“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Parenting teens is a tough job. Just about the time you think you and your teen are doing well your teen does something stupid, irrational, or even illegal. You wonder if you are going to survive these turbulent years. You can survive but it may take some adjusting on your part.
Have you ever gotten caught up in the moment of the situation? You tell yourself you are going to remain calm and then before you know it you’re yelling and your teen is slamming the door as he or she stomps out of the room. Or your teen just sits there zoned out and you know not one word is being heard.
One of the biggest mistakes parents of teens make is to act on impulse.
I was so upset at one event that it took me several days to address the situation. I explained to my son that I knew what had happened. I explained that I was not going to make any decisions until I had calmed down and then he and I would sit down calmly and talk about what he had done.
Some parents get so caught up in the moment that they carry all that’s ever been done before into the current scene. Anger boils, threats are hurled, and in the end there is no follow through.
Some teens are smart enough to keep you in the moment. They count on your anger and guilt to escape any consequence.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31 (NIV) Do this before the sit down talk.
This doesn’t mean you have to be soft with a consequence. It doesn’t mean you look the other way or you alibi your teen out of the consequence.
It does mean that you are firm, prepared, sure of yourself, and confident in your parenting abilities. It might mean you seek the wise counsel of a trusted adult who knows you, your teen, and your situation. It also means you pray and seek God’s wisdom.
Make your sit down talk “benefit those who listen.”
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