Tag Archive for: Motivating our Teens

When Deadlines Become Critical

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Shelly was watching with bated breath.  Her son Justin had just turned 18 in the middle of his last year of high school and senioritis was setting in big time.  Not only did school seem to be losing its importance, but his behavior exuded that “you can’t make me because I’m an adult” and was affecting the entire family.  The heated exchanges between Justin and her husband Kerry were beginning to escalate and Shelly was beginning to admit that she was ready for her son to go off to college. Having two men under the same roof with the younger trying to prove his independence was taking a toll on everyone.

The latest escapade was over college applications. Kerry thought Justin needed to take responsibility for them himself, while Justin was dragging his feet. After last night’s fiasco between the two, Shelly decided she needed to talk with Kerry. He was becoming so emotional about the situation she was concerned about what the future of his relationship with his son would hold.

Behind closed doors, Shelly gingerly brought up the topic.

“Shelly, if he really wants to go to college, then he needs to take responsibility for filling out the paperwork! I never would have made it to college if I had waited for my parents to do it for me! Deadlines are coming up. If he wants to go to school, then it is up to him!”

“Kerry, I do understand your point. You’re right. You had to grow up quickly given your situation at home. I can see why you think he should take responsibility of it on his own.”

“Well, I guess he has two days to fill it out…and I’m not doing it.”

“Honey, do you want him to go to college?”


“Maybe he doesn’t fully grasp the magnitude of the situation.”

“What’s there not to understand? It’s pretty basic! You don’t fill out applications, you don’t go to college! I’m finished talking to him about it. He’s on his own!”

Later that evening, Shelly decided to talk to Justin about the applications. Things obviously weren’t going well with him and Kerry.

“Justin, I’m sorry about your conversation with your dad earlier. Can we talk about the college applications?”

“Mom, I really don’t want to talk. I know, I need to get them done.”

“Will you just give me a few minutes of your time? I’d like you to hear my perspective.”

“I’ve only got a few minutes, Mom. Jeff is picking me up soon to run through our lines for the senior play.”

“Could you be home by 9:00 and we’ll talk then?”

“Sure. That should work. Jeff has to pick up his younger sister from some Girl Scout thing, so I’m sure we’ll be finished by then.”

“Thanks, honey! We’ll talk then.”

Later that evening…

“Justin, how important is college to you?”

“Mom, you know I’m going to college next year. I just need to fill out the stupid paperwork.”

“Do you know when the deadline is?”

“Uh…I don’t know.”

“Do you realize that if it isn’t filled out and mailed within two days, you probably won’t be going to college next fall?”

“Are you sure? I thought I had more time! There are more than 20 pages to some of those forms!”

“I know, honey.”

“Mom, I’ve got a calculus test on Friday and a speech in English tomorrow! I’ll never get it done in time.”

“Maybe we can do it together Friday after school? If we express mail it Saturday morning, it should make it by Monday’s deadline.”

“Thanks, Mom! I know I should have done this earlier. I’ll come straight home after school on Friday.”

PROVERBS 31:26-28

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed…

Communication is important as we weather the storms that brew in our households. Sometimes we forget that our teens’ brains haven’t fully developed even though they’ve reached the legal age of adulthood. Maturity comes at different stages for each of our kids and a wise parent understands when our kids need our help. Turning things over to them and walking away can sometimes backfire in ways that have an impact on everyone for life. Understanding where you teen is at emotionally and offering help might be exactly what they need to catapult them forward.

“Let go…and let God,”