Last week I introduced
the four needs of teens:
I tackled the first two in my post last Monday
Teen Health: Social Needs, Independence & Power
and today I am going to write about the next two
These are desires that all teens have.
They will find ways to meet them
positive or negative.
Defined: Something that gives satisfaction
As parents we need to remember that what our youth enjoyed as a child may not be what they enjoy as a teen. It can change a great deal. The child who was the athlete may want to spend more time drawing or playing video games. Or the child who loved playing outside now is the teenager who wants to shop for makeup and go to the mall.
Sometimes as a parent it is hard to realize this and give our teens the room to explore what brings them enjoyment.
This is not necessarily a negative thing.
It is part of their search and need for independence and trying to identify who they are as a person apart from their family.
The process of exploration can make a parent squirm as they realize that the child
they thought they knew
begins to reject the activities that previously brought them enjoyment.
As a parent it is difficult to grasp this change.
The growing up process can be just as difficult for the parent as it is for the teen.
Your teen is part of your family but they will have their own independent likes and dislikes.
Parents as you embrace the changes your teen will grow in confidence.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
*Give them space to enjoy the activities and things that they like.
Let them try new things without hovering and offering advice. Just “let it BE” They will figure it out. You as the parent may be thinking
“Oh this is so not them… they will fail”.
They may and guess what?
“IT’S OKAY”…Is it really failure? or just figuring out it isn’t their “thing”.
*Give them opportunities to try new things.
This could be offering to take them to the skate park. Getting them horseback riding lessons for their birthday. There are lots of ways that you as a parent can support their new interests.
*Give them the support they need to be successful.
Use supportive language when talking about the activities they like. Encourage them.
Stay away from criticism……
Criticism is a confidence & relationship killer.
It may be totally LAME to you as a parent but they are completely excited about it. They need to know that you are their biggest ‘fan’. This new activity just may become the best thing to help build their confidence.
OMgoodness, this is such a hard one…..
Growing up as a Christian here are some common things I have heard:
“All we need is Jesus”
“If we just understood who we were in Christ then we wouldn’t care what other people think”
“The only thing that matters
is what God thinks of you”
Can I just say that these are misconceptions!
YES……. we do need Jesus.
YES……..we do need to
understand who we are in Christ.
God as our maker understands that and yet
He understands our needs as a
human more than we do….
He knew we needed human connection..
The Lord God said “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable helper for him.”
God had relationship with man and yet…..
He knew for man that was not enough.
God understood the deep need for
To belong to someone, something.
Belonging defined: to be accepted or liked,
part of a group
As a youth moves into their teen years
they will reach out for belonging.
They will begin to move outside of the familiar family circle to seek acceptance and approval. Parents….wake up call….
your approval is not enough.
It is the harsh reality.
As a parent you have told them they are smart, beautiful/good looking, talented for years.
Now they are looking for a ‘second opinion’.
They want to know if
other people see that they are smart,
beautiful/good looking, talented.
Don’t be afraid of the ‘second opinion‘.
You are their parent and always will be…
you will not lose their love.
That ‘second opinion’ is very important
at this time in their life…
almost more important than yours.
Give them the freedom to be around people who will affirm them.
Who will be supportive.
This is part of their normal development.
As they seek independence they want to know that other people think they are smart, talented, beautiful/good looking. Your teen gets that as a parent you accept them
now they are on a quest to find out if they are acceptable and loved by others.
And OH…… THIS IS a bumpy road……
Parent, how can you help?
*Allow your teen to develop positive, healthy relationships with other adults
This could be a coach, a youth group leader, a teacher, a tutor or a mentor. Your teen needs outside input. Finding positive adults that your teen can be with is only going to help you as a parent. They can be the ‘outside voice’ that helps build their confidence and helps to bridge gaps in your relationship with them. Parenting is hard work and you do not have to be the lone voice of sanity in your teen’s life.
*Allow your teen to be involved in group activities.
This can be an athletic team, a lego robotics team, a BMX team, barrel racing team, community service leadership team, missions team or it could be a youth group. Your teen desperately wants to be part of something that is bigger than themselves alone. There is immense satisfaction when a teen can be part of and contribute to a larger group.
The teen years are some of the
most challenging as a parent.
Be a parent who dwells in the teen years with grace and flexibility.
Learn to fully love the young person that God has given to you as you guide them toward adulthood and independence.
If you have any questions or need encouragement feel free to email me @firstname.lastname@example.org