Relieving Tension in the Home

nervous teenThere was a lot of tension in my home when I was growing up.  I can remember the whole family nervously sitting around the dinner table and eating a meal without saying a word.  When we were at odds with each other we were taught a very simple coping strategy; avoid it!  Of course that didn’t solve anything or make it go away; the tension just built up over time, eventually exploding like an erupting volcano.

It’s important that our homes be a place where everyone can release their tension in appropriate ways and find a respite and relief.  If not, your teens will find ways to self-medicate the tension away through drugs, alcohol, promiscuity or self-harm. The pressures of their world are far greater than when we were kids, so let me share with you some practical ideas for relieving tension in your home. Continue reading “Relieving Tension in the Home”

Media Discernment for Teens

Short of wrapping our kids in bubble wrap, blindfolding them and plugging their ears, we simply can’t protect them from being bombarded throughout the day by an ever increasing number of suggestive and inappropriate media messages, many using shock value to gain attention.

Our first tendency as parents is to try to control the messages they see and hear, but that’s becoming impossible. It’s not just television and movies that we have to be concerned about. Those of us who are old enough to remember what “don’t touch that dial” meant can struggle to grasp how media goes everywhere with our kids today. That’s why it is more important than ever that we understand how it influences our teens, and then teach them discernment to deal with what they see and hear when we are not there with them.

Walt Mueller of the Center for Parent-Youth Understanding says that the biggest influence on the worldview of teens today is still the family, but media has become so pervasive and attractive that it fills the void if parents don’t do their job. In other words, if you want your children to have positive values, you have to teach it to them. If you want them to go along with the negative messages of the culture, do nothing.  Either way they will learn, but parents still have the upper hand, if they make the effort. Continue reading “Media Discernment for Teens”

Teen Intervention and Recovery

We received an email recently from a desperate mother who wrote: “My son has been deeply depressed and is refusing to go to counseling.  The school suspended him because the counselor there deemed him to be suicidal.  He’s very precious to me, but I’m at a loss what to do.”  This is a classic case where intervention is needed—when if something isn’t done quickly, the child may not be around long.

It’s important to understand up front what intervention is…and what it is not.  Intervention is not about getting justice for your teen’s misbehavior (for terrorizing the whole family); intervention is about saving them from themselves.  It gives kids an opportunity to step back from the brink and begin dealing with the underlying issues that are causing the symptoms that have brought things to a crisis point. Continue reading “Teen Intervention and Recovery”