Do you remember that home when you were young where everyone went to hang out at? You know the adults there seemed to always have kids hanging out there? Maybe your home is or was that way with everyone hanging out.
This kind of home is important to the lives of your teens, as long as you know and approve of it and you know the adults there. But "your teen needs for YOU to be connected to othe adults in meaningful relationships." Yep, you the parent need other adults in your life.
You see when our students see us in great or good relationships with other adults it just demonstrates to them how good it can be. If you as a parent isolate yourself from other adults you are modeling to your teen that this is a healthy option for them; and it's not. I am a firm believer that God did not create us to be solitary figures without others in our lives. Remember Adam was alone for a bit and God created him a helpmate. Not just to correct the problem with the first model!
It has been proven that people that are alone get in real trouble. In fact, the HALT method stands true, and be on guard for it.
- Hungry, don't really hungry, you tend to over eat, not eat, or eat poorly.
- Angry, don't get really angry because you will say or do something you will regret later.
- Lonely, when you get lonely you take measures to not stay that way and that's not healthy for you.
- Tired, when we are tired we don't think correctly and make poor decisions for ourselves and others.
- You need grace in your life. I have made so many mistakes parenting that it is so easy to beat yourself up over the errors you have made. People in our lives that will love us, walk with us, and help us to get over ourselves. Find some real people that are not really impressed with our parental facades of how perfect we are! They won't be shocked because they know you are real. Here's the deal find some folks that you can be real with and they know, as you know, that right now you don't have it all together.
- Identify in likeness with other parents. This means you are not perfect, they are not perfect, neither of you are insane (as far as we know) and you are not weird because you are the parent of a teen. As another couple or several couples can come together and know each other's stories and not think bad about each other. Sure you would have done something differently when you hear the stories but you can know each other enough that you can speak truth, with grace into each other's lives.
- Find those 'Been There Done That' people to help you. I would say mature people but that seems to me old people but it's not about age, it's about wisdom. However, if you have an older Youth Minister who has been through the parenting jungle or disasters with their own children, well that's a Godsend for you. They know there is light at the end of the tunnel and it's not always bad, just sometimes.
- Stabilization in your life. Find these people that will help you become grounded in your storms. It's easy to see what our students are going through and we get our insides torn out and we panic. Our students even in the disaster they have created for themselves may be feeling the same thing. One of you have to be grounded in this mess.
What I want for you when things are nuts, going crazy and you feel you are coming apart to slow down, pray, seek God, and find others to help you so you will have No Loose Connections.