Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Follow The Leader

Follow The Leader is one of those games that you play as a kid that can be fun for awhile until you are either are not the leader or you get tired of failing to complete the tasks the leader does before you. Believer it or not parenting our teens is the same. Parents are the leaders and many times they lead in such a way that their teen is set up for failure or the parent refuses to lead the way they should. The teen sees this and refuses to follow the examples laid out by Dad and Mom. So what are you to do? Great question.

"Teens will develop self-control and responsibility to the extent that their parents have true and healthy guidelines/rules for their own lives." It has to be more than "do as I say and not as I do" stuff. Your teen is watching you and if you are "wishy washy", yep old term words, and don't hold the line, then your rules/guidelines are meaningless. Our teens watch us and use that as their guideline in their lives. Let's face it the more our teens experience the negative consequences of poor choices, the more everyone learns from doing the wrong thing. I.e. "If I put my hand onto the stove I get burned. Answer: don't put your hand on the stove!" If you never learned this one as a kid you have the scars to prove it.

4 strong guidelines for you, the parent to develop first:
  1. Define who you are, what you expect and what you really value. You know what you are expecting from your teen. In other words, "Start with the end in mind first!". If you fail to vocalize, establish your goals, or what your expectations are don't get get mad at your teen when they mess up because in their minds the expectations are not clear. Your child needs you to guide them because if you don't the world, and this culture will dictate that to them. You will not like where the world is taking them.
  2. Separate yourself from your child and understand that as they get older they make their own decisions and must suffer their own consequences. Sure they will get mad, angry, full of DRAMA all the time and craziness; that's not you and it doesn't define you. If you are not separated from your child's emotions, consequences etc. then you will feel it's your responsibility to make your child happy. ALERT: teens are seldom happy no matter how hard you try. Many teens are only happy if they are unhappy. Go figure.
  3. Learn to tell the truth in your rules/guidelines to your family. Your student is being lied to by the culture to get them to do what the culture wants so you become the truth agent. Listen teens want you to be real. They can smell a phoney a mile away! Get real, be real and tell the real truth to them. Confrontation to your teen is not a bad thing. Thinking it will go away on its own never works. If you allow it, if you permit it, if you decide to not to address an issue; you are teaching them that what they are doing is acceptable. When they cross the line, or draw a line in the sand and dare you to do something about it; DON'T DISAPPOINT THEM, LET'S ROCK! The real world will tell them when they mess up; driving, jobs, grades, etc. and you are preparing them for real life.
  4. Keep on trucking! OK you are too young to know this but here is a news flash for you. Students will try everything they can to wear you down, to make you chase rabbits with them and then circle back to what they want. They will throw up smoke screens and try to blind side you or make you so tired that you will do what they want. I heard this said by a psycologist one time, "When your kid throws a fit, outfit them!" Keep on trucking, don't give up and don't let them get the upper hand; you are the parent! Now while we get tired of this daily fight, it is helping them to learn to better negotiate in the real world. If you roll over too easily or at all, you are teaching them that this is how the world will treat them. That's not fair to them because it's not real. Don't set your child up for failure.
Ok the spiritual part for you and I really like this one. I now live off a real curvy road that has an S-curve with guard rails on both sides. There is one stretch of this road where it appears that someone went through the rail and crashed. Someone didn't negotiate the twists and turns correctly and had a loss.

Parents, God has called you to be a guardrail for your kids. They may crash into you, over and over, and over again but you are there to help them to not break through and have a terrible loss. You have to be strong! You may get beat up, so to speak, tired, or even weakened some but your kids need you. You are teaching your kids to stay on track, on the road that is laid before them.

Now stay with me cause we will be moving soon to the teens, students and the kids but parents have to be strong first before we can address our kids. I want to give you the support you need first. Many that I have been working with of late need support, guidance, and prayer coverage.

Remember I am pulling for you as you Follow The Leader!

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