We deal out plenty of things we want our teens to stop doing. For a small moment of role reversal, let’s talk about some things we can stop doing as well. Which one is going to be the hardest one to stop? Which ones are you already doing pretty well at? Please comment here so we can continue to help each other.
Here are 5 things to STOP:
1. Stop thinking negatively. If you are bracing yourself for the teen disasters, you
might be contributing to extra stress. Always fearing the “what if” and hovering over
them so they don’t mess up will not actually raise them more effectively.
2. Stop interrupting them. Sometimes we disagree with what a teen is saying and we
feel obligated to course correct early on. However, different personalities have
different ways of sharing info, and you might not have a full picture of what they are
trying to say so early. It shows a great amount of love and respect to listen fully. To
listen is to love, and to hold your thought or comment can be incredibly validating to
a teen. We all long to matter and have value!
3. Stop judging them. Oh, this one is so hard! You are years ahead of your teen and
that means you have some strong opinions. Add to that your unique personality and
the way your teen may be pushing limits and you could have a recipe for disaster.
Check your heart! Are you judging them too harshly? Looking at their actions too
critically through your unique lens? Sometimes we say incredibly judge-y things (and
you should refrain from that) but also just the judgment that is in our hearts comes
through in our facial expressions and in our body language. You don’t actually have
to “say” anything for a teen to feel judged. This can lead to shame, disconnect,
secrets, great barriers, and more.
4. Stop comparing them to other teens. Surely your kids’ friends are right there for
you to see, and your friends’ kids as well. It is tempting to compare—the
accomplishments, the character displayed, the risks taken or not taken, even the
spiritual and emotional maturity. But comparing doesn’t lead to good places! It is a
breeding ground for discontentment and the other people involved can feel it. Try
instead to focus on your thoughts, emotions, and expectations and how to process
them and potentially communicate in a loving manner. It’s a beautiful thing when you
can see a teen for their own journey.
5. Stop trying to do it alone—let others in and let God give your strength and direction. Lean into like-minded friends who are there (or have been) for processing the struggles and celebrations. Lean into God for the power to stop doing things that are preventing you from connecting well as parent and teen. The Holy Spirit (in you when you accept Jesus as your Savior) will comfort you, nudge you, convict you, and help you with the fruit of the Spirit, including peace, joy, kindness, and self-control. Don’t hesitate to cry out to God and friends for help so that you can love well.
Which one will you STOP doing first? How will you move forward? What resources (people or things) do you have that can help you? Relationships matter, and being intentional is powerful.