Teens - Christian Parent

Archive for the ‘Teens’ Category

Quality Time With Your Teen


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It’s sometimes difficult to find ways to be involved with your teen without totally intruding in his/her life. You want to talk to them, they don’t want to talk to you (most of the time anyway). I’ve found the best way to connect with my teenage daughter is to enter her world and do the things she likes to do. There’s a saying that if you want to understand your child’s world you have to play with them, no matter how old they are.

You don’t always have to be even directly interacting with your teen in order to be involved in their world. Just being around the same influences they are, and taking an interest in their activities, lets them know that you care and that you understand what they deal with from day to day. Then later, at home, you can talk about the things you have experienced together. It’s a great way to connect. Here are some ways my teenage daughter and I have spent time together:

- My daughter was involved in a music group that did a lot of fundraising that required a lot of involvement by the parents. At first I was really resistant to the time involved, but I soon realized how much fun it was to hang out with my daughter and the other teens and their parents.

- School activities are another great way to be involved in your child’s life, at any age. When they’re younger there’s field trips, class parties, etc., you can be involved with, but when they get older there are activities like school plays that parents are a very important part of. I’ve helped sell tickets, worked at the bake sale…where I didn’t even spend time with my daughter at all, but it meant a lot to her that I was there supporting her.

- Attending sporting events is also important to your child. When they get older it seems like they don’t really care if you’re there or not, but it is important to them even if they don’t say so. It makes them feel like you care about what they do.

- Helping my daughter with school projects has been a great way for us to spend time together. She gets to do the hard part of doing all the research and writing, and then I do the fun part of helping her put it all together in the end. Even with older teens, most of them don’t particularly enjoy doing all this work by themselves, even if you know they’re completely capable of it. I don’t do the work for her, just help her by giving her feedback on her ideas and giving her a hand. Often beforehand even I will go to the library with her and help her sort through reference materials. I know it means a lot to her, especially when she’s doing a huge project and is completely overwhelmed.

- Another way I’ve been involved with my daughter is to be a youth leader in her church youth group. Again, I am not actually spending time with her there most of the time, but I am experiencing the same things she’s experiencing and it’s giving us something in common that we can both relate to and discuss. Those times together have been very meaningful.

As you can see, not all of these activities involve me actually talking to and hanging out with my daughter. You know as well as I do that our teens don’t always want us hanging around them. I’m happy for the time I do get to spend with my daughter, for the little time I have left with her. When we have things in common my daughter is much more likely to talk to me and share her feelings with me. When I don’t know what she experiences, it is very hard for me to relate what she is going through. These shared experiences have opened up many more opportunities for us to share and connect that we wouldn’t otherwise have.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.Christian-Parent.com

13 Ways to Spend Time With Your Teenage Daughter


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The older my daughter gets the more it’s sinking in that I don’t have much time left to spend with her! She’s turning 16 in a couple of months, and I know I won’t be seeing her much after she gets her driver’s license.

It’s hard to find things to do with your teenage daughter. You might be busy, they might have better things to do…I encourage you not to let this time slip away from you. Our interests may be very different from theirs, but there’s always things you can do to bridge the gap.

If you have more than one daughter, then make sure they each get their special time alone with you. I have found that these activities are also great for bonding with teens you want to reach out to and build relationships with, like a step-daughter.

I’ve done all of the following activities with my daughter and/or step-daughter and haven’t regretted a moment. Someday I will be able to look back and appreciate the moments we shared, and I hope they will too.

1. Take your dog(s) on a walk together.

2. Cook dinner together, letting her choose the menu and help shop for the ingredients.

3. Pick her up from school and take her out to lunch, even if she misses part of a class.

4. Drive to the closest big city for the night, stay in a hotel, and spend all the next day shopping and sightseeing, taking time to stop for lunch at an outdoor cafe.

5. Read the same book together and talk about it when you’re done reading it.

6. Do a scriptural book study together.

7. Get up early on a Saturday morning, go get coffee, and spend the morning going to yard sales or looking through thrift shops or dollar stores.

8. Make cookies together to give to a friend.

9. Make holiday gifts together to give to friends and family. Visit http://www.crafty-moms.com for easy craft ideas.

10. Go with your daughter to the concert of her choice.

11. Buy her the materials to start a high school scrapbook. Work on your scrapbooks while she works on hers.

12. Join a local fitness club and work out together. My daughter and I joined a local women’s gym that is very inexpensive ($40/month for both of us). We get up at 5:00 a.m. three days a week to go exercise before she goes to school and I go to work.

13. Go to the local video store and rent a couple of “chick flicks” to enjoy together in the comfort of your home. Kick the men out of the house and lounge around in your pajamas.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.Christian-Parent.com

Organizing Your Teen Daughter for School


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It’s almost time for school to start again, and time for one of my most unfavorite activities…school shopping with my teenage daughter.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter, and we have a lot of fun hanging out together. But I hate shopping. I avoid it whenever possible. If you have a teenage daughter in middle school or the first couple years of high school, then you understand that it’s not quite yet time to let them shop alone.

I’m sure I’m not the only mom unhappy about fashion styles these days, especially the fashions being advertised to young teen girls. Shopping for them is truly a challenge. I think for now, however, we have managed to somehow get my daughter ready for school.

Every year before we go school shopping, we go through my daughter’s bedroom. We go through all of her clothes, both in her dresser and in her closet. Anything she knows she’s not going to wear goes into a pile. Old underwear gets thrown away, and holey socks are discarded. It’s time to start making a list of what she needs for the new school year.

The next pile we go through is her shoes. Some get thrown away, some get put in the pile to give away, and some can be polished up with a bit of shoe polish and a soft cloth.

After we finish going through the clothes, we put them into bags to give them to a women’s or teen shelter, or give them to a friend who doesn’t mind hand-me-down’s.

Then we head off to the store. I hate shopping at the mall. I avoid it whenever possible because of the high prices. I forget sometimes, however, that they do actually occasionally have good sales. My daughter knows her clothing budget is limited, so we compromise on getting a couple of good pairs of jeans (on sale), and then spending less on tops and other accessories. And while we’re on the subject of jeans, I always have my daughter show me how her jeans fit before we buy them. No jeans that are so low-waisted you can’t bend over in them.

We also have a hard time finding shirts that fit. My daughter is a little larger in the chest than other girls her age, and she has a hard time finding shirts that fit her. We have found that at the mall, in general, all of the shirts, even size “large”, don’t even come close to fitting her! What they’re calling large looks like “small” to me. Once in awhile we hit the jackpot, though, and this year it was at Target. We found 4 or 5 tops (this time the large was really “large”), and she loved them. After the 100% cotton “large” is washed, it will fit her perfectly, and we’re both happy.

We accessorized her outfits with a couple of belts, and now she’s all set. When we got home and I started washing the clothes, I realized her room still wasn’t off to a fresh start for school. Out came all the throw blankets, pillow cases, and everything else in her room that is washable. Tomorrow we’ll put it all back and she’ll get her clothes all organized for school, trying to decide what she’ll wear on the first day of her sophomore year of high school.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.Christian-Parent.com

Babysitting and Your Teenager


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Babysitting has changed a lot since I was a teenager. My mom didn’t worry about checking out the families I babysat for and spent time with. Maybe things were safer then, but then again maybe not. Maybe she should have worried more. As it was, I was very lucky that nothing really bad ever happened to me. Just a couple of close calls.

I remember one time smelling something strange in a house where I was babysitting. I didn’t realize until I was much older that the smell was marijuana. At the time I had my suspicions, but I was too young to understand what was going on. I never told my mom. I have friends that were molested while they were babysitting, by people they didn’t know. They never told their parents either.

I don’t mean to scare you. Well, I guess I kind of do. Do you personally know who your teen is babysitting for? Fortunately for my husband and I, we became Christians before our daughter was old enough to babysit. At one time I would have thought differently about the families we chose to let our daughter spend time with.

That’s not to say our daughter couldn’t babysit for a non-Christian family, or that all Christian families are safe. Our daughter’s safety is first and foremost in our minds. What’s most important is being at least acquainted with the family beforehand, and making an informed decision on whether your teen should be babysitting for them.

As our daughter has ventured into the world of babysitting, there have been many unexpected benefits. The most obvious being the significant increase in her spending money. Much to her dismay, my husband and I feel very strongly about having children work for their money. Our daughter receives a small allowance in exchange for doing a few household chores. Babysitting has become her most significant source of income.

Our daughter is an only child. She misses not having a little brother or sister, and she can’t at all relate to her friends who would gladly trade places with her. Babysitting has given our daughter a window into another life. Our neighbor has four little girls, ages 7, 5, 4, and 2. Our daughter adores them. Their mother has taken an interest in her and talks to her a lot about the girls, and about being a mom. Their family is very down to earth and provides a wonderful example of what a healthy family should be. In today’s world that’s hard to come by.

Kids learn a lot from their parents about how to have a healthy marriage and how to be good parents (or not). I can’t overemphasize the importance of role models in your teen’s life. Whether you’re Christian or not, you can help choose the adults your teen spends time with. Babysitting is an excellent, first-hand way for your child to spend time with another family, helping them, while also learning lifelong lessons (often without even knowing it).

Give some thought to where you let your teen hang out. If your teen does a lot of babysitting, especially for one family, make sure they’re safe. Better yet, make sure they’re good role models for your child. The more your teen spends quality time with other families and their children, the better parent your teen will someday be.

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.Christian-Parent.com

Praying With Your Teen


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I don’t remember my parents ever praying with me. It wasn’t until I was a parent myself, and a born again believer, that I realized one of the outward signs of a committed Christian is their active prayer life.

Looking back I can now see what I didn’t know then–that my parents had never truly given their lives to the Lord.

Does your teen see you pray? If they don’t, how do they know about your relationship with the Lord so they can model it in their own life?

Praying together makes us vulnerable to each other. We are encouraged to share genuine emotions not easily otherwise expressed. I know especially with my teen daughter, many deep discussions evolve into anger and frustration, often tears, getting to the point where my daughter is so involved in her emotions that she can’t hear me any longer.

I’ve found that in these situations of intense emotion, prayer is often a very effective way to bring perspective to the situation and peace to all concerned. We just sit down and pray.

Family prayer has shown me a depth of character in my husband and daughter I never knew existed. My husband prays for the safety and well being of our family with emotion he normally finds hard to express. My daughter prays for the salvation of friends and family members with such fervency that you wonder how the Lord could possibly ignore such faithful prayer.

You don’t have to pray together every day to have an impact on your teen. We often pray together at dinner, taking turns offering our prayers of thanksgiving for all the Lord has done in our lives.

My daughter and I often pray together when she’s going through a particularly emotional struggle, often the result of spiritual battles she faces as she matures into a young Christian woman.

Being a teen in today’s world isn’t easy. One of the biggest blessings you can give your teen is to pray with them. It shows them you love them and that you care about their spiritual well being (as well as practicing what you preach).

Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For resources for the Christian family, including parenting, toddler and preschool activities, homeschooling, family traditions, and more, visit http://www.Christian-Parent.com

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