"Why didn't you do your chores?"
"Are you listening to me?"
"Stop freaking out! I'll get to it!"
If any of that sounds familiar, then you are not alone. All too often, those very things are heard in our home. We give directions, allow the children time to make the right choice and obey, come back to find they haven't chosen to obey, nag, question, lecture, and threaten to remove privileges. The kids respond with defensiveness, excuses, and blame-shifting. Soon we have two angry sides, instead of a family working together.
Unfortunately, if we're truly being honest with ourselves, it isn't just the kids that need to change. We need to change the way we guide them, talk to them, and discipline them. We need to focus on reaching their hearts and not just on their outward compliance. But how do we change our own parenting? What specific actions do we need to take?
The accompanying workbook includes discussion questions for teens, as well as the parents. These lessons are not just targeted at the teens, but discuss ways that both parents and teens can improve. There are sixteen Life Success Principles that are practical and Biblically-based.
When my teens first saw the family dramas, they tried to turn them into a joke. They wanted to laugh about the teens fighting with parents, and the things that were said. We were able to get them past that by asking them to point out problems on both sides of the parent-child interactions. Allowing them to honestly and respectfully discuss ways that parents contribute to the problem, and humbly accepting their thoughts opens up a trust-channel that lets them hear your constructive criticism, as well. The goal is to improve the family team and open up discussions that change the heart, not just fix the child's behavior.
I will be honest. This can be hard for parents. We want to point out our child's disobedience and disrespect, but we don't easily accept them pointing out our faults. If used appropriately, with mutual respect and a teamwork approach, this can change your family dynamics. We are still working through the materials, but I am learning a lot. We have taken parenting classes in the past and joked that we needed one for parenting teens. Well, here it is.
These lessons are not one-time fixes. Our kids may still continue to struggle or make poor choices. We will fall back into nagging or angry lectures, as parents. But these lessons give us a reference point for continued discussion and discipleship, and continued change. It is an ongoing process.
The family-use version costs $79.95 to download, or $99.95 (plus shipping) if you want to buy a physical copy. There are also packages available for churches or other groups, and more information can be found at the National Center for Biblical Parenting .