giving them space parenting teens adolescents maturing seen with me when to let go letting go giving space

My teens won’t be seen with me!

Does that empty beach chair feel all too familiar? Trust me, I’m no stranger to sitting by an empty chair at church or being a placeholder at an event. I always put on a smile and tell my teens to “go have fun with your friends,” but sometimes it’s not as easy as it looks.

First of all, let me assure you that it’s completely normal. It not you; it’s them! … Here are ten reasons it’s not always a bad thing when your teens don’t want to hang out with you.

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Classmates and Teachers and Subs, Oh My!

by Ann-Margret Hovsepian The first-day-of-school jitters are a distant memory. Your daughter is deep into her extracurricular activities, your son’s sneakers are no longer white and both their lockers look like sets from Storage Wars. But there’s one aspect of school your teens might still be struggling with: the people! You remember what it’s like: The teachers who make students feel like someone is plucking out their eyelashes, one by one. The substitute who makes it very clear he’d rather be taming lions than be stuck in a room full of teenagers. The classmate your teen wishes he or she could lock into the supply room for the rest of the year. The good news is that your teens don’t have to go through the rest of the school year feeling frustrated or dreading certain classes. They can make positive decisions about their attitudes—attitudes that will not only give them peace of mind but also make them a shining light for God. Just as a lighthouse gives hope and guidance to lost ships, your kids can have a powerful influence on their teachers and classmates—even the ones they are convinced are out to get them—by choosing to encourage and pray for them. Here’s Why It’s easy…

4th of july holiday

Labor Day, don’t plan to work forever!

By Steve Repak, the On Family Money Matters Column 1 Thessalonians 4:12 ESV “So that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” What are the reason you labor, or should I say why do you work? You are probably thinking you work in order to earn money so you can feed your family, pay for a place to live, pay for gas so you can go to work, etc… Have you ever thought past your immediate needs and thought longer term? For example, do you plan to work forever? When I was young and naïve, I honestly didn’t think about retirement because I thought I would be dead by then so why even plan for something if I am probably not going to be around for it. Since I am older and hopefully a little wiser, my views have definitely changed regarding wanting to work forever. For example I understand that retirement isn’t an if question, it is a when question. So if I choose not to work forever, there are some things I need to do now so I don’t have too. I have three things for you to consider doing so you may not have…

A casual young woman says a prayer with her hands held together. Shallow DOF, focus on the hands.

Good Intentions & Mom Guilt

By Jennifer Watson We walked into a room filled with people we didn’t know very well. I noticed a wave of anxiety rush over my oldest daughter’s face. The same wave I feel at times, the fearful wave of the unknown. “Mom, I don’t like walking into a room where I don’t know people.” I get it. Words fill my mouth. “Baby, half of the people in this room feel just like you do.”  “You can do this.” She instantly relaxes and within minutes she is talking with a girl a few years older than her with a smile on her face. I smiled and watched her in that stretching place knowing that growth is painfully awkward and wonderful at the same time. Sometimes we forget as parents that our weaknesses give way to a strength we can only find in God. Click To Tweet But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (Matt 11:28 NIV) Everyday we are faced with things that make us uncomfortable and in that stretching place…

How to Balance the Busyness

How to you balance everything? Everything’s screaming at you. You try to do it all. It’s exhausting. Do you feel like you’re barely surviving? You’re not alone. Most of us feel that way.  Is your “good Christian woman” measuring tool the Mom who does it all: She’s a cheerful, non-demanding helpmate to her husband. She’s patient. She’s an organized, creative, and fastidious homemaker. She’s an involved, energetic leader at church. She manages everything efficiently, whether working in or outside the home. At age thirty with three kids, I was successful with my do-it-all-lifestyle. Life was good. Then another baby came. Kids became teenagers. Life happened, and I fell apart. My patience was short and creativity gone. I was angry and irritable. Things looked great on the outside, but I was falling apart. Can you identify? Thankfully, Jesus understands. Did you know God’s Word has the answer to an out-of-control life for moms with kids? Tucked away in Luke 10:38-42, there’s familiar scene between two sisters, Mary and Martha, which chronicles the century-old battle of balanced priorities and busyness. “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister…

On Manners & Civility: Holding the Door

Manners: a characteristic or customary mode of acting Civility: polite, reasonable, and respectful behavior From the Meriam-Webster Dictionary It used to be quite customary for the door to be held open for women with small children and for the elderly. The age-old tradition of holding the door serves as a display of reverence, but the simple act is also of practical value. Women with small children often do not have the extra-hand needed to open the door—especially if the lady is pushing a stroller or toting packages, while elderly members of our society don’t always possess the physical strength to maneuver especially heavy doors. At this season in my life, my hands are often occupied with keeping my eldest child safe, carrying a diaper bag, and pushing a stroller.   I utter a gushing “thank-you” to good Samaritans who hold the door for me. These gallant people make my life much easier! Instruct your teens to always offer to hold the door for a person that is elderly or a woman whose hands are occupied with young children and packages. Kindness and civility are not gender issues.   Both male and female teens can open the door for those in need. Take…

Summer is over and for some, it’s time to pay up!

By Steve Repak, the On Family Money Matters Column Ecclesiastes3:9-10 ESV “What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of many to be busy with.” Vacations are NOT a need but I do believe if you work hard you should be able to play hard as long as you don’t use a credit card to fund your fun. For example, let’s say you are budgeting $2600 for next year’s vacation. If you are paid bi-weekly this works out to be drafting $100 every two weeks to deposit into your vacation saving’s account. If you get paid weekly that would come out to $50 dollars a week. If you do this for an entire year you will have $2,600 to pay for your vacation and not have to rely on a credit card. Work hard; play hard… just don’t fund your fun with a credit card. @SteveRepak Click To Tweet Let’s say you don’t save for vacation and use a credit card instead. That same vacation will take 15 months to pay off and cost you and extra $255 assuming your card charges 15% interest and you pay $200 towards your…

Parenting Teens and Red Flags

By Sherri Wilson Johnson, On Inspiring Purity column My newly-married 21-year-old son almost drowned in a riptide in July while at the beach with his wife and in-laws. Mid-week, they had been swimming on the bay side of the ocean and crossed the street to check out the wide open Gulf only to see the most gorgeous waves my son had ever seen in his life. Without even thinking about what he was doing, he just took off with his boogie board and went straight out into the waves. He was followed by his wife and her siblings and their spouses. It didn’t take long before the current was too strong and everyone but my son and one other returned to the shore. Soon the waves were overtaking him and dragging him under. Eventually, he took the boogie board strap off of his wrist because it was causing him more problems to try to hang on to it. He kept going under and wasn’t able to get his breath before being dragged under again. There were several times he really thought this might be the end for him. Every bit of instruction he’d ever been given about surviving a riptide didn’t matter…

5 Ways to Prepare Middle Schoolers for a New School Year

Brenda Yoder, On Middle School Column As a parent of a middle schooler, both you and your child naturally have fears as a new school year starts. Common fears include: Starting at a new middle school where many elementary schools come together. Being with older children as an incoming sixth or seventh grader. Learning how to undo a lock on a locker. Getting to class on time. Being with multiple teachers Wondering if teachers will connect with your child. Unresolved relationships from last year’s school year. Bullying Peer pressure Hormones Teen drama Harder subjects Friendships Making sports teams Fill in the blank________. Perhaps no other grade levels brings this amount of apprehension. How do you prepare your middle schooler (and you) for a new school year? Here are 5 tips to ease anxiety.  Entering middle school can be terrifying. Here are 5 tips to ease anxiety. #ParentingTeens Click To Tweet 1. Embrace the new school year as a new opportunity. If your teen is starting at a new school where several elementary schools combine, use this as an opportunity for your child to make new friends. If they had a hard time in elementary school because they didn’t have friends with…

Living Spot Free in a Spotted World

Rev. Jason Lane, Man Resumed Column Growing up on Sundays, after the morning service ended, I loved running out the doors of the church to play with my friends.  Without fail my mom would give me a stern warning not to play in the grass or I would get grass stains on my good pants. And without fail it seemed I did not listen! A few minutes later, I was in the church’s bathroom trying to get the grass stain off of my pants.  It never came out and as I walked near my mom she saw the stains and immediately gave me that look. You ruined those pants. While I was in the church building I was safe from the stains that could happen when I went outside to play.  Now that I am a parent I see my mom’s warning as a way to me clean and to keep me from staining my good clothes. I also see this in a much deeper way. As a parent I see a great need to keep my children from not just staining their clothes but from staining their life with the stains of worldly living. This is much easier as long…