Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers.

Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers. Build relationships over enforcing rules to help your teens fulfill who God made them to be. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #ConnieAlbers #RelationshipsBeforeRules #ParentingTeens

Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

We are so excited this week to be joined by a special friend, Connie Albers. Connie is a homeschool mom and leader, guest on Focus on the Family and author of a parenting book that we love: Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy.

As you may have noticed, we 7Sisters do not talk often about parenting philosophies. There are several reasons for this:

  • There’s not one kind of child or teen
  • There’s not one kind of parent
  • There’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of parenting philosophy, in our opinion

The lovely thing about Connie’s book, Parenting Beyond the Rules, is that she is not offering a philosophy, simply a discussion about the necessity of emphasizing relationships when raising teens. When we read her book, we felt like she was reading our thoughts. We 7Sisters have always said what our friend and fellow podcaster, Melanie Wilson at Homeschool Sanity, always says: relationship over rules!

Connie Albers

Connie Albers
Photo used with permission.

So, we asked Connie if she would join us for a discussion about the importance of relationship building with our teens. Join us for an inspiring interview.

Connie homeschooled her five kids through graduation (including several years of having five teens at the same time). Connie found that her teens rarely jumped out of bed happy and chomping at the bit to do their calculus lessons. But, Connie found a few secrets that helped her and her teens through these years:

She found that when you prioritize relationships through coming to know:

  • our teens’ temperament
  • the heart of our teens
  • what’s going on around them
  • then, there is less grumpiness and rebellion!

Emphasizing relationships is not easy. It takes longer to walk along beside teens. Concepts and life in general, is harder for adolescents. Teens often doubt themselves. It is easy for them to think they were standing in the wrong lane when smarts were handed out.

You have the job to discover, develop and cultivate the gifts God has given each teen, so that they can be the person God has made them to be (not to be their brother, or mother, or friend).

You have the job to discover and cultivate the gifts that God has given each teen. Connie Albers shares how to emphasize relationships to develop teens' gifts. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #ConnieAlbers #ParentingTeens #BuildingRelationshipsWithTeens

How can you discover and develop your teen’s gifts? Connie suggests:

  • Observe the little things your teens do
    • Become a student of your teen.
    • Connie kept a notebook on each kid where she jotted down interesting observations. She found that over time, these observations helped her help her kids discover their gifts.
  • Notice what your teen could spend all day (even skip lunch because it is so interesting)
    • What are the paths of their curiosity?
    • What are their interests? Daydreams? Wondering?
  • Plant seeds of possibilities
    • I noticed this about you…
  • Reframe personality glitches, to help them work towards good rather than glitches
    • Words need to fall into a tender place in your teens’ heart
    • Show them the positives and negatives of personality styles
  • Help them find places to use these gifts for God’s glory and relationship building
    • Let them know you believe in them and are encouraging them all
    • This infuses them with determination to dig deeper and build courage

You as a parent, become your teens’ scientist and their guide.

Teen years are sometimes challenging, they are doing the hard job of growing up. #HomeschoolHighSchoolPodcast #ConnieAlbers #ParentingTeens #BuildingRelationshipsWithTeens

Teen years are sometimes challenging. They are trying to push back sometimes because they are doing the hard job of growing up. They are trying to find:

  • When can I assert myself?
  • When can I say something snarky and it not be disrespectful or rude?
  • When can I make my own decision?
  • What will I hear as a result of that decision?

We are archeologists: digging for the treasure in our teens and then polishing it up to help it shine

  • The polishing takes time
  • The polishing takes patience

How do you handle this phase?

  • Keep the end in mind
    • Remember that you are parenting toward the time when they are out of the home and on their own
    • Remember your are not your teens’ best friend.
  • There is a balance of rules they still need and trust them to manage themselves. To keep the balance, we have to master the art of the pivot.
    • Allow them to make some mistakes (blowing an exam because they did not prepare well), then learn from those mistakes.
    • You still have to manage safety.
    • You still have to oversee some self-care.
    • Help them know they are always under some kind of authority, whether it is your or society’s.
  • Remember your calling: Your teens have a calling that you help prepare them for
  • Remember the danger of unbending rules.
    • Establishing relationships means establishing rules that matter,
    • Then begin adjusting or easing off when teens have shown they can manage themselves.
    • Responsible teens have more freedom and thus, more self-government.

These ideas are captured in Connie’s book Parenting Beyond Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy.

Connie’s purpose in writing her book is to encourage parents to truly enjoy the years with your teens. (They are the best years yet!) It discusses:

  • Casting a vision for your family
  • Understand your teen’s world
  • Understand your teen’s personality
  • Listening to your teen’s words, spoken and silent
  • Monitoring your own mouth
  • Take healthy steps when their is pain or conflict
  • You can be emphasizing relationships during the teen years.

Connie encourages us: Adolescence can be some of the best years, but when the times are painful:

  • You can step back
  • You can listen and be painters of possibilities in our teens’ lives
  • You can remember that they are a masterpiece of God’s making
  • You can be assured that God uses imperfect parents to shape and help teach and train their teens in the way they should go

Connect with Connie at:

Strengthening Families with Connie Albers on FB

And check out this interview with Connie on Focus on the Family.

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Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers

Teaching “Adulting” – MBFLP 234

 

Studies show that young adults are often not prepared for adult independence. Psychologists say the current generation is growing up slowly, and some even say “Twenty-five is the new fifteen”!* But if our parents and grandparents were functioning adults at 18 or 20, why can’t our kids be the same? This episode we’re talking about how to teach adult skills intentionally to our teenagers – and what to do if they graduated before you were done teaching!


Join us for a free relationship builder!

CLICK HERE for more information!


The Parent-Child Relationship – MBFLP 233

Relationship with your kids is more that just feelings

The overwhelming business of raising a child can cause us to miss the importance of our relationship with them. There’s so much to think about, so much to do, so much to pray over and work on – how can we put the proper emphasis on the “soft skills”? And yet, at the end of the day (which is when they graduate and move out), the sort of relationship we have with that child will be the thing which draws them back home – or not. This episode, we take a quick look at the way our parent-child interaction needs to change with the growing maturity of our child.

The Two Biggest Tasks of Parenting

Have you ever asked yourself, what is the absolute core of effective parenting? What would “success” look like? What is so important that, if we miss that one thing, we’ll look back with deep regret?

We actually think there are two absolutely critical things that we must pursue as parents. You can just assume the basic life needs – food, health, safety – of course. Those don’t even have to be on the agenda; if you don’t take care of those, you may not be a parent for long.

But the thing we find at the top of the list is discipleship. The Bible tells us over and over that we are to teach the word of God to our children throughout the day and in every circumstance (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

And inseparably connected to it is a second thing – the relationship we build with those children. In fact, we’d say you will have a very hard time teaching the first thing, if the second is weak or missing. Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries said that in the process of discipling tens of thousands of young adults, the ministry has found that truth will only be accepted in the context of relationship – a relationship of love, trust, and respect.

Relationship is More Than Just Feelings

The “warm fuzzy” aspect is important, of course, but there is a practical side to our parent-child relationship, too. That changes as the child grows and matures, and our interaction with him needs to change, too. At the start, the most important thing is teaching trust – Mama and Daddy will take care of you – and the Bible uses that as an illustration of God’s faithfulness to us:

“As one whom him mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

(God, in Isaiah 66:13)

(read more …)

Your parent-child relationship is a delicate balance!

The time for positive discipline comes after that. And again, the Bible makes it clear that discipline is a sign of our love (Hebrews 12:5-11):

… for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening … then you are illegitimate and not sons. (vv. 7-8)

But as they grown into the teen years, the way we interact with them, the way we discipline, and the responsibility we give or withhold, has got to reflect their new status as young adults. If we fail there, we may send them into the world with memories of resentment toward us. That’s not a good launch.

And through it all, we have got to communicate our affection to them in a way they understand and receive. They have to know not just that we love them, but that we actually like them. And that may take some work. 

Listen in for practical help on balancing these necessary roles – and for ideas how you can build a bridge to your child’s heart, even when you think you’ve lost your first chance already. We’ve crossed that bridge ourselves! With God’s help, so can you.


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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


Preparing Your Teens for More – MBFLP 205

“You think this is hard – just wait till they’re teenagers!” the stranger told Melanie as she pushed our four young children through the Atlanta zoo. But that’s a cultural expectation, not a foregone conclusion. Why can’t the teen years be productive years of growth, maturity, and deeper fellowship between parent and son or daughter? This episode we’re looking at positive ways to build up your teens during these critical years of transition from childhood to independence!

The Remarkable Potential of Teenagers

The oncologist looked at Hal skeptically.

“Well,” he conceded, “if you feel up to it, you can travel. And you can speak from the platform. But you can’t stand around shaking hands afterward – your immune system is going to be completely shot.”

The results had come back from the biopsy – Hal had advanced lymphoma, and he was about to start chemotherapy. The good doctor from Duke had listened while we explained what we do in our ministry, and travel was a concession – no compromise on the personal contact.

We had hardly gotten this far explaining it to our family when our teenagers burst out, “Don’t worry, Dad – we’ll take care of the book fair!”

Our oldest still at home were 16, 14, and 12. We might have been a little skeptical, but at the time, we didn’t have a choice. Hal was sidelined, Melanie would be busy counseling and praying with parents, and somebody needed to handle the business part of our resource table. If teens are who we had, then teens would have to do the job.

And it has made a world of difference!

Don’t Underestimate Teenagers

So many people consider the teen years and react with alarm, “Batten down the hatches! Duck and cover!” And yet, we look back and history and wonder. Laura Ingalls Wilder was put in charge of a school before she turned 16. John Quincy Adams was 14 when he became the sole translator for America’s embassy to Catherine the Great of Russia. Paul Tripp calls it “The Age of Opportunity;” why shouldn’t we expect more from the teenage years?

What started as a necessity in our family developed into a tradition – ever since that day, our teenagers and their younger siblings have managed our booth and many aspects of our travel. They shoo us out into the aisle, telling us, “You need to be talking with the parents that need help! Let us take care of this stuff.” They load and unload, set up and manage. They deal with customers of all ages, polite or combative. And they take turns in charge of the booth and their siblings, watching the younger ones and passing on job skills to the middle group.

Sometimes they even challenge us! Our third son made it a point of honor to learn to drive our 15-passenger van and trailer in any situation – threading night-time traffic alone in downtown Phoenix, backing the trailer into a tight parking space, or turning the whole rig around on a one-lane road that suddenly became impassable. Hal had to step up and improve his own skills to keep from calling the 16-year-old to get us out of a spot!

They became so involved in the business and support of our ministry, we naturally included them in all our planning. “We need some products to keep the younger children quiet while you talk with their parents,” they told us. We challenged them to come up with ideas, and they located sources for the swords and rubber band guns we sell alongside our books on parenting and marriage.

Three of our teens took what they were learning from our own business and bought another for new australian casinos 2021 themselves. The one who took the greatest part at the age of 13 is majoring in entrepreneurship in college and has already attracted venture capitalists to the businesses he’s started.

One of our teens became a freelance journalist at the age of 17 and was writing investigative articles for a statewide magazine before he left for college.  Another taught himself guitar and mandolin and joined a bluegrass band at a local coffee house. His elderly bandmates used to tease him, “I’ve got blue jeans older than you, Curly,” and he’d smile and reply, “But I’ve got more hair than all of you, combined.”

What made the difference? For all our teens, they found an area where they could serve, then we encouraged them to step up. By the time they were ready for college, they’d already been participating in grownup activities for two or three years, and they were unafraid to face the new opportunities which opened up in college and their early careers.

Want to read more? CLICK HERE!


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


Parenting Blind Spots That Put Your Homeschool Family at Risk

Could you have some parenting blind spots that put your homeschool family at risk? Reb Bradley will inspire you in this podcast.

Could you have some blind spots in your parenting? If you're a homeschooler, this podcast is a must-listen, but every parent can benefit.

I have helped other people parent their children, but that didn’t keep me from having blind spots in my parenting — blind spots that did put our homeschool family at risk. I thank God for opening my eyes to the truth and using the wisdom of Reb Bradley to make it less painful.

You’ll want to listen to learn:

  • Why some homeschoolers may be predisposed to parenting blind spots
  • What blind spot parents of young children are most likely to have
  • What you can do to quickly turn your home around
  • How you should speak to teens, and more

Resources mentioned in this podcast

FamilyMinistries.com – ministry website where you can purchase Parenting Teens with the Wisdom of Solomon, Child Training Tips, and much more

RebBradley.net – political commentary

Solving the Crisis in Homeschooling – mp3 of this message

Ultimate Husband – a site for Christian men that is life-changing, with a free MP3 on understanding a woman’s mind

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest so you don’t miss any of these great resources!

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