How to raise a teenager – 21st century style
We have recently had our oldest child turn 13. He’s officially a teenager – and we certainly know it!
In fact this hilarious video below sums up perfectly a pre and post teenager. ‘Kevin the Teenager’ was produced by the BBC in the UK and shows Kevin as a 12 year-old, followed by the transformation once he is 13.
A dad at school put me onto it, and every time their teenage son starts losing the plot they call him ‘Kevin’. They say it immediately pulls him in to line. I have shown my son the video and he laughed. I think he sort of got it…
Now I am no expert on parenting. I may have four children, but that’s where my expertise starts and finishes. However I can probably offer a bit of practical advice.
As parents, now is not the time to back off. To be perfectly honest, this is the time when we want to back off. Our responsible, reliable, thoughtful children seemigly overnight start to drop their shoulders and become lazy. In the case of my son his favorite words from his vocabulary are ‘ozzle’ and ‘seebs’.
I’m still not too sure what they mean, but if you say something like, “Your room is a mess. Come and clean it up;” his response is generally either “ozzle” or “seebs”. So I think it means that he doesn’t really care….
I know a dad going through a similar stage of parenting some years ago who, in not understanding his teenage son, started to pull away. He stopped kissing him and hugging him, giving him the space he thought his son needed. He ended up having issues with his son taking drugs and mixing with the wrong crowd. He now realizes that pulling back was not the answer.
My firm advice to parents is to stay in your teen’s life. Don’t back away. Be involved, even though those days of our children looking up to us seem like they have gone. They need us now, more than ever, and as much as we want to just give them space and let them live their own lives, we need to stay involved.
For me, I mentally handle this stage by knowing I have a short amount of time left where a) I am the primary influence in my child’s life, and b) realizing it may only be years away before they move away for study or work. They are ours for such a short time, so enjoy every moment of it.
The Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6) So hang in there. There is years of enjoyment we will have with these kids as adults if we can put the time in now. We will reap the results in the decades to come.
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