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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”


Teen Boundaries and Self-Control

I hear this all the time from young people…“I want to make decisions for myself.  I want to be in control of my own life.”  My first thought is, “Hallelujah! Your parents want the same thing – but like everything else in life, it must be within certain boundaries.”

Boundaries aren’t handcuffs; they free teenagers to make decisions since they know how far they can go.  For instance, I’ve always thought that a teen wearing one fashion or another should be their own choice.  They can dress how they want, but as soon as that clothing becomes immodest, they are stepping over a boundary, the modesty boundary.  Or, if what they wear breaks the school’s dress code, they are stepping over the school’s boundaries.  Likewise, when a teen is allowed to drive the car, perhaps they are told they must be home by dark, not have any other teens in the car, and they mustn’t drive any further than a certain distance away from home.  Those qualifications for the use of the car are boundaries.  How and where the teen drives within those boundaries is up to them, as long as they follow other imposed boundaries, like traffic laws. Continue reading “Teen Boundaries and Self-Control”


Teen Girls in a Culture of Seduction

Teenagers today live in a world of seduction and permissiveness. Sexual images are everywhere, not just in an occasional movie or magazine.  Younger than ever, they are being torn between living a lifestyle that is deemed acceptable and desirable by their peer group, and doing what has been taught them by their families and church. More times than not, the pressure to “fit in” with their culture wins out when they are away from home.

While teens do understand and welcome (most of the time) their parent’s “messages” about modesty and abstinence, the overwhelming influence of their peers and their culture will dwarf those positive messages. They are feeling a pressure to give in and “belong” that you wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Easy access to pornography, the display of sexual images and themes across all forms of media, and the promotion of “alternative sexual lifestyles,” coupled with messages of instant gratification and a “do what you want” mentality, all set young girls up for a “fall.” By overexposure, they are being convinced that sex is as natural and healthy for them to participate in (before marriage) as breathing or eating, so it is simply no big deal. Continue reading “Teen Girls in a Culture of Seduction”