Sunday, December 18, 2011

Understanding the Teenage Mind

"But MOM; you don't understand!"
What is your answer to that statement?
Working with so many young men over the years I have found that my answer to that statement can open or close the door to communication.
Even though I HAVE been a boy trying to become a man (something a mom has not) I have found it is very important not to reply: "I do understand what you are going through." The truth is NO WE CAN'T understand what another person is really going through. God made their mind and thoughts unique, they have had influences by outside factors I have not, they have goals and emotions different than my own.
So even though I may have had something similar; it is critical that I do not tell a young man "I understand," if I do I create a frustration that shuts down communication.
I have found it is better to reply, "No, I can't completely understand what you are going through, what are you going through?"
This OPENS the line of communication. And no matter what they talk about I need to keep quiet and listen to ALL of that young mans opinions and views on the world and his situation. If I take that time, after he has vented I can now respond directly to what he is thinking and he knows I have at least heard what he is feeling.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gay in schools

Some of you may have witnessed the news programs featured on bullying gay children in schools.
I have addressed bullying in earlier post that can be reviewed.
The issue is this unbelievable pressure on teenagers to determine their sexual orientation...
How do you protect your teenage son from this? I have dealt with it in a larger setting of multiple boys in group homes; and their emotional confusion which is addressed in an earlier post too. However; for today; what specifically needs to be addressed is this pressure from society on your son to label himself.
Make sure you talk to your child about our society pushing people into thinking they may "possibly" have the desire to act in a perverted sexual manner; having sex with other men - state it for what it is - not gay - it is men having sex with other men: I have found that if I state it plainly to a young man asking the question, his reaction resolves the issue.
That does not mean they bully anyone; or label one person worse than another. As in the earlier post; read the ENTIRE first chapter of Romans, it is very clear about sexual orientation but it also goes on to point the finger at the proud, boaster, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; as life styles that are unacceptable to God. So we all have to be aware that our thoughts and desires are not what is good and normal but something to be put under God's direction.
The main point is to TALK about it and discuss it even if your son is uncomfortable with it. If you don't - know for a fact our current society is going to.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Teenage Entitlement

Mom; I have to have that car, cell phone, sneakers, Levis.
in a day of 50% divorce and the need to try and keep your child "happy" with you, so they will not "leave"; we have entered a time of entitlement that has ripped apart a parents ability to guide and direct.
Love bought is not love that counts is it?
The one item you CAN give a teenager is love: We confuse that with giving things. Never forget the natural sin nature drives a teenager (or adult) to push for things - so a teenagers under developed mind, guided by other teenagers. will strive to push you to give them what they want. But is this really showing them love?
God's love through the Bible has always been firm. Merciful, caring, long suffering are the words He uses in Corinthians - who suffers by the way? It is the person doing the loving (God in this verse), so if we are firm and loving, then we will suffer, with our child saying mean things to us because we wouldn't give in and give them something.
Do you see how this applies to us in discipline, guidance and direction.
The teenager will react against you, pressure you, hurt your feelings; all examples of your long suffering; but if you truly love them they know it.
Love is measured in time, listening, caring about their problems - not giving them thier latest whim.
Hard to hold by I know...but important to hold by. Get that support group we encourage in BAM and prepare for long suffering through this season.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What to buy a teenage boy

Do you buy another video game?
We have to accept the fact that we have built a society of subdivisions that are not friendly to teenagers playing outside - so - how do we give them something to do at home without making it a video game?
This is a real problem.
Two suggestions - one is to give those gifts that encourage outdoor activities. The second is; if we have to give video games; we need to set rules and guidelines of how much that use is going to be.
Try for a balance.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Teenagers and Cell Phones

We had an interesting BAM program and discussion last weekend that brought up the urgency of dealing with teen boys and cell phone (texting) use.
800 minutes...that is what this seventeen year old was hitting in texting minutes. And the attitude was the cell phone was a right.
Where do we draw the line here?
Teenagers feed on each others thoughts and ideas (if we both agree than it must be right) in such a way that it can escalate and give them confidence to argue and fight with parents and feel supported by their friends they text just seconds afterwards.
Controlling that peer alliance is an important way to guide a teenager on the right track.
i.e. Teenager texts six friends who all say he is right and his parents are stupid - this empowers him to be more aggressive because he has peers backing him.
So controlling the phone is a major part of controlling the way he thinks and what influences are directing his thoughts.
I always have an extra hammer you can borrow…it may seem drastic but it could save your son from doing something that costs far more.