Trouble-shooting Parenthood

Interesting results are coming in from our informal parenting survey at CT.

Are we as parents able to address needs of our teenagers effectively? What do the teenagers think? As an exercise in parental trouble-shooting, read the answers and post your diagnosis.

Question #1) Your teenager comes drunk…what are you going to do?

  • “I will refrain from shooting them.”
  • “Not give him any consequences because he’s already feeling sick.”
  • “…talk to them about the effects of alcohol.”
  • “Tell him you have to be 21 to drink.”
  • “I would listen to their story, talk to my spouse, then decide what to do.”

Question #2) Your teenager comes home with a “D” on the grade card – how would you handle it?

  • “Ask him if he thinks he was doing his best work.”

Question #3) What are the indications your teenager is doing well (or poorly) ?

  • “They tell me.”

Question #4) What does your teenager want from you?

  • “They want guideliness, support and guidance.”
  • “Stuff.”

Question #5) Your youth-worker says your kid is not interested in the Lord. What do you do?

  • “Pray with other Christians about it.”
  • “Cry, cry, cry, get help, pray, pray, pray.”
  • “Go to a parenting class.”

From teenagers:

Question #6) What do you think your parent’s expectations are of you?

  • “They want me to be everything they are. Just because we share genes doesn’t mean we share a brain.”

Question #7) Do you really talk to your parents?

  • “No, because whatever it is is my fault. What’s the point if they don’t help me?”

Question #8) Can you trust your parents?

  • “No, they invade my privacy and don’t leave me alone. They don’t trust me, and I don’t trust them.”

Question #9) Do your parents listen to you?

  • “No. Brick walls listen better.”

Question #10) If you would change 2 thngs about your parents, what would they be?

  • “I’m my own person. I’m not you. I make mistakes. So let me, and I’ll be OK.”

Question #11) What would you do differently?

  • “My criticism will be constructive, and I’ll understand that my kid isn’t just like me.”

Question #12) What do you admire most about your parents?

  • “Nothing. Well, they haven’t killed me yet.””

Question #13) What do you admire least?

  • “They’re ignorant.”
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4 thoughts on “Trouble-shooting Parenthood

  1. lisa beech

    Kids need to know that they are intrinsically valuable and acceptable as they are. Christ totally fills this bill. I have wasted so much of my own life defining myself from external evaluations from parents, teachers, peers, etc. I have sought approval from these external sources rather than from my identity as a valuable heir and co-worker in God’s Kingdom.

    If we as parents can learn to live and communicate this truth to our children, then our kids will be more able or free to live as God intended them to live. The problem for me is to unlearn what I have learned and to relearn what God says about me so that I can mirror or model this life to my children.

    I’m looking forward to learning and understanding what God says about parenting!

    Lisa

  2. Diana

    Parents’ Question #3) What are the indications your teenager is doing well (or poorly) ?

    “They tell me.”

    Teens’ Question #7) Do you really talk to your parents?

    “No, because whatever it is is my fault. What’s the point if they don’t help me?”

    I’m not a parent of teens, but the answers to these questions show an insteresting contrast. Although there are teens that talk to thier parents, and even are close with their parents, most teens don’t necessarily tell them everything. Some, like me when I was a teen, don’t tell thier parents anything at all. How can parents/teen workers relate with teens on a basis of trust?

  3. Lina

    Wow–are these the only responses to all those questions from all those surveyed?! It would be interesting to see more responses.
    Diagnosis: From these responses, I would conclude we are not able to address the needs of our teens effectively. However, some of these questions require context, is the “D” grade the usual grade, a once in a lifetime, or starting to occur more frequently?
    I was bummed no teens admire anything about their parents, Maybe that’s part of typical teen separation?
    Diana asks a critical question. In our ministry, I find that teens do want to talk & will talk if listened to. How do we motivate them to take on a vital walk w/Jesus, finding their role in the BOC & fruitful ministry? This requires lots of individual care in discipling, good trusting relationship, inner motivation, appreciation, good role models, peer group,….these things are still forming in our church.

  4. lisabeech

    Okay, so you’ve read my initial deer-in-the-headlights response, but after further consideration….

    As for the responses found in the informal survey, I find that today’s teens and parents are totally alienated from one another.sad

    The surveyed parents say:
    Question #4) What does your teenager want from you?
    “They want guideliness, support and guidance.”
    “Stuff.”

    The surveyed teens say:
    Question #8 Can you trust your parents?
    “No, they invade my privacy and don’t leave me alone. They don’t trust me, and I don’t trust them.”

    Parents want to guide and pass a legacy onto their child, while it appears that teens feel this guidance is nebby interference. Teens need to define who they are; they clearly don’t want to get those definitions from their parents. They are developing theirown unique inner voice.

    The scary issue for Christian parents is the truth found in question #6:

    Question #6) What do you think your parent’s expectations are of you?

    “They want me to be everything they are. Just because we share genes doesn’t mean we share a brain.”

    Yes, we do want them to share the faith that we have and to make in theirown; the delicate matter is that it must be their idea and their will.

    After reading, Parenting Teens with Love and Logic, I’m more hopeful than I was when I initially read this survey. The idea of “thinking questions and wondering thoughts” and the method of putting the focus on the consequences of choices has a ring of familiarity found in the book, Invading Secular Space. These wondering questions open doors not only to pin-pointing the issue of consequences (ie result of sin or rebellion), but also for relating the gospel or for sharing why should one be a committed follower and servant of Christ.

    The diagnosis is a difficult one to make. We as parents can guide our children, but we cannot expect that they will be who we want them to be. They can find and embrace our faith, but they must be led by thinking questions and by role models (other than us) to develop an inner voice that believes following Christ is what they want to do. The decision must be the teens or the faith or I fear their commitment will not be lasting.

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