Monday, January 23, 2012

I Dare You To Step Over This Line!

"I dare you to step over this line!" is usually what someone hears between a couple of guys right before a fight breaks out. However, I think that the same words may be spoken by adolescents to their parents, when it comes to being a teen. Teens are different in case you haven't noticed. It's amazing what they think, or not, say or shouldn't say, or do, and you guessed it they shouldn't have done it. Raising a teen into adulthood can be a crazy ride! BUT we can't avoid it so let's learn about our kids before they get into this crazy time called adolescence!

The term adolescence is a relative new term being coined about 100 years ago in our culture. Back in the day a person went from being a kid into adulthood situations and grew up fast and were men and women. Why else do you hear stories from grand parents of them leaving home at 13 or 14 and striking out on their own? But now we have to look at what we are dealing with today.

Adolescence is about a time of transitions and changes. It is that transitional phase of life that connects childhood to adulthood. It is during this time frame that the students are going through the fastest time of change in their lives. They will be changing all kinds of ways, and all at the same time. There are the hormonal issues, neurological, emotional, social, and prayerfully spiritual. These all come at the same time and are like getting a drink not from a water fountain but from a fire hydrant!

So that being said, what are you to expect? There are several things that Dr. John Townsend has listed in his book, "Boundaries with Teens".
  • Adolescence is normal and it is helpful to your child.
  • Preparation for adulthood. Teens need a time to process in which to let go of parental dependence and move into adult independence; and it can't be done overnight or wait until they are 18 and moving away to college. Teens are under the control of authority until they are ready to take ownership of their lives. Eccl. 4:9-10.
  • Dependence versus independence; students want independence but need parental input, even when the think they don't
  • Badness versus Goodness; sometimes they will vacillate between doing bad and doing good. Star Wars reference, "follow the force!" the good side of the force, let go!
  • Emotional versus Reason; do they know right from wrong? Probably so as you have taught them and then they feel they should do something diametrically opposite of what you have taught them.
  • Internal barometer versus External Social Realities, self explanatory.
  • Family values versus friends; "us versus them" mentality to a teen.
So what should the healthy adolescence look like?
  • Make connection with your teen. Them may seem withdrawn from you, and they might be, but YOU maintain that connection; you're the parent.
  • Responsibility. I am a firm believer that you allow them less supervision in areas that you can so they can be successful. Celebrate those things with more responsibility in steps.
  • Accepting reality, that is your student is not living in the video land, TV land, or other things such as perfectionism; remember this is real life and we have issues and skinned knees.
  • Messing up is normal and not everything is a crises!
  • Healthy is looking to the outside to their friends, and the outside world than being home with mom and dad all the time. Stay connected with them though.
  • They make friends with other GOOD kids. Parents you may not approve 100% of their friends, but as long as they are NOT dragging your kids into crises, pick and choose here.
  • Developing good values is important to them in morals, ethics, and spiritual beliefs. You may not agree with all the parameters they have but you can agree with the foundation.
  • Challenging parents is normal and it is healthy. They are speaking their minds, maturing, exercising their own thought processes.
What are we trying to say? Well being a teen is not without issues, it wasn't without issues when you were a teen. Parent so you will not go crazy let me say this, let go of your need to have the perfect teen. Do this for your sanity and for the fact there are NO perfect teens. They are human beings, little models of you, and they will have to learn their own way and you can help them do that.

I know that during these crazy times your teen will drive you crazy to a degree, you will not understand them but remember it is necessary for them to exercise who they are, within your parameters, so they will be solid adults. So here's the fight for the next few years of parenting your teen, "I Dare You To Step Over This Line!"

BWT 69-73

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