by: Richelle Torres
How do I open communication with my distant teen?
by Jeff Ware, Student Life Pastor
It’s no secret that this pandemic has changed our lives due to some very real and legitimate difficulties. I want to talk you out of seeing these present circumstances as an inconvenience to be eliminated and instead see them as an opportunity to be seized. The reality is that God has given us this gift of time with our families as a real side-benefit to this ugly pandemic. That’s right! A huge chunk of time has been dropped in our laps, and we would all be foolish to waste it. Could it be that “social-distancing” is facilitating “family closeness”? Cancellations, postponements, and quarantines are forcing us into what we should have already been embracing as a top priority. Want to know how to open up communication with your teenager? Let me suggest that for Christian parents, there are three particular ways you can use this opportunity to invest in your kiddos.
First, take time to talk. I was recently moved and challenged by a TV scene where two old friends sat at a bar lamenting how their lives and families hadn’t turned out as they had planned. The one turned to the other and asked, “When was the last time you sat at the dinner table and asked your kids, ‘How was your day?’” The question was met with a deafening silence. The man then said, “Me too.” Take the time to ask probing questions of your kids, and then sit back and listen.
Second, take time to tell. We all have histories. Great lessons are learned from sharing stories of the ups and downs we’ve experienced in our own lives through our circumstances and choices. There was no TV, radio, or internet telling the stories that would shape young lives in generations past. Families were shaped by one generation passing on life lessons to following generations through the telling of stories. Even though our story-telling muscles may be weak due to lack of use, we need to start exercising those muscles, bringing them back to life with each other again.
Third, take time to teach. We must share the Psalmist’s commitment if we hope to see our kids come to faith and grow in their relationship with Christ: “O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come” (Psalm 71:17&18). Dig deep into God’s Word and share what you are learning with your kids.
2 Comments on this post:
Some helpful notes from another lady,
Sometimes talking to the kids where you don't have to look at each other is good to. Like talking while driving somewhere, talking to kids at their bedroom door before bed or at wake up. It seems to take pressure off. It's been helpful 2 me.
Pastor Jeff...this is so good! We aren't yet in the teen years, but they are right around the corner and it's stuff like this that I need to remember and start doing NOW as we prepare to enter that phase of our kids lives.