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Category Archives: Parent’s Connection

DRIVEN Parent Cue – EVOLVE, Action

Action Point

While it may seem like there are very few things we can agree with our students on while in the middle of these tumultuous teenage years, we probably all have a similar goal in mind for our families. We want to be functional. We want to be healthy. We want to do everything we can to set ourselves up for success. And this may require some hard work—on everyone’s part. But, as parents we should be leading the way here.

So, as you get a glimpse into how your family is changing and evolving, sit down and ask yourself the following questions, taking the time to be introspective and answering honestly—as difficult as that might be.  Then sit down with your teenager and ask them the specified questions that follow.

Parent Questions:

  1. How can you learn not to be reactive but to take a step back and get some perspective on the tension and issues within your family?
  2. What can you do to help your children see a patient and in-control parent in the midst of conflict?
  3. How would you feel about letting someone else into your family dynamics in order to bring the most health to your family relationships?
  4. Who would you consider to be trustworthy to confide in about your family and the potential issues and struggles you face?
  5. Are you opposed to seeking outside counsel from a pastor or Christian counselor? Why or why not?

Student Questions

  1. Think about some families that you know and enjoy spending time around. What makes them comfortable and fun to spend time with? Try to share a particular experience that you’ve had with this family.
  2. What are some things you have seen or experienced this family do that you admire?
  3. What are some things that you would enjoy doing together with your own family?
  4. What are some characteristics of you’re your family that you really like? Why?
  5. How do you feel about the interactions you have with each of the people in your own family? Is there one person you have an easier time relating to compared to the others? Is there one person you have a harder time relating to compared to the others? Why do you think this is?
  6. What is one way that you would like to see your family change and grow?
  7. What can you begin doing this week to make that change happen?

After answering the previous questions, ask your teen to help you make a list of 5 family goals for the following year (i.e. have a family meal together once a week to connect and re-assess the above questions, commit to spending one radio/cell phone­­-free drive to or from school per week to just talk, research and set up a family counseling session, etc.).

To Read Rhett Smith’s entire article, go to http://fulleryouthinstitute.org/2011/06/managing-anxiety-in-the-family/

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – EVOLVE, part 2

Be a Student of Your Student

One of the toughest aspects of the teenage years is the growing feeling our students have that the conflicts within their families are actually their own fault. And maybe as a parent, you hear that and agree that most of the developing conflict is the fault of your teenager. You may find yourself thinking if you could just fix them, things would be better. There is no doubt our teenagers have some attitude adjustments that need to be made and some issues that need to be dealt with. That comes with the parenting territory at any age. And while we are taking a look at how we can help them through their teen years, it’s also a good time to take a look at our own actions and reactions within our family to figure out how we can actually escalate or diffuse the tensions that arise.

As we experience anxiety in our own marital relationships, work relationships, friendships and even our own view of ourselves, it’s important to remember not to project these anxieties onto our children.

Because your teenager it not your best friend.

Your teenager is not a licensed counselor.

Your teenager is not responsible for the tension between you and your boss or you and your spouse or you and your other children.

As Rhett Smith (MDiv, LMFT-A), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, and part-time pastor to youth and families at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas explains in his article entitled “Managing Anxiety in the Family: Strategies for Changing our Relationship Dance” (fulleryouthinstitute.org), “If we really want to have healthy families, often we need to begin with the adults in the family taking responsibility for themselves. Rather than point the finger at our kids because they might be convenient scapegoats for our anxiety and conflict, real transformation lies within a family’s ability to do the hard work that relationships require.”

While this is solid advice, it can be really difficult to do! In the book Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, Reggie Joiner points out that one of the best tools to help you walk the journey with your teenager is to “Widen the Circle.” In other words, it’s important to invite other healthy adults into the life of your family; adults who are committed to your children and your family for no other reason than that they care. And this is also a great way to begin to develop processes for taking a look at how our family functions and how we can develop the most healthy family possible.

With this in mind, your student will be invited to participate in an XP, or experience, that encourages them to choose some wise people to help guide them through middle and senior high school. And, we have also encouraged them to include you in the process. Look forward to some more information from your student’s small group leader after week 2 of this series.

Our teenagers are dealing with so many pressures and competing voices. Our best bet is to set them up for success by being their champion and a safe place for them to unload their woes and worries. While this may not be an easy thing to do, it is important for us as parents to start with ourselves and look at how we play into the tension within our family relationships. We are the best place to start when addressing the health of our families.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – EVOLVE

Be a Student of What They are Learning

When we were growing up, our family was everything to us. They were the safe place to run to. They were the calm in the storm. They were the people whose opinions we trusted most and whose advice we took to heart. But over the years, especially the teen years, the voices of our mom and dad become more like nails on a chalkboard than the sweet sound of comfort. So what happened? Our relationship evolved. And while that isn’t necessarily the most comfortable thing in the world for a teenager to go through, it also isn’t the worst thing either. So what do we do as our students become less and less willing to listen to the wisdom their families give? How do we handle the everyday conflicts that come up between students and their families? These are important questions worth finding answers to. Because, let’s face it, the relationship is changing. But as difficult as this may be to handle right now, that change can be for the good of everyone.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parents Cue – Unwrapping Christmas ACTION

This Action Point is where you, as parents, can start to define what Christmas is truly about through the traditions we establish and the way we express the Christmas story—in our homes, in our schools, in our churches, in our neighborhoods and to the world at large. This is not just an exercise for the Christmas season, but rather a great time to start refocusing our family’s attention on putting Christ back into His rightful place. So, this Christmas as you and your family settle into the usual gate of the holiday season, take a moment to pray, reflect and search your heart for how you want to represent the Christmas story to your family. And then, do something together as a family that will allow those values to be expressed in a way that will forever shape the way they “do” Christmas.

Here are some ideas for ways you and your family can connect to and define the Christmas story together:

  • Adopt a family for Christmas through the Salvation Army: Salvationarmyusa.org.
  • Volunteer at a local homeless shelter to serve a meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
  • Give one less gift this year to each family member and instead buy gifts for children whose parents are in prison through Angel Tree: Angeltree.org/angeltreehome.
  • If you have a musical family, visit a convalescent home or local children’s hospital and sing some of those Christmas favorites.
  • Help the local hospice or meals-on-wheels organization distribute Christmas dinners. You can help prepare the actual meals or donate your time and car to transport the meals to the elderly or sick.
  • Look through Martha Stewart and other crafty magazines or old craft books for Christmas-inspired crafts and buy enough supplies to have a hospital ward of children or a retirement home ward make crafts or ornaments with you and your family.
  • Ask your church if there is a family that attends that could use some extra help this holiday season. Invite them over for Christmas dinner or offer to buy and decorate a Christmas tree for them.

This Christmas, as you celebrate the gift of Jesus and the story of God’s redemption in all of our lives, take the time to put that message into motion. Christmas is not just about giving things away so that we get that warm fuzzy feeling, or because we want to “share the wealth.” It’s about expressing God’s heart for justice, love and reconciliation.

As well, here is an encouraging blog post entitled “10 Reasons to Escape Excessive Consumerism” by Joshua Becker. Check it out at: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/2011/08/03/escaping-excessive-consumerism/

Get connected to a wider community of parents at www.orangeparents.org.

 

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parents Cue – Unwrapping Christmas, part 2

What was it that used to make the holidays special when you were a kid? Was it the chill in the air signaling that Christmas break was right around the corner? Baking and decorating ginger bread cookies with a sibling or your mom or dad? Or, maybe it was that feeling you got on Christmas Eve as you waited for the morning when you could finally tear into those beautifully wrapped packages underneath your tree. Whatever may have made the holidays a special time for you, there is one thing that tends to define the Christmas season for most of us: family. When we are young, our families define what Christmas looks like from the traditions they keep to the way they express the story of Jesus to those around them. And, for those of us who are now raising families of our own, we are now defining Christmas for our families. It can feel a bit overwhelming establishing the values, traditions and attitudes that revolve around this idea of Jesus’ arrival on this Earth.

While most students may be able to tell us the “real” meaning of the season, they aren’t necessarily connecting it to the value of the Christmas story. Developmentally, our students are in a place where it is difficult to think outside of their own world and their own lives. They may have head knowledge of the Christmas story, but in order to take that and bring it down to heart level, there has to be an experience that they can call their own. This is especially important for those of us with middle school and younger high school students who are still in the developmental stage of egocentric abstraction. During this stage, your student is the center of his or her own world and is not easily able to identify with ideas and concepts that are not personally connected to their own feelings. However, when they have the chance to experience the joy of reaching out to others in the midst of other’s true needs, they can personally identify with the value of the Christmas story.

For those of us with older high school students, now is the time when they are beginning to widen their worldview and understand the world outside as more than the sum of their own feelings and experiences. For them, the experience of reaching out to others is a chance to put legs to the social and global concerns that are already stirring in their hearts. Once the meaning of the Christmas story is tangible through personal experience, it isn’t easily forgotten in the mind of your teen. Another thing to remember is that though developmentally your students are in a place where they may not fully “get” the meaning of the Christmas story, we as the adults in their lives are. It is necessary for us to set the example and show them the importance of the Christmas story. So, we may need to take some time on our own to reflect on the value of Jesus’ arrival on Earth before we can begin to define that for our students.

– Freddy

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – Unwrapping Christmas

Christmas is that feel-good time of year when the lights are up, the holiday music is flowing and the cheer is palpable in the air. It’s also the time of year when we go through the same Christmas routine as always and pass another holiday season without necessarily thinking through how the story of Christmas is meant to change us, not just be a backdrop to two weeks off from school. So, this Christmas we’re going to take a fresh look at the Christmas story with some new insights to help us understand how revolutionary Jesus’ arrival on Earth really was. When we think of the Christmas story this year, let’s be reminded that Jesus is more than we need during the holiday season, and for the rest of the year too. – Freddy

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection

 

DRIVEN Parent Cue – Collide SESSION 3

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE discuss with your youths this week about this message! It may even challenge your understanding of what Jesus calls your family to live for Him, to collide with Him, to be different from other families in the church! – Freddy

Session Three: Totaled (November 27)

Are you a safety boy/girl? Do you like the predictable? Do you like to know the outcome before you dive into something? Do you like to keep things the way they are—predictable? Isn’t that, well, a little boring? Maybe you need to collide with God. Maybe you need to place yourself in His path so that something in your life will change. It’s a collision that will leave you different than the status quo—and that’s a very good thing.

Session Three Parent Cue: As a Christian, is there something you feel like you should do, but for some reason—fear, uncertainty, discomfort—you’re reluctant to do it? How can you push yourself out of that comfort zone and make it happen?

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in DRIVEN, Parent Cue, Parent's Connection