Welcome to our next parenting session together. As you read these sessions, you will quickly discover that I do not pretend to have all the answers. Some days, parenting a teenager makes me feel like I don’t have any of the answers. While other days, I have plenty of good to celebrate.
If you missed any of our previous sessions together, you can find them here.
Today, I want to share a few highlights of conversations I’ve had with other parents in the past few weeks.
The first conversation was regarding our beloved twelve year olds. Something weird happens at this age. Data shows the amount of change in an 11-13 year old is comparable to one who is 0-2. If you don’t know this is going to invade your home. It will. It can be ugly. You should expect that around your son or daughter’s 12th birthday, the brain turns off; almost automatically. You should expect a bumpy ride, because it is all of that. As much as you’re trying to figure out what is going on, your son or daughter is doing the same thing.
We, as parents, have a great opportunity to rise above the chaos when we know what to expect. Endurance is key to making it until his or her brain decides to turn back on. The switch flips off almost automatically. Unfortunately, the switch flips back on gradually sometime between 14 and 15. You will begin to see glimpses of hope if you can rise above the daily grinding of middle school.
The second conversation was regarding core values. This was actually a conversation with a couple of middle school boys. We were discussing the armor of God and I made a parallel to our core values. I was a bit surprised these young men did not know the values in their lives that were non-negiotable. It made me aware that Bridget and I need to become more intentional about labeling our family values as such and allowing our children to grab hold and them and own them. I encourage you to do the same thing with your children, regardless of age.
The third conversation was regarding knowing God’s plan for a family. Each of us makes decisions for a family that will bring negative and positive results. My encouragement to each situation is in the form of a question. How will this decision compromise the goals and values you have established for your family? This is not a question that I can answer for you; you must wrestle with each decision as parents. What is good for Bridget and me is not necessarily good for your family. God leads us down different paths and callings and we follow him to the best of our ability.
All three of those conversations are important and valid because we are all on a journey as a family. Our kids want more freedom as age allows. We want to give more trust as behavior allows. I think this journey is much more significant than we give credit. I also think this is a journey we need to begin long before most of us do.
Here are some resources that I hope will help you along your journey of parenting.
1. A video called “REBEL and REPEAT”. This is designed to help you look at your past and learn to parent your teenager better based on your own experience as a teenager.
2. A “Youth-Parent Contract Pack” This pack includes a handful of documents listed below designed to help you have better conversations of trust and freedom.
Thanks for allowing me to journey alongside you as we point our children to Jesus.
Have a great day!