The Power of Empowering Teens

Do you remember teaching your child to drive a car? How could you forget? Did you ever grab the steering wheel to keep your rookie driver from hitting another car…or a tree…or a mailbox…or a kid on a bike?  Hopefully that didn’t happen too often—it’s bad for the blood pressure and the insurance rates!

While there may be rare moments when we have to grab the wheel from our kids, it’s important that we begin letting go when kids reach the teen years.  One of our most important priorities is to gradually empower them to take control of their own lives and take responsibility for their own actions. Continue reading “The Power of Empowering Teens”

Is Your Home a War Zone?

teenWe received an email recently from a mother who wrote simply, “Our teenage son is turning our home into a war zone!”  A lot of you who are reading this are probably saying, “ditto” or “same here,” because her letter is as if a carbon copy of what many parents write to us every day.

Some would say this teen is just being “rebellious,” but I say, ‘Wait a minute. Let’s look at all the reasons why he may be acting this way.” Honestly in three decades of working with young people, including working with over 2500 troubled young people who have come to Heartlight over the years, I have only known about ten truly rebellious teenagers.  The rest of them were responding or reacting to situations in their life.  When you see a child in constant turmoil, something is going on—but it’s not what you see on the surface.  Yes, it’s always appropriate to control bad behavior through boundaries and consequences, but you also need to get to the root of the problem — rather than just the behavior — to effectively deal with the turmoil. Continue reading “Is Your Home a War Zone?”

Hope for Healing

teenSome time ago we remodeled our home.  A project that was to last 6 months went on for nearly 30 months and the costs soared.  Throughout the project we met workers that did a great job, but others who took advantage of us.  They lied to us, conned us, made horrendous mistakes, broke promises, and caused much pain and hardship.

I asked a number of questions throughout the project…questions like:  “Why in the world does this need to be done this way?” or “I thought we had planned for that?” and ultimately, “Why has something that was supposed to be so quick and easy, now become so drawn out and hard…will it ever end?”  Sound familiar?

Maybe your relationship with your teenager feels like my home remodeling project.  Perhaps what you thought would be a momentary struggle has turned into open wound that won’t heal.  Maybe your plans for your teen are seemingly going awry, and they are lying, conning you, and making horrible mistakes.  If so, I want to challenge you to a different perspective. Continue reading “Hope for Healing”