March 02, 2010

10 Things Your Teen Won’t Tell You (Part 2)

Written By Cary Schmidt

This is part two of a three part series. Click here to read the first part of this article.

4. My deepest need is a sincere relationship with you. (I need time with parents.) Not only will they not say this—they won’t even admit to it or understand it. This one resides so deep in our God-given design, that we barely recognize it. It’s the life results that make it so obvious. A teenager who has a healthy relationship with Dad and Mom is just an entirely different creature than one that doesn’t. They think different, feel different (emotionally), logic different, behave different, and have vastly different lives for the long-term. The key is—you must make it happen. You must create these moments. No force on earth—not sports, not  homework, not friends, not youth group, not work—should keep you from having quality, quantity time together.

Quote: “I went soulwinning with my mom and those were the only times I really got to talk to my mom, not just about church things, but about anything.  She would take me to lunch afterward. Four hours is a long time.  I truly treasured that time, because home life is so busy you don’t really talk.”

Quote: “This is something I didn’t realize I needed as a teenager.  Both of my parents work full time, so they had to purposefully make time for us to spend together, and most of the time they had to force us to spend time with them.  Had my parents given up on making us do things with them, I know that we would have serious relationship problems today, and I would be lacking two of my best mentors and counselors.”

Quote: “Probably the best thing my dad let me do was buy a 1968 Pontiac, and we spent the next two and a half years together working on it. I got quality time with my dad doing something we both loved, and I also got practical hands-on mechanical training.”

5. I need and want rules born out of love and enforced with sincerity. (Biblically deal with your own failures.) Teens expect us to be authorities—they know that love is sometimes tough. When we fail to provide and consistently enforce boundaries, or when we give too much freedom with no restraint, they know the interpretation—”Stay out of my way, I don’t really care about you.” Biblical parenting requires much wisdom and effort. It’s a sacrifice—hard work—to stand in the gap spiritually.

Quote: “Teens might fight the rules, but they need them more than anything.  I am so glad my parents protected me from certain things. I owe where I am now to them. There were times that I didn’t break rules, because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, and if the rules hadn’t been there, I would have regretted it later.”

Quote: “My parents were good about explaining to us why they had certain rules for us as teenagers. That was a good move because it didn’t give us the chance to sit and think of all the cruel reasons they had come up with these restrictions, and we respected them for it.”

Quote: “I knew the rules from day one. This was never a problem with me, because they were balanced and properly enforced.”

6. I need united authority in my life.  (Nothing confuses me more than conflicting authorities!) How often I counsel families where Mom and Dad do not stand together. One parent disagrees with the other on discipline. One hides things from the other. Statements like, “Don’t tell your father” or “Just because Pastor believes it doesn’t mean we have to” abound in today’s Christian home.

For a teen, divided authorities brings confusion and frustration. If you don’t agree with your school or pastor, find one you can support. If you are at odds with your spouse, resolve the problem. For your child’s sake—stand together with biblical authorities and with one another. Work out your differences privately, but stand together publicly.

Quote: “My parents never sided against an authority figure! They always supported them in front of us even if the authority figure was wrong.”

Quote: “My parents agreed with each other (at least in front of us), supported our pastor, and took the side of our teachers.”

Note: Don’t miss part three of this series coming soon!