Ever feel like you need one of these to get
them to sit and talk with you?
Sometimes it does seem like we need to get in line behind all the texts and notifications that are coming down the line, before we can have a decent conversation with them.
(In our day, it was a phone attached to a long cord, that kept us from having to converse with our parents. Same story - different technology.)
Kids can be so cut off from their parents, if they are allowed. Hours can go by without really having a conversation, because we are all busy doing "our thing".
But, like anything else that's important - you have to make it happen - intentionally.
Some of the best conversations we've had with our teens are the ones where we purposely set aside some time for catching up.
The TV is off, phones out of hand, and we start asking questions.
We have learned so much about our kids by having these little chat sessions.
We gather in the living room and we basically just start asking one question at a time, such as:
"Is there anything you're struggling with this week?"
"Any confessions to make?"
"Anything you need help with?"
"Anything we can pray about?"
As simple and straightforward as these questions are, they open up some incredible conversations of honesty and humility for our boys.
When you are just sitting on the couch and casually talking about life with them, it really gives them a feeling of being a part of the conversation, rather than you hovering over them, trying to pry into their life.
Kids need to feel like you are really interested in what they have to say and it needs to feel like a safe situation, in order for them to open up. If they think you are just drilling them so you can correct them in some way, don't expect openess and honesty. They will clam up and shut you out.
And, let's admit it - sometimes it's we parents who are too busy to talk! We have "work to do". We brush off our kids numerous times a day and we wonder why they don't want to talk, when we "have time".
So being intentional is really beneficial to all of us.
Forcing yourself to set aside your own agenda for 30 minutes, to truly focus on your teen, will do wonders for your relationship with them.
Ask how they're really doing. Ask how their friends are doing, because this affects your child.
Just last night, during our talk, our son told us of a friend who was being bullied at school. We were able to talk about bullying and how it affects the friend, but also how it affects our son and what he can do to help.
Had we not been intentional about spending time in conversation, we might not have been told about this burden that he was carrying for his friend.
These talks have led to honest conversations about temptations and how to deal with those.
We've talked about our own struggles and how God has led us to repentance and living for Him.
We've talked about the Bible and what God says about certain issues that we all face.
We've prayed together and most of the time, we end up laughing together.
These talks have become the highlight of our week.
Sure, there are many opportunities to talk to your kids: the car, bedtime, at the dinner table. But, there is something about being intentional - with nothing else on the agenda or looming over the situation (bed time, dishes, destination) - that really lends itself to them opening up to you.
I encourage you to try it this week.
We choose Sunday nights, just because it seems to be a calm night, without a lot of distractions. But, you can choose whatever night works best for your family. Just make sure you're not in a hurry. Don't have your intentional talk time when you have to be somewhere in 30 minutes! That's not a sacrifice.
Your talk time should be everyone setting aside what they would like to be doing (a sacrifice) and giving time to each other.
I hope you will find time to talk with your teens this week.
Even as I write this, it seems silly to have to encourage parents to do such a thing, but I know in my heart, there is someone out there that needs this reminder.
I pray that you will be blessed by spending time with your teen. And, even if they don't show it - your teen will be blessed to know that they were worth it to you.
Have a great week,