The Secret to Connecting with Teenagers

Shhhhh…don’t tell your children…

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…but we have their number!

I’ve talked a lot about “connecting” with our children, and I for one see it as EXTREMELY important. But sometimes, I think, we get lost in the process, and we can’t see the forest for the trees.

How can I truly develop better relationships with my children? What about teenagers? Yikes! (Now that’s a scary time!)

 

Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret, but you’ve got to promise not to tell the kids. (And Kathy, if you’re reading this, hold your ears!) I’ve found a wonderful tool to help foster good relationships with my children…but it’s not what you think.

Want to have a better relationship with your young person? Don’t ask them questions! Yes, you heard me right…DON’T ask questions!

Why? Because any teenager that has a brain is going to shy away from opening his mouth and getting into some sort of trouble, and we parents are masters of the “what-are-you-doing-and-why-are-you-doing-it” conversation (which is often quite one-sided!)

Here’s how one of those “conversations” goes:

Justin walks in the door from school, slinging his backpack into a nearby chair. “So, how was school?” Mom asks.

“Fine,” he mumbles, as he heads toward his room.

“Did anything interesting happen today?” she calls out to him.

He answers with the classic grunt, and the “conversation” is over. Mom wonders, How am I ever going to get him to open up? and he’s thinking, I wish she would just leave me alone!

How can we get over this hump? Don’t ask questions. Let’s replay the last scene, changing it around a little.

Justin walks in the door, slinging his backpack into a nearby chair. “Hey, Justin!” Mom tells him. “It’s great to see you! You’d never believe this new website I found today.” Justin stops to listen. “Once you get a minute, I’ll show it to you. It’s a framish-design website, and it’s got some incredibly cool features.”

At this point, Justin smiles and replies, “Oh, wow, Mom. Framishes? I was thinking about how to make a framish earlier today! Thanks, Mom. As soon as I get into better clothes, I’ll be right there.”
In about 10 minutes – or less, if Justin is really excited about framishes – mother and son are looking together at the framish-building website, having a good old time!

See how this works? As you talk about daily things that are exciting to you and to him, you will develop a connection over time, and eventually he will be comfortable around you, and you will develop a strong relationship.

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I had the same trouble with each one of my children once they began the teen years, and the only way I surmounted the trouble of them closing up was to work hard at drawing them close to me. I confessed my fears (not deep down fears, but more like fears of certain bugs, snakes or cooties,) shared my heart (“I’m just sad because I haven’t heard from your brother in awhile,”) and told them silly things (“Did you know that when I was your age I beat up my brother just for fun?”) They laughed at me, and began telling me their fears, shared their hearts, and told me silly things.

What a hoot!

Remember…it all starts with what NOT to do. DON’T ask questions!

Share your heart, and they will share theirs.

Linking up with The Alabaster Jar, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Titus Two Tuesdays, and Mercy Ink Blog.

Scared…and It’s a Good Thing!

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.”

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I know it sounds silly, and it’s definitely politically incorrect, but healthy fear is good for the soul. Often, it keeps us out of dangers that we would otherwise run headlong into.

My Beloved is one of the safest people I know. Why? The kids and I joke that “he has a story for everything,” meaning that he has read a “Drama in Real Life” about almost every topic imaginable. Why, it’s not at all unusual for us to be passing something so obscure as a high-voltage line, and he will say, “I read a story once about a kid who climbed up one of those, and…” Inevitably, the foolish person died, or got very close to it. It may be kind of funny, but his stories have put a healthy dose of fear into each of our children.

When it comes to the dangers and temptations out in life, our kids need a healthy sense of fear. Driver’s Educators understand this – remember Driver’s Ed and the awful movies they showed? Those mangled wrecks helped to keep us from becoming mangled wrecks ourselves!

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How can we help our children stay away from evil?

1. Tell stories of those that followed a bad path and ended up in the dunghill. This is easier than you think, it just requires a bit of thought into your own past. Remember the kid in high school who began dabbling in drugs? Look him up and find out what he’s up to now…if he’s still alive. If you can’t find him, use his name and “obituary.” You’d be surprised at what you may come up with.

2. Remind children of the Scriptures, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Apply that to situations that occur. Unfortunately, there are plenty of real-time opportunities.

3. Show video clips of the dangers of certain activities. I recently showed my kids “They Lied,” a drug awareness video, on YouTube, and it really hit home. It’s a bit rough, but when it comes to something as awful as drugs, we need to be a bit rough.

4. Be careful with books, TV shows and videos. In our modern day, many times the bad guy gets away with his badness, and the good people are mocked. Like it or not, this does have an effect on what we think, and it will effect our children, too.

About a year ago, my daughter took an online Driver’s Ed course, complete with videos of the dangers of texting and driving. She is now one of the safest drivers I know, and is vehemently against texting and driving!

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If people are going to do such stupid things as injecting themselves with some odd drug that’s going to make their heart race, their eyes dilate, and their mind go nutty, let’s not let the lesson be lost on our children.

Let’s give our children the gift of healthy fear, and keep them safe from many heartaches!

Do you have any ideas on how to protect our children? Maybe you know of some resources that can help the rest of us. Please share!

Linking up with: To Love, Honor and Vacuum, The Alabaster Jar, Titus Two Tuesdays and Mercy Ink Blog!

7 Ideas to Build Your Marriage

This week, I have a popular older post on marriage. Satan is seeking to destroy good homes, so it’s important that we continue to strengthen them.

“Every wise woman buildeth her house, but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

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This week, like a knife in the gut, I learned that a friend had gotten a divorce.

The strangest thing about it is that the husband is a fine Christian man, and they had a desire to serve the Lord.

How can two people who love the Lord get along so badly that they get a divorce??

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My husband and I have been talking at length lately, discussing the road so many people travel which leads to divorce. It appears as though a pattern ultimately lead to the demise of the family.

For now, however, let’s talk about:

{How a wise woman can build her house}

Imagine a man building a wall. Brick by brick, piece by piece, he lays down first the foundation, and then the first layer, and the second, and so on. He works with a smile, knowing this is for his family, whom he loves dearly. It may not be perfect, because he’s only young and has never done this before, but his heart is in it, and it is his own personal labor of love.

Soon his wife appears. He looks at her with a grin but stops when he notices her frown. Striding to the wall, she points at it and sneers, “What’s this? A mess?? What are you thinking?!? I can’t believe you would try to build a wall using those bricks!” She begins pulling at the blocks, berating him at the same time. He drops his head and slowly walks away, shoulders drooping.

That woman is fast on her way to tearing down her house, and living in low-income housing with no protection whatsoever.

How can this marriage be saved? What can be done to help this situation?

Here are some ideas my husband and I thought of for building a strong marriage:

1. Don’t tear down the wall your husband is trying to build. Simply have a little self-control and keep your mouth shut.

This is where a direct line to God is really wonderful! You may not be able to say anything to anybody, but does that mean you have to leave it festering inside? Of course not! Does that mean that nothing will ever be done about the situation?? Of course not! Why not take your frustrations too the Lord, who can turn the rivers! (see Proverbs 21:1)

2. Decorate the wall! Make the most out of a less-than-perfect situation! So your man wants to start up a new business, and you have to sacrifice to help come up with the needed money. You may even think he will fail! The wall seems crooked and out of fashion. That’s ok; make the most of it! Support your husband, be his cheerleader! Determine that you will be happy, no matter what, because happiness is not in happenings, it is in the Lord. Decorate that wall, crooked though it may be, and your good taste and cheer will be the driving force behind his success.

3. Admire the good that he does – out loud! (And don’t forget to feel his strong muscles every once in a while!) 😉 It sure does add some honey to the romance.

4. Praise for effort, not performance. Thank him for his hard work on a job or around the house.

5. Support him by making good meals and greeting him nicely dressed. No hair-rollers when hubby comes to the door!

6. Visit him while he’s involved in his projects; sometimes you can even co-labor with him. For example, you could bring him iced tea while he’s mowing the grass.

7. Ask the Lord to help you build up your marriage and not tear it down. Marriages do not fall apart in a night, and they do not get built in a night. Be willing to take some time to work on it and wait patiently for the rewards.

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The rewards may be long in coming, but they will come! After all, where will you be in ten years? Determine that you will be happily married (to the same man, of course!).

Let’s do what we can to build up our marriages.

Linking up with To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog and The Alabaster Jar.

Celebrating 29 Years Together!

I fully intended on writing a post titled “29 Things I’ve Learned in 29 Years of Marriage” but my heart is too full of gratefulness for My Beloved to wax eloquent about my own knowledge! 😉 Sometimes knowledge takes a back seat to emotion, and after 29 years, that’s still a good thing. Thank you, My Love, for 29 wonderful years. I’m so glad to be married to you!

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Thank you for praying with me every night.

Thank you for saving yourself for me.

Thank you for providing for me these many years.

Thank you for loving me when I was completely unlovable.

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Thank you for listening to my wild ideas and my stupid dreams.

Thank you for warming me up when I’m cold.

Thank you for saying I’m pretty even when I know better.

Thank you for being willing to provide for and train our children.

Thank you for protecting me from bad situations.

Thank you for panicking when I get hurt. 😉

Thank you for taking the responsibility for our family.

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Thank you for being a man who reads his Bible every single day, not just because you are a preacher, but because you love God.

Thank you for having that really odd, kinda warped sense of humor.

Thank you for growing old..er with me!

Happy Anniversary, My Love!

Linking up at The Alabaster Jar,Titus Two Tuesday, and Mercy Ink Blog