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When Teens Shatter Your Dreams

A Discussion with Psychologist Dr. Larry Crabb

During a trip with some of our counseling staff to attend the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) Annual Convention in Nashville, our friend, Dr. Larry Crabb, spoke in the plenary session. He also joined us on our weekend radio program. In our discussion, Dr. Crabb shared the struggle he experienced with one of his own teens, and what he learned from going through that. Here are some of his key points:

Their Struggle Our Struggle

Dr. Crabb reminds us that sometimes God uses our own children to speak to us concerning something we need to change in our own life, or even to reveal that we have valued our child more than our relationship with our Maker.

Lesser Things and the Greater Good

In the midst of the struggle and heartache, never forget that nothing can separate us from God’s love and care. Stop “settling” for lesser things in life, and seek the greater good that God wants for us. If we could really see what God is up to, we’d be singing during those times of pain and tears, instead of just focusing on our own pain.

Suffering and Glory

God promises glory on the other side of this struggle if we will commit our way (and our teenager) to Him. We need to abandon our teenager to God’s care and allow Him to take some of the parenting load off our own shoulders.

Spiritual Companionship Will Help Us Survive

We should make known the struggle that is going on with our teen to a trusted companion. It is important to seek out a pastor, an elder, or a friend who is willing to come alongside us and literally pick us up off the floor, encourage us, and listen to how we hurt when our hearts have been broken by our teenager.

I encourage you to listen to the entire conversation with Dr. Larry Crabb on Our Parenting Today’s Teens Radio program.

Follow the instructions to download the radio conversation with Dr. Crabb online.

Download: WMA file (1.8 MB)

Download: MP3 file (3.9 MB) (higher quality)

Download Instructions: Right click on a link above and choose

“save target as.” Once it is downloaded, open to play.


Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder and director of Heartlight, a residential counseling center for struggling teens located in Longview, Texas.  He has been married to his wife, Jan, for 39 years, has two kids, and 4 grandkids.  He lives in Longview, Texas with the Heartlight staff, 60 high school kids, 25 horses, his dog, Stitch, 2 llamas, and a prized donkey named Toy.  His past involvement as a youth pastor, Young Life area director, and living with over 2,500 teens, has prepared Mark to share his insights and wisdom about parenting pre-teens and adolescents.

You can find out more about Heartlight at, or you can call Heartlight directly at (903) 668-2173.

For more information and helpful resources for moms and dads, check out our Parenting Today’s Teens website at, It’s filled with ideas and tools to help you become a more effective parent.

Here you will also find a station near you where you can listen to the Parenting Today’s Teens radio broadcast, or download the podcast of the most recent programs.  The Parenting Today’s Teens radio program was recently awarded the 2014 Program of the Year by the National Religious Broadcasters.

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.