Halloween: 5 Tips to Help Parents of Teens

How Will You Cope with the Stress?

Halloween. Do you enjoy it? Maybe you did when your kids were young, but now . . . everything’s different. Your son uses it for an excuse to go out and drink with his friends – or worse. Your daughter plans to sneak off and meet up with that boy you know is bad news, or smoke pot with her friends while they’re out trick or treating.

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Now you dread the night. If you’re child is a minor, you feel like you have to be the police or the bad guy – again. Your child will treat you that way when you have to ask those annoying, oh-so-hard questions: “Who’s going? Where are you planning to go? Are you going dressed like that? When will you be home? Who is __________?”

Then there’s the oh-so-tough boundaries you have to remind them of and enforce, even if you don’t feel like it: “No, you can’t go there. I’d rather you not go with them. No, you can’t ride in their car. You can do this . . . but you can’t do that. This isn’t the best idea . . . that sounds risky . . . work on making another plan, please.” Ugh.

Be sure your rules, expectations, and consequences are clear and mutually understood. A good idea is to write them down and agree on them ahead of time.

It’s because you love them that you do these things. You want to keep them safe. If only you could.

You do everything you can think of or that you’ve heard others have done. Sometimes it works. Other times it doesn’t. It’s a crap shoot.

Will something happen? Will your phone ring late in the night when they don’t come home on time? Could there be bad news on the other end? We never know.

An older, wiser parent once told me, “Our kids are so smart. One way or the other, if they want to badly enough, they’ll find a way to do that thing you’re trying so hard to protect them from.”

Thanks a lot. That’s not what I wanted to hear.

chaosHow will you cope with the stress of the evening and other similar nights? With the worry? The anxiety?

Here are 5 tips that helped me:

Rest for Tired Parents

The Hardest Job in the World

What’s the hardest job in the world? Being a parent. At times it can be the

photo cred. Jordan McQueen

photo cred. Jordan McQueen

most wonderful and at others, utterly grueling. Some parents are beyond exhausted; not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. Bone tired. They’ve had their hearts broken over and over again. Hopes and dreams lay shattered at their feet because of poor choices and behaviors. They never thought it could happen to them. It’s devastating.

Moms Speak Up About Bullying

Resources to Help Parents

Were you bullied as a child or teenager? If you were, then you remember whatbullying1 it felt like. You know how damaging it can be. Do you now find yourself as a parent who suspects your child is the victim of a bully?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. It can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle action.

Psychology Today claims that bullying is a distinctive pattern of deliberately harming and humiliating others. It’s a very durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want—at least at first.

Some victims become so despondent they lose the will to live. A child or young teen might say, “I just wish I could go away and never come back”.

Completed suicides directly related to being bullied are on the rise. You’ve probably seen reports on the news. What a tragedy.

Our Stealth American Plague

An Important Message to Parents of Teens Who Appear Addicted to Digital Technology

I’d like to welcome guest blogger, Trace Embry. Take a look at his bio at the end of this post and you’ll see why he knows what he’s talking about in this article.

If you’re pulling your hair out because communication2your adolescent is glued to technology or an electronic screen of some sort, then this is for you. It will open your eyes to what’s really going on.

“Have you ever wondered why kids, today, are so easily bored? Why they can’t walk across the street or do homework without headphones? Why they appear to be addicted to anything with a screen or keyboard?

And, if you’ve wondered how and why America has gone from 1st to 26th in education compared to other countries around the world in just a generation, then you may want to read the rest of this article.

The Hurricane Matthews of Parenting

Help!

storm9-resizedIn parenting we sometimes encounter storms. Some come upon us suddenly without warning. Others give advance notice, like hurricanes. They bring fear and destruction. I live in Orlando, Florida. We’re waiting for hurricane Matthew to descend upon us and dreading his arrival. It could be the worst to hit the east coast in over a hundred years.

There’s nothing I can do to keep this hurricane away, or lessen its damage. Strong winds, heavy rain, thunder, lightning and sometimes tornadoes. Whew!

I must admit I’m a bit anxious not knowing what to expect. When I listen to the weather channel I feel even more uneasy. The sky is dark and foreboding. Palm trees are bending under the force of the wind. They’ll leave debris everywhere to pick up later.

Our son has an adorable little dog; a Yorkshire Terrier. Pebbles is her name. But there’s one thing: she’s petrified of storms. She pants heavily and shakes uncontrollably while running around in a state of panic. Eventually, this little fur ball  finds a throw rug to pee on and hides in a corner until the weather calms down.

Poor Pebbles. She can’t understand the storm will pass. In time, everything will be okay again. Dogs are clueless that their loving owners are right there with them to keep them safe.

Hey, wait a minute. In the hurricane Matthews of my life – the ones my child brought – I’ve reacted the same way as Pebbles. Have you?

Drug and alcohol addiction, rehabs, relapses, mental illness, self-injury (cutting), hospitalizations, psych wards, suicide attempts and incidences of rape. Terrifying. And there was no guarantee she would be okay – ever.

I hid from others by withdrawing and sleeping. Thank goodness I never lost control of my bladder, though, but I did lose control of my emotions. What a mess. Emotionally bent over from the stress and strain, I felt like those palm trees. Some days I was sure I’d break from the weight of it all. A nervous wreck, I paced the floor on the verge of panic. Somebody help me!

When You Can’t Change Your Child

What Can a Parent Do?

September 22nd was the first day of fall. Cooler weather, colorful leaves andfall7-resized shorter days are coming. Autumn makes me think of change and change can bring good things or bad, blessings or heartache. We all hope for more of the good, especially parents.

As our children grow up, we experience countless changes. I know. I raised three. Positive ones we keep a record of: rolling over, first tooth, first word, first holiday, first trip, first steps, first day of school, funny things they say, first dance, etc.

We don’t want to forget milestones, so we keep journals and take thousands of photos and videos. They’re special to our hearts. I did okay with my first two children, but with the last one . . . well, I tried.

However, there are other types of changes; the heartbreaking kind we wish we could forget. They haunt us in our dreams.

Some moms and dads have had more than their fair share.

That’s been my experience.

If your son or daughter abuses drugs or alcohol, harms themselves, suffers with a mental illness, is suicidal, has a same-sex attraction or is in trouble with the law, you’ve tried hard to change them. But you can’t make that happen if they’re uncooperative.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, especially if they’re under eighteen. Do everything in your power to help: counseling, an evaluation by a doctor or psychiatrist,  rehab or treatment, maybe a therapeutic boarding school or wilderness camp.

After trying everything I knew to do, I realized I couldn’t change my daughter. The feeling of helplessness was horrible.

If you’re in this situation you know the gut-wrenching pain. Your child must decide they’re ready. It may still be summertime to them. They’re unwilling to move into a new season.

What can you do?

  • Accept what is. You. Are. Powerless.
  • Learn to let go.
  • Wait on God.

I’m sure our efforts did some good, but at the time they were merely a deposit our daughter could go back and draw on in the future when she was ready. Until she was sick and tired of being sick and tired; until she wanted to be well no matter what it would take – wanted it for herself and not to please me or her dad or anyone else, she wasn’t ready. Only God could make that happen.

Only God.

And He did.

“I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let him.”

When that statement describes your attitude, you can find peace in any situation, especially with your child.

 

How can you do it?

Remember your problem may be big, but God is bigger.

Realize you have no power to change your child, but God is all-powerful.

Admit you don’t know what to do, but God does. Trust Him.

Believe He can even move mountains, if that’s what it takes.

Pray. Stay close to God and pray some more.

He can do the impossible. And He can help you stop worrying while you wait.

If you apply this Bible verse in your life, you’ll experience the kind of change you need the most – in any season.

“Have no anxiety about anything . . . bring your requests to God and the peace of God will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

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