Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Preparing for the teen years

Pastor Jane Campbell was so kind to come and speak with many of us moms this past Tuesday who want to be prepared as our children approach the teen years. For those who participated in another discussion opportunity or who could not make it, below is what she shared with us. I hope you get as much out of it as I did. ~Lisa

I want to tell you that the teen years are incredible years of parenting- and way more than merely tolerating your adolescent.

What is your current outlook?
1. You might as well take me away to the funny farm now!
2. You don't know my child- I don't know if I can do this.
3. I've enjoyed every stage of parenting- I believe the teen years will be no exception.

As I was praying for you about this talk, I felt the Lord prompt me to share this: Don't be afraid. The Lord will help you navigate through these years.

And also: For some of you in your desire to keep your child safe, protected, and on the right path, your tendency is to control too much. Yes, be wise. Yes, be aware. But don't suffocate your child.

As a parent you feel a deep-in-your-soul fear about the world your son or daughter must live in. Let's face it, there are risks that we are preparing them to face in our environment: depression, the power of friends, the bombardment of media, violence, alternative lifestyles, a sexually saturated society. It is enough to make a mom's heart afraid. But listen to God's timeless words to us: "Our son's in their youth will be like well nurtured plants, and our daughter's will be pillars carved to adorn a palace." Psalm 144:12

That's not just a nice poetic thought. It's a promise from the inventor of the family, the designer of your son or daughter. If you "well nurture" your son, he will be like a healthy plant, rooted, strong, productive. If you skillfully carve your daughter's life, she will be like a pillar of a palace. This doesn't refer to her figure, but to a young woman who is a work of art, royally beautiful, solidly dependable. And if we do a good job nurturing and beautifying, here's the payoff:
"Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision, there will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cries of distress in our streets." Psalm 144:13-14

So how can we nurture and shape?

1. Thermostat or thermometer? A thermometer reflects the temperature. A thermostat sets the temperature and as parents set the climate. Unfortunately too many parents are thermometers. They reflect the temperature set by their child at the moment: hot, cold, loud, moody, nice, nasty. this is reactive parenting- forever reacting to the changing moods of someone one third their age.

An effective parent is a thermostat- knowing your mission and staying steady on the course. Thermostat moms set the climate with each child at a consistent temperature.

2. Look beyond their deeds to their needs- Most of a teens deeds are the acting out of needs that are either met or unmet. If we want to change the deed, meet the need that's fueling it.

3. Maintaining a relationship with them is key with communication, time, and listening.

4. Too much too soon. Be careful with texting, facebook, computer, and music. They should all be monitored. Be in touch with your teens technology related social life by monitoring it because they need accountability.

5. Play with your child now and often. When they enjoy you and you enjoy them, you earn the right to be heard. You can do this with last night talks and spontaneous moments of laughter.

A teen needs:
1. A secure self- Our primary feelings of whether we are okay or not come from our mother and father.
2. Sexual answers
3. Satisfying love
4. Stable authority- a united front
5. Spiritual reality- modeling a passionate, growing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Final thought
A parent could raise a child who is physically attractive, mentally sharp, and socially skilled and still leave him or her spiritually unprovided for.
Our missle defense system in America is pretty impressive. Inside each of those silos where the missle is held, is a missle that will go up to 6000 miles- punched into the sky by a fiery launch beneath the ground- and it knows where its going. Missles have inner guidance systems toward a target.
Your teen is a powerful missle with a high-powered education, socially aware, and sexually aware and needs an internal guidance system.
Pastor Jane Campbell

Recommended books from Pastor Jane:
"'Bloom' A Girls Guide to Growing Up" by Susie Shellenberger
"What Your Daughter Isn't Telling You" by Susie Shellenberger
"I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris
"Preparing for Adolescence" by James Dobson

Devotional book for your teen:
"The One Minute Bible" by Doug Fields

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