We give them discipline,training,tell them they can do it'” the captain says. “And they do.” That is the power of believing in a child.
The Bible says that your child has been fearfully and wonderfully made. Someone who was designed and chosen by God for something special.
God can turn every negative situation into a productive one.
A child’s greatest chance at life comes when he believes that God is unfolding a plan for his life, when he believes in his ability to adopt that plan, and people-especially parents- gather around to support his pursuit of God’s best.
Destined to turn around…
Conversion simply means turning around.
We all know how difficult the tween and teen years can be on these children who are trying so hard to become adults. Their bodies change drastically, their friendships become more complicated, their schoolwork more intense, and they begin to get minds of their own, if you know what I mean.
No one enjoys moody tweens or teens who intentionally distances themselves from others, who antagonize siblings, or who resent authority, yet if we aren’t careful, that’s exactly the type of tween or teen we may end up with!
How do we avoid this mistake?
How do we encourage independence without encouraging isolation?
Our family intentionally employs several strategies for keeping tweens and teens in the family, and I’d love to share them with you as they have worked well for us so far.
8 Ways to Keep Tweens and Teens in the Family
1. Keep up the bedtime hugs and I-love-yous through those awkward tween years.
As parents, we have to intentionally set aside any awkwardness in order to embrace our tweens and teens.
If we begin to act shy or awkward about hugging for real, then our tweens and teens will sense that and hold back, too. But they still need those hugs.
We set the tone.
2. Guard the hearts of your tweens and teens by setting family rules for electronics, internet access, and phones.
. First, limit the amount of time they are allowed to spend on personal devices such as ipods, Nintendo DSs, computers or tablets, and so forth.
The more time they spend engaged in their personal devices is less time they spend engaged with others.
Second, have a rule that such devices be used only by permission and only in the family common areas rather than in their own rooms. This holds them accountable for what they are viewing and keeps them near the family even if they aren’t actively engaged. In fact, often our younger children will gather around an older brother’s tablet or DS to join in on the fun!
At bedtime, all devices remain downstairs.
Third, Yes, parents, you are allowed to say “no” to data!
How can we keep tweens and teens engaged in the family dynamic so that they stay rooted and connected?
3. Require participation in family time.
4. Recognize tweens’ and teens’ growing independence.
Recognize also that your maturing tweens and teens are coming into their own, but they haven’t had much practice yet. They need to be heard and respected, even if they sometimes fail to act or speak in a respectful manner.
Address disrespect, by all means, but try to do so gently. Sometimes a punishment does more harm than good.
Sometimes what they really need is someone to model a better way to express themselves.
5. Listen to your tweens and teens!
They yearn to be heard and appreciated for who they are. They also fear not being good enough.
lay down your task, make eye contact, show him he matters to you.
6. Emphasize the importance of sibling roles.
Letting my boys know that they are an important and necessary part of our family encourages them to be leaders. When they know that we see their efforts to do right, to help lead our family, then they are more likely to be good examples to their younger brother and sister.
7. Tweens and Teens still need one-on-one time.
We must be intentional about spending that time with them one-on-one, friends. That’s when the good conversations happen, the deep questions, the excellent opportunities to guide them!
8. Pray, pray, and pray some more.
The best thing we can do for our children is to pray that they will remain on the right path. We can also pray for wisdom in parenting them, especially since no two children are alike! I specifically pray for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in the are of parenting so that when I’m distracted or irritable or impatient, I recognize it right away.
Even if it seems your prayers aren’t working, don’t give up! You never know when tweens or teens will turn the corner.
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov. 22:6
The tween years may seem to last forever, but once you get past them into the teen years, you realize you’ll be saying goodbye much, much sooner than you want to. Let’s keep our tweens and teens deeply rooted in the family so that when they face a real challenge, or when they stumble and fall, they know they have a safe and loving place to come to!
Fight back against their tendency to isolate themselves.
Don’t let them believe that they are going through this difficult phase of life alone.
And don’t forget to pray!