Preparing to ‘parent teenagers’

2015-12-02 06:00
Photo: tania sandberg Debbie and Colin Steers at the course on parenting teenagers at Life Church on Friday.

Photo: tania sandberg Debbie and Colin Steers at the course on parenting teenagers at Life Church on Friday.

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LIFE Church held a course on parenting teenagers recently, which 40 parents attended.
Parents watched a Focus on the Family DVD, led by expert Rob Parsons, and engaged in discussion.
“Over the past 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to parents all over the world. One topic I am asked about more than anything else is teenagers­,” said Parsons.

He encouraged parents to learn to get them through those turbulent teenage years. His first tip to parents was to lay down the guilt.
“Sometimes it can feel as though we are the only ones who are struggling. We feel we must be the worst parents on the face of the Earth, with the worst behaved children, but that is not true - you are not alone.

“When they are toddlers, build up the respect and admiration they will have for you while they are still young. Most importantly, say what you mean and mean what you say. If you keep telling your child to pick up his toys over and over, they most likely won’t listen to you, so there must be consequences for them not listening to you,” Parsons said.

He advised parents to pick as few battles as possible.
“I urge you to discipline together as parents. When mom sends the child to bed early, dad, don’t go and lie with the child and say ‘your mom drives me crazy too’.”

Parsons said the second myth is that parents believe they got through the teenage years and so should our teenagers.
“It is a different world and there are many pressures on the modern teenager that previous generations simply did not have to face. If we were bullied at school, at least we could go home to a safe environment. Our children can’t as they can be plagued on social media. It is much harder to be a teenager, and for that reason, to be the parent of a teenager,” he said.

The last myth is “it is just teenagers being difficult”.
“We have always blamed hormones in the past, but much of the difficult behaviour we see in teenagers is down to a physical change in their brain which occurs around puberty. Thank goodness it is temporary,” said Parsons. He said teenagers are literally a work in progress, we just need to get them through.

For further information visit www.familylife.com or call Life Church on 031 903 7539.

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