My husband has a saying, “Every teen we come in contact with needs someone to take them seriously.”
Just the other day, I discovered how true that is as I was sitting in a room of women. A fifty something woman literally glowed as she spoke, “You’ll never guess what happened this week. My mother called and told me what a good job I did on _______ and that she was proud of me. I’ve never heard those words from her. I guess maybe I have a little bit to offer the world after all.”
The irony of that story wasn’t lost on me. Through my lens, this woman is extremely talented and way above the norm when it comes to accomplishment. She is someone I personally have always looked up to–someone I view as a role model–someone to emulate.
Yet, those words from her mother meant so much to her. She always wondered, “What does Mom think of me?”
It is natural to want the approval of others. Yet, imagine the power of approval from our mother.
That’s exactly what my husband means. By “taking our teens seriously” we are letting our kids know that we respect them, that we give credibility to who they are and how they think, that we approve of who they are becoming. Even when they mess up, we assure them that we will always stand beside them.
- They are worth it.
- We believe in them.
- We know that God has great plans for them.
What if, by taking our kids seriously, we offered our kids hope for their future.
- They would never have to doubt if they are good enough.
- They would never wonder if Mom and Dad will still be there for them if they make a mistake.
- They will be able to bounce back when life gets tough because they believe in themselves. After all, they’ve been given the hope from their parents that they can overcome any obstacle.
- They wouldn’t have to wait until they are 50 years old to hear the words from their mother’s mouth that you are proud of them.
So how do we take our kids seriously? How do we offer them hope that will last a lifetime?
- Listen, listen, and continue to listen.
- Find areas where you can agree and focus your energy there.
- Find the good in what they do and say.
- Encourage rather than criticize.
- Let them know that when they mess up that you’ll never give up on them.
- Offer them a faith that says ‘God is for them and wants the best for them’.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of where you are in your parenting journey, my prayer is that the God of Hope will flow through to you so that you too may offer hope to the next generation.
“Let go…and Let God”,
If you would like to offer a parent hope during this season of life, why not give them a copy of With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship With Your Teens & Tweens? Parents tell us that for the first time they have a different perspective on their role as a parent. It’s not only life changing–it’s changing families.