...facing today's tough issues.What follows is excerpts from a booklet produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries. The purpose of the booklet is to give parents practical advice on how and when to address difficult topics with their children. The questions listed on pages 14 - 15 challenge parents to think about their beliefs, expectations and attitudes.
"Effective parenting takes work, energy and practice!"
One of the most challenging responsibilities and joys we have is the rearing of our children. People may think that parenting is an instinctively natural function of adult human beings. The truth is effective parenting requires study and practice. It involves work and energy. It is the most important 'job' we'll ever do. Parenting provides tremendous opportunity for personal growth and joy.
Gathering and sharing information often helps us decrease our anxiety about dealing with difficult situations. The better we know ourselves and our beliefs, the better equipped we will be to help our children understand their behaviors and establish their own beliefs.
Since your beliefs, expectations and attitudes determine how you deal with issues, you will find it helpful to examine what you believe children face, as they move into the preteen and teenage years. Consider the following question...
What expectations do you have for your child during these years?
How do you view the world of preteens and teens today?
What are four to five issues you think your child will face as a teen?
How do you feel your teen will react to peer pressure?
Where do you get most of your information about children and teens?
What kind of relationship did you have with your parents as a teenager?
How would you describe the relationship you have with your child?
***Were most of your answer to the questions above positive or negative with regard to the preteen and teen years?
**Were your responses and expectations realistic?
If you believe that the teenage years will be filled with frustration and fighting, they probably will be. When parents expect the worst from their adolescent, they often get it. Some beliefs enhance the relationship; others limit it. We tend to look for behaviors that prove our beliefs were right. Our beliefs drive the system and determine our perspectives. Understanding ourselves is very important, before we begin the journey of teaching our children.
My days of raising children is somewhat over, they are all in their thirties and have children of their own. Looking back, having a resource like this booklet could have been helpful for us. We made many decisions based on our childhood experiences, beliefs and attitudes without fully understand the peer pressure that our children faced. We didn't always understand our children or take the time to understand them. We struggled to communicate with them and failed to see the world through their eyes.
They survived, as did we. Our hope is that they, and you, can avoid some of the conflicts that we experienced as you raise your children.
Next time I will highlight some helpful tips in talking with your children... until then to download your copy of the booklet go to Project Connect Booklets - Talking Openly with Kids. This booklet is distributed by Lutheran Hour Ministries, 660 Mason Ridge Center Dr., St. Louis, Missouri 63141-8557 www.lhm.org
Parents, talk early - talk often! Your children want to know that you care!