have by my preaching at them - that is why I believe there is such a need for more of these action novels that are Bible based.

Choose your battles

 As the moms stated on the BAM DVD you will not win every battle so choose what is truly important to you. What should be the criteria? What harm will it really do?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

BAM "Mom tool" self esteem

We talk about the Male Ego in the BAM program and often I am asked does this mean a belligerent attitude is acceptable. Answer is absolutely NOT. Working with the Male Ego to guide and direct a young man should always be focused on his self esteem and positive attitude.
An example used is "Can you use your man muscles to move that lawn mower into the back shed?"
This does not direct your son to be belligerent but to feel proud that you are recognizing his maturity to become a man.
The way to test a comment - does it build him up and hold him accountable as a young MAN.
What "Mom tool" comments have you used this week?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Think it through before the confrontation

      Emotional confrontations never lead to productive direction. If you are in a reactive argument you are in a debate and human psyche wants to win a debate which mean your son will argue just to argue (does that sound familiar?)