Because of the amount of change and questioning our teenagers face, they are typically more vulnerable to stress than any other age group. Things that you wouldn’t think twice about may be completely devastating to a teenager. The stuff you easily write off or dismiss can be monumentally difficult for teens to handle. If you’ve been around your teenager when there is a wardrobe crisis, mediocre test grades, or facial blemishes, you may wonder will they ever be able to handle “real” problems.
Think back to your own teen years. For some of us that’s a LONG time ago. Can you remember trying to explain to your parents why the “right shoes” or the brand of your jeans really were a big deal? Parents, we can’t forget that the adolescent years are a time of incredible change, pressure, crisis, and even impulsive overreaction. Teenagers tend to center on the crisis of the moment, not matter how large or small that crisis may seem to us.
Our goal should not be to write off the crisis as silly or insignificant. While the words “Get over it” are forming in your mind, STOP! It’s much better to compassionately walk through the crisis with them and allow them to express themselves. You have the advantage of maturity, wisdom, and distance from the problem. Be their coach and mentor instead of their critic. The more times you shut them down, the less they will bother to share with you. And that is exactly what you don’t want. As small as the problem may seem, being there to help is a much better reaction on your part. Think about the reaction that will build the relationship, not shut it down.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)
P.S. The blog titles and main ideas come from Walt Mueller’s book “99 Thoughts for Parents of Teenagers”. I personalize and modify the message, and also add Scripture.