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How Do We Let Go of Our Old Ways?

by Mark Gregston

Are your teens resistant or even rebelling against your ways of parenting?  If so, maybe it’s time you considered giving your bag of parenting-tricks an overhaul.  As your child grows through the teen years, it’s important that your parenting style and skills grow, too.  So, if you’re looking for some new ways to help you change the dynamics in your home while helping you resolve the conflicts and struggles that are bound to come your way, this is one article you’ll want to keep on hand. 

Seven Ways to Change the Dynamics in Your Home 

1. No two teens are alike—even those from the same households.  So, remember, what works for one may or may not work for the other one, and it’s important to know different techniques and tips to handle them differently. 

2. They’ll only go where you are willing to go.  If you are not willing to deal with certain situations, how can you expect your teens to be a willing participant?  It boils down to this: don’t ask someone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.  The days of do as I say, not as I do are over.  That didn’t really work back in the ’50-60’s, and it definitely won’t work these days.  Stand with your teen as you both face down the giants and you’ll show your teen that you’re capable of building a relationship that’s based on trust. 

3. Let go of the control.  When you’re controlling and unyielding, you’re only creating an atmosphere that’s conducive for fighting. 

4. If it’s not working, try a different approach.  If what you’re doing isn’t working for your family, then try something new.  Every family is different and unique.  What works for some, may not work for another.  Every person has been wonderfully and uniquely made by God, and each family has been knitted together for His good purpose.  Take time to see what works best for your family. 

5. Time-outs are your friend.  Go for walk. Take a minute to collect yourself.  Breathe.  It does wonders for your body.  Not only will taking a time-out help you, it will also teach your teen how they can appropriately work through conflicts—something that no one likes to do, but is a required skill as they navigate the choppy waters of adulthood. 

6. They have to walk on their own.  Give your teen some space.  Let them have some control.  The sense of accomplishment they receive will help fuel future behaviors that will serve them in the long run. 

7. Be gentle in your approach.  We often tell our kids, it’s not what you’re saying, it’s how you’re saying it.  And that works both ways.  Watch how you’re talking to your kids because more often than not, they’re simply parroting back to us our own actions and speech.  And then remind your child that if they fail—which we all do from time to time, you’ll still love them—no matter what comes your way. 

Six Practical New Ways to get a Handle on Your Teen Today 

1. Sit down with your teen and quietly wait for him or her to invite you into a conversation. 

2. Don’t make demands.  Allow them the opportunity to speak first. 

3. Ask questions and then wait for them to give you the answer.  Be listening to what they have to say, not just hearing what they say so you can respond. 

4. Don’t Interrupt.  Let them get the thoughts out before you respond. 

5. Ask how you can be a better parent and then implement action.  Most teens know what they need from their parents, and if they’re not afraid to tell you, make sure you listen and take action to help them. 

6. Again, listen to what they have to say.  Listening not only helps you understand the root causes of your child’s behavior and the heart issues that they are struggling with, it also deepens your relationship and shows them they are valued and loved. 


Mom, Dad … some of your old ways of parenting were magnificent in their day.  Your kids listened, they obeyed, they followed your instructions, and they respected the position you held in their life.  But some of those old ways just don’t work anymore and you must shift your parenting styles to accommodate the needs of your growing teens.  If you want to be relevant in this ever-changing culture, you must shift your style to make sure that your teen continues to view you as they did in their younger years.  They need to continue to know that you love them dearly, you’ll help when needed, and you’re the one who won’t be distracted in helping them become the person that God has created them to be. 

Author: Mark Gregston

Mark Gregston began working with teens more than 40 years ago as a youth minister and Young Life director. He has authored nearly two dozen books, has written hundreds of articles, and is host of the nationally-acclaimed Parenting Today’s Teens podcast and radio broadcast.