Traversing Your Kid’s Teenage Phase

Even though I’m not a parent, I’m an uncle. And as an involved uncle, who has helped raise two nephews and a niece, I get a firsthand glimpse at the struggles of parenting a teenager.

My oldest nephew is 15 – going on 16 – and he’s in full-on “teen-mode.” He never puts down his phone/iPad, he’s constantly playing Fortnite or watching YouTube videos, his headphones are always in his ears, he’s always texting, he’s always in his room when the entire family is in the living room, and so on.

Essentially, he’s concerned with himself above all else.

We’ve all been there, diving into those teenage years where we start to become engulfed with our personal interests, our lifestyle, and the opposite sex.

But for parents, this teenage phase is often the most difficult phase of parenting. It’s hard getting through to a kid who all of a sudden is too cool for his own parents.

So, how do we deal with the teenage phase when it comes on strong? Below are seven tips on how parents can navigate “teen-mode” when it comes to their young adult:

 

  1. Communication is key
    Sit down and talk. Your teenager might not always want to communicate, but have a serious conversation regarding your expectations for them while living under your roof. And at the same time, even though you are the parent, make sure you are also willing to listen. For example, if your teenager says, “I feel like you don’t trust me,” ask them why and then commit to doing better. As a parent, you have to be willing to adjust. Rigidity rarely gets us anywhere! Also, have the tough conversations. Talk about the temptations that exist in the world. Talk about how to use common sense and avoid potentially dangerous situations.
  2. Incentivize their lifestyle
    When I was in high school, my parents always said to me, “You have one job: do well in school.” If I did well in school, my life was a lot easier. I also had household chores and was an athlete. If I woke up Saturday, handled my chores and did my workout, once again, my life was a lot easier. Make it clear to your teenager that if they handle their business in the classroom and at home, it will earn them more freedom.
  3. Stay in touch with their circle
    Teenagers are prone to be secretive with their lifestyle, including their friend group. As a parent, there are ways to combat this. For example, invite your teenager’s friends to do something fun. Take them bowling, invite them over for dinner, take them to the movies, and so on. Do what you have to in order to keep tabs on your child’s friend group. It’s important to know who your teenager is spending time with.
  4. Keep up with the technology times
    If you don’t have an account on every social media application that your teenager has, get one today. Follow your son/daughter on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. And even if you don’t want to follow them, make sure you know how the applications work, so that you know what your teenager and their friends are capable of within the app.
  5. Maintain your access
    Even if you do not check their phones, have access to them. Know their passcodes, even if you don’t use it. There needs to at least be the illusion that you are watching what they are doing. Also, have some type of protocol on their phones. For instance, make them hand over the phone at a certain time in the evening and return it to them in the morning. They do not need to have the phone all night.
  6. When it’s time, be a friend
    Parents are not supposed to be friends with their kids. Parents are guardians, role models, disciplinarians, teachers, and much more. Still, there is a time and a place to be your child’s friend and confidant, especially when they become a teenager and start to lose that childhood innocence and naivete. If your teenager needs someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on, it’s important that they can look to you and not feel like you will judge them or be too hard on them.
  7. Go to church with your teenager
    Make sure your teen sees that you are invested in your faith and are a strong, God-fearing adult. Lead by example when it comes to faith!

 

Parenting is hard, and there is no professional manual on how to be a great parent. But what is clear is that being involved with your teenager, as they attempt to navigate high school and their formative years, is the most important step.

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10 Inspiring Quotes on American Independence, Liberty and Freedom

In honor of Independence Day, West Angeles Church of God In Christ reflects upon the American ideals which have guided us thus far toward becoming the greatest nation on earth:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

– From The Declaration of Independence

 

“We are persuaded that good Christians will always be good citizens, and that where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government it’s surest support.”

 George Washington

 

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts: not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us, a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

– From the American National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key

 

“Lift ev’ry voice and sing,

‘til earth and heaven rings;

Rings with the harmonies of liberty.”

– From “The Negro National Anthem,” James Weldon Johnson and  J. Rosamond Johnson

 

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts: not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution”.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right”.

– Abraham Lincoln

 

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day”.

-From  “I Have A Dream,” the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

My country ‘tis of thee

Sweet land of liberty; of thee I sing.

Land where our fathers died; land of the Pilgrim’s pride;

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

-From “America,” Samuel Francis Smith

 

“America, America, God sheds His grace on thee.

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.”

-From “America The Beautiful,” by Katharine Lee Bates

 

“Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal…In chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t feel ashamed about; memories more accessible than those of ancient Egypt, memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild”.

-From “Dreams From My Father,” by former President Barack Obama

 

Have a Blessed Independence Day, From West Angeles Church of God In Christ!