If you are a parent you know that it is very difficult sometimes to find common ground with your kids when they become teenagers. Your interests and their’s can often be the difference between night and day. Sometimes it is very difficult to find common ground. Here is a little advice with some practical tips that might help you find a place where you can have a meaningful connection with your teen.
Make it a priority to out-serve them. Look at your time with your teen as an opportunity to add more value to them than they add to you. Take time to listen. Let them talk and don’t always follow with an answer. Above all be kind. There is a time for discipline and there is a time to show them that you can listen, understand (and though you might not agree) you can show empathy and compassion. Above all give them quality time and attention.
A few practical ways to engage….
- Take them to a movie that has a life-changing message to offer. We have engaged churches and ministry organizations with films like A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood and Overcomer. There is an awesome film releasing in March 2020 called I Still Believe. You can follow up on the film with a few simple questions to understand how they feel about things and the impact these messages have on their life.
- Give them a book they are interested in reading. Buy two of them and read it yourself. Show them you can be interested in the things they are interested in.
- Try saying “yes” when they expect you to say “no.” Trust them with something new and challenging. They might metaphorically “skin their knee” but allow them to grow a little taller each day on the inside by expanding their boundaries within reason.
- Cheer them on. Never miss this opportunity to tell them that you love them and you are proud of them. They might not respond to these gestures verbally, however, they will remember them the rest of their life.
- Teach them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind…and teach them to love their neighbor as themselves. These are the two greatest commands that Jesus gave. Talk about them and and love them out. Your actions will always mean more than your words.
Engaging your teen is an investment that will produce fruit over time. You will see the difference it can make in your life. Just remember not to do it for something in return. Do it because it honors God. If you love, value and invest in your teen no matter what happens it will be life-changing – at least for you! You will never regret it and most likely they will never regret it as well!
Jason Ellerbrook – President and Owner – Engage Media Partners