When I say you need to get to know your teen don't block me out over this. Several years ago I had the opportunity to teach a class at the local high school in which my daughter was attending. I ate in the cafeteria, you just can't pass up a meal like that, and I saw the environment that the students were being educated in. That evening when my daughter came home, I hugged her, kissed her on the forehead and bragged on her. You see I understood her better after that event. I knew her better than I had the day before.
So what is a parent to do?
- First of all get to know them better. What does this mean? RELATIONSHIP is the word. This may take some time especially if you have been butting heads over changing their behavior everytime you get together. Relax, for a bit, and just get to know your teen.
- Listen more. I know that as parents we get angry because our teens just don't listen to us. Guess what? Most parents don't listen to their teens. Listening is a lost skill. Most of us listen so we will know what we are going to say in rebuttal. Just make eye contact and listen; fix the problems later.
- Ask real listening questions of your teen. Let's face it we ask dumb questions and then get upset that the student doesn't answer what we really want to know. We ask, 'How was school?" they answer, "fine!" and we get upset. What we really wanted to know involved more. Ask better questions such as, "Hey, you were haveing a test in science today, how was that? How do you think you did" or "How do you think others did on the test, did they say it was hard?" Better questions and you can get better conversations.
- Take away the pressure. Don't back your kid into the corner and give them the third degree. Continue a great relationship with them and tell them that you want to keep that relationship solid. This will require the two of you talking from time to time and just spend some time together. Cray but it works; it's a lot better than the stool, dark room, single light overhead and the rubber hose!
Now the spiritual part for us. To maintain and create a successful quiet time each day, you need a routine. Find a place that you use when you meet with Christ and read the word. It may be a special place in the house that you set aside just to meet with Christ. A place, a chair, table, journal or something so that if others seeing you do this they know you are meeting with God. If we have a place, a routine, or something that we do to talk with our teens, or get to know them better; whatever, it is; your relationship with them will be better.
Let's face it, the whole reason you are doing these things is so you will be "Getting To Know Your Teen"