Parents of Teenagers: Use Love, Faith and Hope
By Dave Pipitone
Modern television broadcasts countless sitcoms detailing the lives around parenting teenagers. More often than not, thes shows are comedies that keep everyone laughing while the fictional parents go insane by trying to deal with hormonal teens gripped in the throes of another melodramatic situation. It is all fun and games until they turn to the side and realize they have "one of them" sitting right there. That is when a parent needs the three strands of love, faith and hope.
Being the parent of a teenager is a lot different than having an elementary aged child, toddler or an infant. There are a different set of problems that are very age specific that each parent must eventually face. There is no avoiding it; countless parents have wished it could be so.
Parenting teenagers and small children all have one basic commonality. Both require a set of rules and limitations. Talking with other parents of young adults can help learn what has worked and what has not.
When parenting teens, moms and dads can be effective by using faith, hope and love. Faith realizes that although necessary, painful changes are taking place, teens will get through the time of change and become servant leaders who will make a positive difference through their lives.
Hope envisions that the growing process will result in new life for everyone that brings about a better future. Love gives parents the power to be present to their teens moment-by-moment during happy and sad times.
Three of the most trying situations for parents of teenagers are smoking, drinking alcohol and substance abuse. Laws in most cities prohibit smoking and drinking beneath the age of twenty one. This is to protect children from harm. Effective parents owe it to their children to enforce these laws.
Parenting classes and magazines advise that most teens seek rules even if they do not outwardly show it. Telling teens to avoid using cigarettes or drugs and alcohol is a way to express your love. Letting them know what is okay and what is wrong gives them mature guidance in choices they must make.
Loving teens goes beyond expressing physical affection. Any parent of a teen can attest that expressing physical affection is a hit and miss situation. Teens want their own autonomy and are easily embarrassed in front of their friends if a parent wants to hug or kiss them. It is nothing personal. It is just a phase and it will pass. The important thing is to let them know that they are loved regardless of their actions.
There is help for parenting teenagers. There are many parents groups on the internet or locally that can help deal with difficult issues. They can be used for simple advice or even for serious issues. There is always hope no matter how dire the situation seems. It requires patience and an open mind to outside help.
It may seem difficult and dire but things can get better. Connecting with God through prayer provides peace of mind and gives the love for your teenager to invite him or her to remember your family's values.
It is not just parenting rights that exist, teens have rights as well. Teenagers should be allowed to express themselves within reason and always while maintaining respect. That is where the strands of love, faith and hope come in. They have the right to a safe household. They have the right to happiness and love. They have the right to a quality education and to have their needs met.
This may not mean the newest iPod but it means that they have food, shelter, clothing and protection from those that would harm them. Parenting teenagers is a grand adventure and one that can turn out with a very happy ending. Love, faith and hope will help you get there.
Parents of teenagers use prayer to connect with God and teenagers. A useful resource is available by using a My 3 Strands Parents Dedication Card set to recall the gifts of love, faith and hope.