Preparing Your Teens for…

A central part of my calling as a pastor is equipping others to integrate what they believe with what they do.  Sometimes (a.k.a. a whole lot of the time) this means what I talk to others about is what I am currently learning… how the Lord is currently shaping me.  So as I observe my oldest entering the teenage years, I find myself identifying more and more with the rest of

the parents who have a child in the youth group.  So… as I look to learning how to shepherd the small flock living under my roof, I’ve come across this solid parenting resource.  Alex Chediak has written a book that has some fantastic nuggets of wisdom that are seated in some very engaging “conversations” revolving around the topics of character, faith, relationships, finances, academics, and the college decision.  For instance, his discussion of “over-parenting” versus “under-parenting” and the resident dangers that each contains is all very good, but he  really hits the nail on the head in the portions that draw out the deleterious effects of parents who allow their young adults to have an unadmonished high self-esteem all while being underachievers.  Chediak says, “Confidence and self-esteem grow in proportion to the expectations of others and actual accomplishments (p.15).” 

Chediak’s “conversation starters” at the end of each chapter are designed to treat the teenage son or daughter with the dignity of an adult all while trying to draw them out to see how they are struggling.  The conversation starters about the topic discussed above includes things like, on one hand, inviting your teenager to tell you how they think you’re doing with the whole under-parenting vs. over-parenting thing.  But on the other hand, there’s a suggested conversation starter aimed at identifying areas of needed growth in your teenager’s life.  This kind of give and take is the life blood of any mature relationship, which is precisely what we are inviting our teenagers to enter into.  Ultimately, Chediak’s book, though aimed at the parent who is preparing their young adult to engage the college chapter of life in a faithful manner, is good for any parent trying to prepare their child for life as an independent, Christian adult.

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