Doubling Down on Seventeen – MBFLP 206

We hear from a lot of parents who are struggling with their eleven-year-olds – the preteen uproar is real! But a close second is parents who are wrestling with an older teen – typically a seventeen-year-old. They don’t feel the respect or obedience, they are experiencing pushback and defiance, and they wonder how to make this kid toe the line again. This episode, we look at that question and how we’d answer it – first hint, there’s an underlying problem that you can do something about, without having to change your child or get their buy-in! (keep reading)


What’s the problem?

Society has moved the goalposts. In 1920, it was expected that a 15- or 16-year-old was grown-up enough to find a job or start a family. Now, according to Georgetown University, 65% of jobs in available in the year 2020 will require at least some college education to qualify – that’s two-thirds of all jobs, just two years from now.

That’s telling young people “You’re not old enough to be an adult until you’re in your mid-twenties.” No wonder psychologists Joseph and Claudia Allen say, in Escaping the Endless Adolescence, “Twenty-five is the new fifteen.”

At the same time, the onset of puberty comes four- to five years sooner than it did in 1920. Our teenagers are gaining adult bodies, adult temptations, adult desires, long before they have adult opportunities – whether or not they’re emotionally mature by that time. They are feeling like grown-ups earlier than ever before, even if they can’t live that way.

And studies tell us that frequently, the parent-child relationship is strained or broken in the preteen years – and a rocky time as teenagers often started with the tween years. By the time they’re 17 or 18, they may have long-standing habits of bad interaction – and often, we parents do, too.

So what can be done?

Recognize the transition to adulthood doesn’t happen on the eve of their 18th birthday. We need to be training our teenagers in mature thinking and behavior from their early preteen years. That means we need to …

Recognize their growing adulthood. – They are feeling more and more grown up, and in many ways, they are. We found it helpful to start thinking and speaking of them as young adults, and expecting them to act that way.

Transition parenting from “director” to “advisor.” – Your younger children need your active direction – they need you to be a benevolent dictator! But your teens and young adults need you as an advisor. They need to learn to ask their own questions and do their own research, then make decisions for themselves – not wait for orders nor wrench themselves free of your influence. You want to become a trusted counselor to them, not to order them around but to offer your wisdom and experience as guidance.

Learn to listen. – Often our kids feel like we never listen to them. We are so focused on the parent-child aspect we fail to appreciate them as people. One way to improve that is to always engage a bid for attention: Whenever they speak or whenever they want to show you something, make a point to look up and make eye contact, then engage whatever is on their mind.

Dr Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries says that we must teach truth, but it is only received in the context of a relationship – a relationship of love, trust, and respect.

Psalm 116:1-2 says,
I love the LORD, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live

We want that kind of relationship with our adult kids – we want them to love us and we want them to call us when we’re apart. And what does this passage say? “I love the LORD because He has heard and inclined His ear to me.”

If you want your kids to listen to you, then you need to listen to them.
If you want them to pay attention to you, you need to pay attention to them.
If you want them to love and respect you, then you need to love and respect them – in a way that they appreciate!

If you have a 16- or 17-year-old and you find yourself struggling, why not give this a try? Simply recalibrate your own thinking to see them as a young adult—who still needs coaching and guidance, sure! – but a young adult who is truly a complete person with his own needs and concerns and dreams and fears – not just “your kid” who needs correction.

Try reaching out to them as though they were a young adult not in your family.

Treat them with courtesy and not just command.

And see if they don’t respond!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Well Planned Gal

Rebecca from the Well Planned Gal understands the challenges of working within a budget, managing multiple children, and trying to keep up with a variety of information. That is why she created popular planner bundles!

Combine organizational tools with year long encouragement by bundling Well Planned Day planners with the popular Family Magazine. For a limited time, Save 30% with one of her popular planner bundles. Each bundle contains 2 planner products with a one-year subscription to Family Magazine.

Click Here to Go to Well Planned Gal


Speak Your Mind

*

July Planner Printable for Mom and Kid Fun!