In this socially networked age there are no more mysteries. Few things, if any, are sacred. We seem to have lost our sense of consequence. I think it’s because everything has become relative. If you want to do something, you can quickly find someone in the social sphere that is doing it and ‘having fun’ with little or no perceived negative side effects. How do we, as parents, make progress in communication with our teen? How do we continue to develop or maintain a high level of trust with our teen to help guide them through the mine field of justification?
It’s possible that we’re hanging on to antiquated methods and advice. After a recent conversation with my friend, Paul, what he said rattled my proverbial cage. He spoke about how a recent NPR interview discussed the principle of disruptive conversations. Our conversations have to change. We need to be bold and direct in a way that cuts through the clutter of 24/7 media. To get you started I’ve listed 10 areas where I believe our conversations must change. The change needs to come by being direct and bold (with an attitude of love) with our teen.
Boundaries are for our protection. They’re not meant to steal opportunities, rather to ensure that our teens continue moving forward and not distracted by everything that’s happening around them.
Accountability allows us, as parents, the opportunity to teach our teens discipline. Following through with what is expected of them or following through with what they said they would do are priceless lessons they’ll thank you for.
Purpose brings hope. Knowing and always discussing the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ provides context and momentum. Life isn’t a series of BIG things. It’s often a string of small, seemingly insignificant things that equal something big. Keeping a clear picture of one’s purpose in front of them brings a solid reason why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Let’s face it. We don’t want to support our teens forever. We’re raising them for independence. Having a solid basic understanding money is another tool they’ll thank you for later. If you need an easy starter check out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. His website has a wealth of info to get you started. Click here to get started.
Relationships are the glue that holds us together. Cultivating a solid relationship with your teen will teach them how to have healthy relationships in their own life. I’m not talking about being friends. I’m talking about respecting each other, listening, asking questions, setting clear expectations.
In recent years, the dictionaries of the world are adding words all the time. This word (Morals) might be the first word to be omitted from the dictionary. We’ve become a neutered society in that we’ve accepted that all ways are permissible. But that’s just not true. Every action results in a reward or a consequence. I strongly encourage you to define what it is that you stand for and what your don’t stand for and get to it. One interesting project is to design a Coat of Arms with your children. Don’t adopt one that’s already created. Build one from the ground up. It’s a fun project and will help you define, clearly, what your family stands for. Get started here.
Academics are key! Bringing the idea of purpose back into the conversation adds some relevance to that math test or english homework that seems trivial.
Likely another word to be omitted from our language altogether. This word has lost most of its importance. Looking to the past and honoring our elders (grandparents, veterans, personal heroes and mentors) while being aware of who is around us and why, we can start to build a vision of our future. By respecting people in our life and most importantly ourselves we can have a reverence for the importance of our time while we are alive.
We will not be alive forever. We cannot live selfishly and not expect a major consequence. We’re alive to serve each other. To help one another. Without this critical truth engrained in our thoughts we will simply pass through life to not be remembered. Don’t let your life only end up as a warning to others.
What is your anchor? When the winds of life blow you around what keeps you grounded? Your faith brings hope for today and tomorrow. Your faith brings purpose, color to your world.