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.