Most parents get fascinated watching their children grow. The transformation is usually so incredible that it leaves you in awe of the almightiness of God. It also makes you wonder at His creativity. The little boys and girls that once looked like “ spaghetti sticks ’’ now begin to take shapes with the boys looking more masculine and the girls having beautiful ‘’curves’’ wow! God is truly magnificent.
It is not only exciting to watch them grow; it also fills one with so much pride that you are sometimes tempted to boast about them to friends and colleagues. I feel proud that such beauties came out of me. I wonder why anyone would dread this phase of a child’s life or ever imagine them to be a problem just because they are passing through a transitional stage of their lives
I can confidently say that the teenager is not a problem neither should you become terrified because you are the parent of a teenager. You don’t have to be scared and intimidated that you have a teenager in your house. In fact, you can be an excited parent of a happy teenager. God never designed them to be a problem but a reward to us. God is good and will not reward with anything that will cause us pain and shame.
Whatsoever has made your children an instrument of pain as you read this book, the light needed to impart them with ease will be delivered into your hands in Jesus name!
Our children are not meant to be instruments in the hands of the enemy to destroy us, but they are weapons placed in our hands to silence our enemies. The Bible says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” Ps 127: 3-5. Your children will bring you victory, honor and glory in Jesus name.
The question that readily comes to mind is, if this is what the Bible says about our children and the word of God is true, why then do most parents have problem relating with their teenagers and helping them remain focused? Why do parents feel that their teenage children are a problem? There are number of reasons why parents feel this way and I shall be addressing some of them. I believe if parents can get these issues straightened out, it will become much easier for them to build a healthy relationship with their teenagers. It is important we succeed because if we fail, they can fall into wrong hands and this will cause us pain. The first of these reasons is a lack of understanding of the teenage phase.
LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF TEENAGER PHASE
One would have thought that parents ought to have a better understanding of the teenage phase of life because every parent was once a teenager. It comes therefore as a shock and surprise that many parents know very little or nothing about this phase. To compound the issue only very few parents will admit their ignorance. And because they do not admit their ignorance they seldom seek for information that will enlighten them about this phase of a child’s life and how to relate with them. Instead of admitting their shortcomings, what many parents do is to label the teenager a problem.
The moment a teenager is labeled, the next thing the parents do is to become hard on the child. What many parents do is to become hard on the child. What many parents do not understand is that when they toe this path they make it difficult for the teenage to relate with them. If parents want to help their teenage children, the take off point will before them to understand who a teenager is.
Maybe we should start with the dictionary definition of a teenager. Most dictionaries use age as a factor in defining a teenager. The Encarta dictionary for example, defines a teenager as a young person between the ages of thirteen and nineteen.
But considering the maturity rate of children these days and if we are to combine their physique, I will suggest that the age bracket should be lowered.. Based on their physical features and behavioral pattern, I will categories a teenager to be a young person between the ages of ten and nineteen.
While there is nothing wrong in using age to define a teenager, I think using age alone limits our understanding of who a teenager is and makes it difficult for parents to truly appreciate who they are dealing with. So beyond the age factor, I will want to define the teenager as someone whose behavioral features fluctuate between that of a child and an adult; that is someone who is neither a child nor an adult.
A teenager therefore is not just all about age but more about characteristics. I think this is where we have missed the point as parents. We have laid so much emphasis on the age factor without paying attentions to their characteristics; that is the unique features that make them teenagers.
I think laying emphasis on their characteristics is in line with Apostle Paul definition and differentiation of a child form an adult. The Apostle Paul in is writing in first Corinthians chapter thirteen and verse eleven said that when he was a child, he spoke as a child, understood and thought as a child but when he became a man he put away childish things.
From apostle Paul’s writing is obvious that our characteristics or behavior to a great extent define who we are. Teenagers have peculiar characteristics or behavioral pattern that defines them.
For example teenagers don’t accept that they are children and don’t enjoy it when you treat them as one. They love to be treated as adults but they dot want to be saddled with the responsibilities of adulthood because they are not mentally ready to be adults.
The teenager therefore is a human being that has not completely done away with childish behaviors but wants to be treated as an adult. They are a group of people with unique characteristic. There are peculiar traits that define them.
Most parents do not understand the mind set of teenager and how to respond not just to them but to their issues in general. If parents are better informed, it will empower them to give their teenage children their required support they need at this phase of their lives and it would help the teenagers to remain focused and stable.
Parents need to be better informed not just for the teenager alone but for their benefits too. How much and what you know as a parent will determine if this phase will be an exciting or tying phase for you.
Taking about excitement, it could be fun and exciting having a teenager in the house because it makes a parents feel young again! This is very exciting as far as I am concerned. By the grace of God have three children, two young adult who have just passed the teenage period and one who is in the teenage phase. It has been wonderful having them around.
The teenage phase gives you the opportunity to see what you looked like at that age. It is often said you cannot relive the past but having a teenager I the house gives you an opportunity to see what you looked like and how you acted some years back. To some extent, it is like seeing yourself in them and reliving your past.
For me helping them through this phase or their lives not only gave me the opportunity to correct some of the mistakes I made as a teenager, it also made me feel young. I am excited and grateful to God for the opportunity to relive my teenage period through my children.
I am sure if you can look back into your teenage period, you will see that you were not all that perfect and flawless after all. You were more or less like your teenagers now. You made your parents shout and scream at you and when they did, you wondered why they were shouting. The fact is, if you understand that your teenagers are only passing through a phase of life you have passed through, rather than complain about them and label them as problems, you will look out for things that you can do to make this stage an easier than interesting one for them.
Naturally our children pick little bits of us here and there. If we are now behaving better than them, it is because someone took pain to work on us and make sure we were refined. You too can do the same for your teenager. You must however be armed with a good understanding of this phase if you must succeed.
Did I hear you say they are not cooperating? Who told you that you cooperated when you were their age? I am sure you must have given your parents some hard time. Your are great today because your patens or guardian knew what to do to keep you focused and on track. If your parents did that for you, you too can do the same for your teenage children.
If we understand that tour teenage children take up both or good and not too good qualities, we will not see them as a problem because we do not see ourselves as a problem. Armed with this understanding that they take up both our strength and weakness, we must do all within our power to guide them correctly else they may end up making the same kind of mistakes we made in life. The secret to achieving this is to build a healthy relationship with them. It is one of the keys to influencing them positively.
I believe no parents will want the child to make the same mistakes he or she made in life. Building healthy relationship with them gives us the opportunity to weed off our weakness that we see in them while encouraging them to develop our good qualities that have imbibed. The privilege to see our children pass through the teenage phase is like God giving us a second chance to correct our lives. Our teenagers are God given opportunities for us to improve some of our personalities they took that we are still battling with. When we make them behave better than we did at their age we are guaranteed that they will become better adults than we are. It takes a healthy relationship with them to achieve this.
As exciting as having a teenager may seem, I know that it can also be trying and critical for parents if they are not properly informed about this phase. It takes an understanding of this phase for parents to fully appreciate the mindset of an average teenager. And if you cannot understand their mindset you will find yourself doing so may thins but the right thing for them. In life, it is not how many things you do that matters but doing the right thing. When you consistently do the wrong things with your teenage child, it can cost you a healthy relationship with him/her. It is not uncommon to hear parents complain that the more they try to get closer to their teenage children, the farther the children want to go from them. Parents encounter such challenges with their teenage children because they do not understand they way teenager think.
Parents should understand that this phase is very critical for the teenagers. It is not easy for them because they do not really understand themselves or the things they need. They don’t seem to have answers to the changes taking place in their lives so they are always searching for answers. It is this search for answers that expose some of them to negative influences that hurt them.
If the relationship between you and your teenager is healthful they will come to you for answers. And if you do not have a healthy relationship with them they will look elsewhere for answers. Usually this move by the teenagers to get answers elsewhere threatens and frightens parents. I must confess that the parents’ worries are sometimes not unfounded because this is one of the root causes to teenagers’ deviation from family values and ties. Their search for answers, expose many of them to wrong counsels and they unwittingly fall prey to unscrupulous elements.
Unfortunately, many parents in an attempt to protect their children compound issues because they do not understand the teenager phase. Rather than acquire necessary knowledge that will help them relate with their teenagers, they treat harshly, forcing them to seek solace outside. Parents need to acquire knowledge that will make their teenagers look up to them for answers to most of the challenges they are going through. One thing you must appreciate as a parent is that your teenager is in constant contact with other influences apart from you. If your influence on them must supersedes the external ones ten you must be able to build a relationship with them that is stronger than the ones outside. Once there is a healthy relationship with them that is stronger than the ones outside. Once there is a healthy relationship between you and your teenager, even in situations where there are external negative influences, you can still help them to know how to make a choice between what you know is best for them and what they perceive to be in vogue.
To be continued…….
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