Allowing Teens to Break Out of the Box

teen-in-a-boxTeens develop in maturity by doing, seeing, and experiencing. They crave freedom and they want to show the adults in their life that they are capable of making their own decisions. They want to break out of the box and have some control over what they do, where they go, and how they look.

But some parents prevent their teens from making mistakes at all costs (especially the same kind of mistakes they made when they were a teenager), so they apply more and more controls. This excessive sheltering can lead teens to a life of sneakiness (doing what they want to do behind the parent’s back), frustration, anger and eventually rebellion.

I can hear parents everywhere asking, “Isn’t this the time in their life when we need to rein them in? This culture is horrible!” I agree. In fact, it is precisely because the culture is so difficult that it is important for Christian parents to prepare their teen by helping them develop discernment. An overprotective parent accomplishes just the opposite, and the bud of discernment never develops into full-bloom.   Continue reading “Allowing Teens to Break Out of the Box”

Facing the Summer with a Troubled Teen

defiant-teenAre you facing a summer full of storms from a teenager whose behavior has become rebellious and out of control? Does it seem like he has suddenly become someone you don’t even recognize?

Teenagers go through normal turmoil in their emotions as they mature. Most handle adolescence without behavioral problems, but for others this time of life can be very stressful and confusing to them.  And their desire to be accepted by their peers can get them into all sorts of trouble. Continue reading “Facing the Summer with a Troubled Teen”

Dealing With Teen Anger

Angry teenAnger in your teenager can take on many faces.  It can be a seething anger kept quietly below the surface, or a tidal wave unleashed on everyone around them. Anger can manifest itself in a covert refusal to comply with your household rules or wishes, or it can lead your teenager to outwardly undermine their own future or even strike out in violence.

Anger in teenagers usually comes from some unmet need or heart-longing. Such “wants” can be immature and selfish; like wanting more material things. Or the more complicated want for control and independence.  But these can also be a smokescreen for deeper wants, like the want for love, acceptance, or even clearly defined rules to live by.  Or, it can be a want for life to be the way it was before a major event took place, like the breakup of your family, the loss of innocence, or a betrayal. Anger can also come from the want to not be ridiculed or bullied or the want to be “normal” as defined by today’s teen culture.  Continue reading “Dealing With Teen Anger”