Friday, December 13, 2013

Greatest Gift to Your Teen

by Mark Gregston Heartlight Ministries
As parents, we often put a lot of blame on ourselves for what we cannot offer our kids. When Christmas or birthdays roll around, we feel guilty when we can't afford the latest and greatest iPads, video games, designer shoes, or state-of-the-art cell phones. Perhaps we feel embarrassed that, when it comes to housework, we're barely keeping our head above water, and it's all we can do to start the laundry, run the dishwasher, and feed the dog. And if that's not bad enough, we have the tendency to compare ourselves to what other moms and dads can offer their teens. Instead of being able to take a family vacation to Disney World, perhaps all you can do is pack the car up for a weekend with Grandpa and Grandma in Peoria, Illinois (I love people in Peoria; this is just an example). While other teens you know are taking private ski lessons, learning Italian in Europe, or going out to a movie every weekend, you feel like you're letting your teen down because you're not able to offer the same type of experiences. So we start to believe that we don't pass muster as parents.

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Finding Hidden Messages in Your Teen's Inappropriate Behavior

by Mark Gregston Heartlight Ministries
Don't judge; but I'm a fan of the National Treasure movies. Remember those films? They starred Nicholas Cage as Benjamin Gates, a historian and modern fortune hunter who believed that America's national monuments and historical artifacts contained a secret treasure map from the founding fathers. While other researchers and academics laughed at his conspiracy theories, Benjamin Gates eventually proved that underneath the common symbols and landmarks we see in America was a trail of messages pointing to new discoveries.
What does the National Treasure have to do with parenting teens? Just this: Our child's inappropriate behaviors, whether it's blatant disrespect, substance abuse, continuous lying, sexual activity, stealing, out-of-control anger, or spiraling depression, are visible landmarks that stick out in our teen's life. But if we take the time to look underneath these monuments, we will find the true message our teens are trying to convey, but cannot find the words to do so.

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Dousing The Flame Dealing With Teenage Anger

By Mark Gregston Heartlight Ministries
For Lucas, it started in high school. "I guess I have a face and personality that invites bullies," he told me. Kids in class would ridicule Lucas' clothes, mock his behavior, laugh at where he came from, and deride him constantly. But in teen culture, you can't show weakness. Teens know that if you let on to bullies that they're affecting you, you're giving them an open invitation to continue the abuse. So Lucas put on his impervious face each day, and endured the barrage of mistreatment at school. But that kind of ill-treatment wears you down. "When I would finally come home," explained this young man, "the littlest thing would set me off. I mean, my mom would ask me to take out the trash and I could feel the anger building. At first I wouldn't talk, but that made my mom mad, so eventually all this anger would just, kinda, explode. I would yell, throw things, break things. My mom didn't know what to do."

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