Monday, February 13, 2017

The 4 Secrets to Effective Communication with Your Teen



It's frustrating isn't it? We parents have great and  hard earned wisdom and life experience. We want to bestow that knowledge to our young people. We don't want them to make the same mistakes or we hope to prevent the pain from a  move in a wrong direction.Yet... some (many) of those whippersnappers choose to ignore our well intended words and do things the hard way.

Perhaps it is time for us moms and dads to alter our the way we impart our wisdom to our teens.

My brother has said, "I've decided to hire only teens because teens know everything."

Being the parent of a "know it all teen" can be a bit difficult. Especially when we really do know better.

Understanding that this attitude is typical of a teenage developmental stage--- teens seeking autonomy-- we must adjust our parenting mindset.

The good thing is our young people are learning to own their own ideas, beliefs, and behaviors. This shift is the beginning of personal and interpersonal responsibility. Ultimately, we want this. This is a good thing. But the getting there process can feel like a tug of war.

If your young person turned a deaf ear to you, try these 4 secrets to effective communication with your teen. 

1. Train over tell.
Make your goal to train your child's character rather than telling him or her what to do. Let's say you notice your young person has been acting disrespectfully. Rather than saying, "You will respect me while you are living under my roof." You instead train for respect. "I treat you with respect. I expect respect in return." Make a mental note that your child needs to understand what respect looks like. Respect is observed in demonstrating kindness in actions and words. Take time to discuss why respect is an important quality for family members to embrace and exude. Of course approach the topic of respect, respectfully.

2. Listen over lecture.
The lecture usually begins after the lesson has been learned. Let the natural consequences do the speaking. The child already knows he messed up. The I told you sos, the shouldahs and the oughts are most likely fairly obvious. Instead listen to what your child learned and how they will do things differently next time. Have your child create a time line of events and choices made along the way. This is a helpful tool for discussing how poor decisions are made and how better choices can be lived out.

3. Ask over assume.
We can make a mistake by assuming positive perfection, "My child would never ...." or by a negative
assumption. Rather than assuming either always good or always bad-- ask. "You missed your curfew by 30 minutes. Tell me about this."  This provides mom and dad more insight into the child's thought process and opens the door for dialogue. Ask before assuming.


4. Influence over insistence
Parents, whether we realize it or not, have great influence over our young person. If we can have candid conversations with our kids about our family values and faith-- including the whys of what we believe-- we will have grater impact than if we insist that they comply. We want our kids to be committed to making the best and right choices.even when, especially when they are no longer living in our home,


We don't just want our kids to act right because of extrinsic rewards or punishment.... we want them to be motivated intrinsically due to a well due to a Holy Spirit led conscience and right thinking. These four secrets will help strengthen those positive qualities we hope our kids embrace as they mature.

The goal of this command is love,
which comes from a pure heart and a good 
conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5

Here are some related links:

5 New Steps for Parenting Teens 

7 Effective Ways to Respond to Your Teen

7 Ways to Impact Your Teen's almost Adult Phase

5 Things Teens Need to Know About Their Parents

How to Grow Your Child's Conscience



If this post was helpful and you want more information on raising big kids head over to Amazon and pick up your copy of   Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love  .








Lori Wildenberg
Licensed parent and family educator, co-founder of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com co-author of 3 parenting books (with her 1st solo endeavor to be published in May 2017 Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home),  mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love), wife to Tom,  Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at  MOMS Together community on Facebook. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

5 New Steps for Parenting Teens



You have lived with your child for over a decade. Your family dynamics have a predictable rhythm.  Then .... suddenly your child is not dancing to the old familiar tune.

You keep trying the same moves but find you and your child are stepping on each other's toes.

W h a t   i s   g o i n g   o n ?

Well...the double digits have dialed in and we have discovered we need a new parenting dance. (And just when we could do our parenting moves blindfolded--those rascals change the steps.)

Here are  5 new steps for the parent-child dance in the tween and teen years.

1. Provide the guidelines but stay on the sidelines.
    Our kiddos still need guidance... and they need the opportunity to work things out within that structure. Allow them the opportunity to try, to fail, to succeed, to own the outcome. Be available to assist when asked. We want to get our kids thinking. We want them to make wise decisions when we are not with in ear shot. The only way that will happen is with some practice.

2. Have rubber-band limits.
    Limits can stretch and tighten depending on how your children respond. Rules on the other hand never change. Rules are consistent. They deal with values, morals, faith, safety, and legal issues. Limits adjust to the child's level of maturity. Limits can be stretched when trust has been demonstrated. More trust, more flexibility with the limits.

3. Allow for more freedom with increased responsibility.
    We want to raise responsible kids.We want kids who  are accountable for their actions and interactions. The only way responsibility is  encouraged is through increased freedom and ownership. The only way parents feel comfortable increasing freedom is when responsibility and trust are demonstrated. It all goes together. Talk with your child about where you can start allowing for more freedom and increased responsibility. They will most likely have a few ideas!

4. Morph from controller to consultant.
    Rather than managing the child's life--hand the reigns over (where appropriate) to the child and instead put on your consultant hat. All the good ideas a controller has, take those ideas and turn them into questions. "What is your plan?" "Would you like some help?" Get your child thinking and avoid micromanaging. The risk of continuing on in the controller mode is that the child will rebel or he may end up lacking confidence in his ability to do life.

5. Transition from chum to coach.
    The highly relational chum approach needs to let go a bit.  Encourage and support without horning in on everything. The potential danger of maintaining the chum approach is that eventually the child will come to resent the parent.


Our kids will let us know when a new dance is needed. "I'm not a baby." "I'm almost an adult." "I can do it myself." Listen for those cues.

Our kids will always want more freedom then we are ready to give and we always want more control or interaction than they need. Find the best dance for you and your child. Then...when your next kiddo enters the second decade, you will need to create a unique dance with and for him.

The parenting dance is fluid. We have no choice but to go with the flow of the child's grow. 


The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.
Proverbs 16:21


Here are a few related posts you may enjoy:

7 Effective Ways to Respond to Your Teen

7 Ways to Impact Your Teen's almost Adult Phase

5 Things Teens Need to Know About Their Parents




If this post was helpful and you want more information on raising big kids head over to Amazon and pick up your copy of   Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love  .








Lori Wildenberg
Licensed parent and family educator, co-founder of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com co-author of 3 parenting books (with her 1st solo endeavor to be published in May 2017 Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home),  mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love), wife to Tom,  Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at  MOMS Together community on Facebook. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

7 Effective Ways to Respond to Your Teen





Do you see evidence of this type of behavior in your home? 
  • Dismissive
  • Dramatic
  • Distant
  • Disconnected
Do you hear:
  • "What are you looking at?"
  • "Chill. I'll do it in a minute."
  • "I'm so dumb."
  • "You don't know everything."
  • "Just leave me alone."

Ahhh, yes. You got teen. And your teen's caught the 'tude. In our home we called this MSA (Middle School Attitude). At one point my husband and I had 4 teens, 3 girls  and one boy. I get it.

In my experience, personal and professional, I  have found the boys typically tend to withdraw and shut down and the girls usually become more dramatic.

The teen years can be challenging as our young people strive to figure out who they are and where they fit.

Think of all the body changes. Recall all the social ups and downs. Reflect on the need for more independence and freedom. Remember trying to sort out your beliefs from your parents. 

The teen years contain lots of social, emotional, physical, and spiritual  challenges. 

One minute teens can be playful and fun-loving and then suddenly a switch is flipped and they may be passive aggressive, easily angered, braggadocios, full of self-doubt, self-conscious, withdrawn, and/or moody. 

Whoa--There is a lot going on.

Before we can respond well, we need to assess our own attitude and tone.
Do my actions and words convey respect? Am I respectful even when I disagree? What does my tone communicate? 

Rather than engage in battle there are some alternative and effective ways to respond to a teen emotional outburst or withdrawal.

1. Ignore the behavior. Let it go. It takes two to argue. You have heard it said, "You don't have to attend every argument you are invited to." 

2. Stay calm. Don't mirror their emotion. Present yourself the way in which you would like them to behave.

3. Use humor. But humor that is funny for all. No toxic verbal weapons like sarcasm or mocking.

4. Address the disrespect. "I respect you. I expect respect in return." 

5. Switch up your parenting style from Chum (the friend who is always involved) to the Coach (who steps back but provides guidance, encouragement and structure). Or from Controller (dictating the way things should go) the the Consultant (one who advises and asks questions to get the teen thinking)

6. Model how to handle frustration and anger in a constructive way.

7. Demonstrate thankfulness, gratefulness, and appreciation for your young person.

Teens are a part of the family system--whether they like it or not. It is important during these formative years that they have some extra freedom along with additional responsibility. Combine those individual adjustments with family expectations. Because they are a valuable part of the family they need to participate in family conversations and activities and pitch in around the home. 

Just a note: There is a mental health condition or mood disorder called dysthymia which can look like apathy or withdrawal. It is a persistent form of mild depression. Talk with your health professional or a licensed counselor if you see signs of this in your teen.

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
Proverbs 14:29

Here are a few related posts:

7 Ways to Impact Your Teen's almost Adult Phase

5 Things Teens Need to Know About Their Parents



If this post was helpful and you want more information on raising big kids head over to Amazon and pick up your copy of   Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love  .





Lori Wildenberg
co-founder of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com, co-author of 3 parenting books, mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love) Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses.







Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Things Teens Need to Know About Their Parents



Were you a  "pretty good" kid?

Were you honest with your parents?

Were you always honest, never lied?

Did your peer group's opinions, beliefs, and actions influence you?

These are questions I ask parents of teens during a workshop or coaching session. I find it helps that ol' parental frustration to put ones-self back into those smelly teen tennies.

Perspective, understanding, and empathy are what I hope to stir in moms and dads.

We made mistakes growing up.
We learned.
We grew.

We hope to save our kids from making the mistakes we made.

But those little stinkers just may make the same mistakes.
Some of us humans have to do life the hard way and experience things for ourselves.

And...like us, they will make mistakes.
And...like us, they will learn.
And like us, they will grow.

And it is OK.

During the times of trial, testing, and stretching our teens need to know these 5 things about mom and dad:

  • We made mistakes too. 
  • Our love for them  isn't dependent upon on their behavior.
  • We are here for them. We will love, encourage, coach, and advise.
  • We will not fix their problem, yet will will work with them toward a solution.
  • We will not rescue them from their struggle but we will stand with them in the mess. 

Love those big kids who still have little kid impulses and logic. Empower them to think. Don't enable the behavior by rescuing or fixing. We desire to raise responsible adults. We hope to have a family made up of individuals who participate in family life, pitch in, and are purposeful in the way they love God and other. 

There are lots of great things about the teen years. Teens are developing their sense of humor and can be very playful and funny. 

So...
Enjoy the laughter.
Stay calm in the storms. 

Our young people are just trying to sort it all out.

Try and recall the journey. Remember the mile we have walked in their shoes. (But we did it without the influence and impact of social media.) 

Next week we will look at the Teen Developmental stage. 

I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.

Proverbs 24:32

Relate post:



If this post was helpful and you want more information on raising big kids head over to Amazon and pick up your copy of   Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love  .





Lori Wildenberg
co-founder of 1Corinthians13Parenting.com, co-author of 3 parenting books, mom of four (plus one daughter-in-love) Contact Lori for your next event. She is also available for parent consulting and parent training courses.




Monday, January 16, 2017

Pulling Teens Toward You? Or Pushing Them Away?




Friends,


Meet best selling author Jay Payleitner.  It is an honor to have him guest blog for us today. If you are the parent of teen you will want to  read this. His guest blog kicks off my upcoming blog series of posts for parents of teens.
Enjoy!
Lori

Pulling Teens Toward You?  Or Pushing Them Away?
by Jay Payleitner
Every time your teenager walks into the room you have two choices. You can let them know you are glad to see them. Or you can wonder what nastiness they have been up to and pick a fight.
If your body language is welcoming, if your smile is sincere, and if there’s a plate of brownies on the kitchen counter, there’s a good chance the interaction and conversation will be a positive experience. Instead of grunts and shrugs, you may even get a few discernible words or actual information about what’s going on in their lives. You can increase the odds by telling them a wee bit about your own day and bringing up something in which they find amusement or have a passing interest. That could include a short anecdote or relevant fact about the dog, their favorite sports team, your weird neighbors, a breaking news story, an upcoming family event, Grandma and Grandpa, the latest tech gadget, and so on. Your interaction may even be a request for help. Asking your teenager for their preference of pizza toppings, for ideas on vacation destinations, or how to install an iPhone app is actually empowering for them. You value their opinions! Make your narrative or question short, sweet, and engaging, and leave an opening for them to respond.  They just might.
On the other hand, if your body language repels, if your grimace is accusing, and if you’re expecting bad news, then that’s what you’ll get. If it’s been several hours since interacting with your teenager, the first words out of your mouth should not be reminders of unfinished chores, accusations about dirty dishes or empty gas tanks, snide comparisons to perfect cousins, or queries about grades and homework.  Eventually, you need to be able to broach some of those topics.  But don’t get in the habit of launching surprise attacks and don’t make bad news the first or last thing they hear. 
Mom and Dad, if your teenager comes to expect a winsome and amicable home environment, they may enter a room and voluntarily plop down in your proximity. Experience tells them your companionship will be tolerable for a short period of time. With a bit of luck, it could be – dare I say – pleasant! 
But if judgment, chiding, and mistrust are more likely, they’ll schlep through or sneak past straight to their room. Can you blame them? They are well aware that if they stop they’ll somehow be in trouble for something, even if they’re just guilty of adolescence.
Finally – no matter what – when any interaction is over, you’ll want to make sure you are pulling your teenager toward you.  Not pushing them away.  Finish on a high note.  Don’t allow a dialogue to finish with a door slam or grumbling comment. Even if the two of you just endured a tough conversation, the last words ringing in their ears should be positive.  Even though you’ve been proving it for years, teenagers still need to be reassured of your unconditional love.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

Consider your last conversation with your kid. Did you pull them toward you or push them away? Is an apology in order?



Prior to becoming a full-time author and speaker, Jay served as freelance radio producer for Josh McDowell, Chuck Colson, The Salvation Army, Bible League, National Center for Fathering, and others. Jay has sold more than one half-million books including 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Lifeology, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List?  He has been a guest multiple times on The Harvest Show, Moody Radio, and Focus on the Family. Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, live in St. Charles, Illinois where they raised five awesome kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood. 
Click HERE for a link to Jay’s best-selling book, 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad