Effective Discipline for Teens – MBFLP 261

 

A reader writes, “I need suggestions how to discipline my 14-year-old son.” She’s finding out what we all discover – if you try to discipline your 14-year-old like he was still six, you’re likely to have a fight on your hands! So what do you do with this young person who’s growing so tall, but still needs a lot of guidance and discipleship?

It’s more than behavior management

With younger kids, a great deal of our training is behavior – “Don’t tease the cat,” “Don’t touch the stove,” “Stop hitting your brother!” Tedd Tripp points out that Ephesians 6:1 is fundamental for the younger set: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

And external behavior is important – that’s what hurts others and damages things! But as they move into the early teen years, our children need more coaching and discipleship to reach their deepest need – the condition of their heart. They need to be confronted with Right and Wrong in a larger sense than, “Honor your father and your mother.” When they realize their failing and sin, they are more likely to grasp their need for a Savior!

And when we recognize that their behavior is more than “You’re on my nerves!” but something rooted on their human fallenness … maybe we can be a little more compassionate and not as quick to react.

As they change, we should too

A lot of parent-teen relationships are strained or broken because parents don’t adapt to their young person’s changes. When they reach adolescence, they’re not kids any more! We need to understand they aren’t the little ones we’ve raised so far, but young adults-in-training. We can’t just continue the old discipline models and expect the same response. Appropriate correction for a four-year-old is humiliating, at best, to a 14-year-old.

More and more, we need to move our discipline to adult responses. What does that look like?

Well, consider what happens when we make a mistake or cause an offense as an adult. Are we sent to stand with our nose in the corner until we say we’re sorry? Does our boss or pastor or neighbor give us a sharp swat on the hand? Of course not. Instead, we are likely to experience “natural consequences.”

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Mikado includes the chorus, “Let the punishment fit the crime!” Humor aside, that’s actually quite Biblical. Over and over again in Scripture, you see principles of repentance followed by restitution. We use this as a guide with our teens – if you break it, you fix it – whether it’s a broken toy or a damaged relationship. It’s a hard lesson, but we impress on them that being an adult sometimes means we accept responsibility for things that aren’t strictly our fault. Maybe something happened by accident, or someone took offense by misunderstanding – we still need to step up and try to make things right.

Occasionally the problem isn’t actual sin but rather just high spirits or too much energy. Maybe they really are on your nerves, and that’s most of the problem!

How did Coach handle it?

Sometimes the best correction is just to work it off. How did your high school coach handle it if you were goofing off during practice? What did your drill instructor do at boot camp if you weren’t putting your back into the job?

A bit of strenuous exertion can be a lifesaver here! “Drop and give me ten!” – a call for some push-ups is a good manly punishment for a minor but irritating infraction. You can have them run up and down the stairs, or laps around the back yard. Ask Dad for advice, since he’s probably received similar correction in his time! It’s not offensive or demeaning, but it can use up some energy and help your son focus again.

It’s not supposed to be easy or fun. Hebrews 12:11 says,

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

(continue …)

The most important part

But the most critical thing to remember is the foundation you’re laying for the long term. What sort of relationship are you building with your teenager?

Our relationship with God is more than just crime-and-punishment – that’s part of it and unavoidable, but it’s not the full relationship. If that’s all we know of our heavenly Father, there’s a lot that’s missing!

Likewise with our kids. Of course we’ll have times of conflict or confrontation, but the question will remain – what sort of relationship do we have now, and what sort are we building for tomorrow? … Tune in for practical applications! 

 

Adoption When It’s Not Easy – MBFLP 225

Adoption is a picture of God’s love for His people. It literally saves lives and it rescues children from terrible situations. It’s not as simple as choosing a pet from the store, though, and adopted children often have problems that continue into adult life. This episode, we talk with Shauna Lopez, an adoptive parent who’s dealt with traumatized children in her own home. Learn what to prepare for if you’re considering adoption, and how to come alongside and love families who are in the process themselves.

Adoption When It's Not Easy

Recently at the Teach Them Diligently conference in Waco, Texas, we had the opportunity to interview our friend Shauna Lopez. We met Shauna, her husband Abel, and their family in our travels several years ago, and we’ve stayed in their home. A few years before we met them, they had a difficult experience adopting three young boys, and Shauna agreed to share some of what they’ve learned.

(You can read their whole story on their website, adoptionishard.com)

One of the concerns we have is that Shauna and Abel’s experience is not uncommon, but it’s not widely recognized. Children who have been through trauma react differently to parenting.

“People think that’s an exception to the rule, and it isn’t. People don’t realize that trauma in any form alters the brain, but especially in children who have been taken from their parents,” Shauna said. “It alters the brain chemistry and it alters their development.”

Trauma has a tremendous impact

Others observe that any adoption, even within a family, starts with some sort of catastrophe. Children don’t end up adopted unless there’s been some loss, some trauma, or some trouble in that young life.

“And that’s really the thing,” she continued, “because when a child undergoes trauma, it undermines new trust. … When we adopted three-month-old twins, we thought they’ll only ever know us as their parents. But that wasn’t true, because they had a family for three months [after they were born] plus nine months [in the womb]. So for a full year they had a whole other family, whole other sounds, whole other voices, whole other stressors and non-stressors in feelings. And then to go from hospital with mom, three days later taken from that environment, those smells, those voices, those environmental contributors, to a foster mom for three months — different sounds, different smells, different voices–and then placed in our home–different sounds, different smells, different voices. And we think ‘What’s the big deal?’”

“Their brains are rapidly developing during those times. And with trauma after trauma after trauma–and all of those things are traumas to a young child–it changes the chemistry of their brain and the way that they respond. How on earth could they expect to feel safe when everything keeps changing over and over?”

Understanding children with trauma and the families who adopt them

 

Discipline will be different with adoptive kids

“So you can’t take the typical parenting advice about discipline for a young child and apply it to a child who’s been traumatized. … When we deal with children who have been safe from the beginning, those kids know they’re okay. They know they’re safe, they know everything’s going to be all right. They have that trust. But when you deal with a child who has been traumatized, where that trust has been taken away–if it was ever even there–…sometimes, they don’t have that trust that no one’s going to hurt them. Instead they freak out. They ‘fight or flight.’ They literally go into self-preservation mode even as young children.”

“We’re not saying don’t adopt. Adoption is amazing. God adopts us. It’s God-ordained. It honors God. It represents Christ and the church. It’s wonderful. What we’re saying is be prepared. Not just what the state requires of you, but beyond that. We have to go beyond that.”

To find out more about loving children with trauma – and ministering to the families who adopt them – listen in to the rest of the program!


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Discipline Without Breaking Their Spirit – MBFLP 202

Kids need discipline, and in fact, God tells us that a child who doesn’t receive discipline has been rejected by his parents! (Hebrews 12) Discipline, after all, is discipleship – it’s meant to teach, not just punishBut there are good and very bad ideas for administering the needed correction to our kids. How can you discipline your child without breaking their spirit? That’s what we’re talking about this episode.



Dealing with Disrespect – MBFLP 201

“My son shows me disrespect.” “How can I deal with the disrespect from our kids?” “What can I do to teach my children to be more respectful?” It’s something we all have to deal with as parents, and yet it’s hard – and some of us struggle more than we expected! This episode, we look at the very real question of respect – teaching our kids to show it, dealing with them when they don’t, where this may be coming from, and what God expects from all of us!

Mom and Dad Parent Differently – That’s Okay! – MBFLP 200

What can you do when Mom and Dad have different perspectives on parenting? We get this question a lot, and it’s a concern – but in many cases, it may be a feature, not a bug! “There is unity of spirit, but diversity of gifts – just like in the church,” we think – listen in and see why!

References

Abigail Shrier, “‘Knock it Off’ and ‘Shake it Off’: The Case for Dad-Style Parenting”
Wall Street Journal, 3/12/18 – online (subscription)

The commentary on Albert Mohler’s podcast, “The Briefing,” may be helpful – 3/16/18, segment 3

 



When Your Kids Make You Angry – MBFLP 189

We all have to deal with it – there are days when the kids drive us crazy, or even, just one kid pushes us a little too far. What do you do when the anger rises? How do you deal with mad feelings? Is it okay to express our frustration … or should we bury it instead? This episode, we’re talking about anger and what we do with this powerful emotion …

 

Teaching Modesty to our Daughters

Teaching Modesty to Our DaughtersIt is very difficult to train our daughters in modesty in the midst of a society that does not praise modest dress or respect a modest heart. Join Lindsey and Richele as they speak from personal experience, having 8 daughters between the two of them, how they are training their girls to understand that modesty is about the heart, not the hemline.

It’s the Heart, Not the Hemline Unit Study: https://www.talkingmom2mom.com/product/its-the-heart-not-the-hemline

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Create a Peaceful Environment Through Habit Training

Join Richele and Lindsey for some much needed encouragement for mom and practical tips on how to instill good habits in your children no matter the age.

Do you struggle to instill habits within your children on a day to day basis? Discipline is often something that every mom desires to inject into her own schedule, but often feels ill equipped to train her child due to a personal feeling of failure in this area. Join Richele and Lindsey for some much needed encouragement for mom and practical tips on how to instill good habits in your children no matter the age.

A few internet links promised!

Reference List of Habits: https://www.homeschool-life.com/fl/rcha/Misc/Reference%20List%20of%20Habits.pdf

Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook: https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/laying-down-rails-charlotte-mason-habits/

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Changing Your Parenting Style – MBFLP 125

MBFLP - Changing Your Parenting Style - V

 

Every older sibling, sooner later, will say, “You never would have let me do that!” And they’re likely right. The question is not, does your parenting change, but rather, why, and sometimes, why not already?  This episode we look at four very good reasons that your style might change — and some reasons it ought to!

 

MBFLP – Loving Your Children Like Jesus Does

MBFLP Loving Your ChildrenWe all know the passage about Jesus and the children – “Let them come to Me, and do not forbid them …” – but what more can we learn about loving our children like Jesus does? What can He teach us about discipline? Or about mercy? Or about loving someone who really isn’t loveable at all, right then? Join us for some serious consideration about parenting in the steps of Christ!