On The Jeffrey Dean Show last week, our EMAIL OF THE NIGHT was from Jason, a dad to three girls. He recently sent me a detailed letter about one daughter, his youngest, who seems to be pulling away fast. He wrote:
“Our first two daughters have always talked with their mother and me about everything. We have a close, special connection. But it hasn’t been the same with our youngest, Megan. We are finding it harder and harder to communicate with her. We used to be so close, but now that she is in middle school, it feels like she has just pulled away more and more. My heart is breaking over what’s going on in our home. We will take just about any advice you have.”
Can you relate? I believe many parents can. As our kids grow, mature and exercise their independence, it can feel like we, as parents, are no longer needed. But, nothing can be further from the truth. And, we can’t allow the culture or our kids to convince us otherwise. Whether your son or daughter realizes it or not, they need you as much now as ever before!
Mastering the art of communication takes time. And, it takes work. If you are a parent of more than one child, then you probably understand what Jason was saying in his email. You know that what is effective with one may not necessarily be with the other. Preparation is an integral step toward improved communication. Taking time before you talk may be just what you need to organize your thoughts and help you develop a plan of action.
On The Jeffrey Dean Show, we have 5 Foundational Truths for Parents that we live and die by as it relates to parenting.
Foundational Truth #2: Your teen wants an involved parent.
They may not always show it, but it’s true. If you have not communicated in the past with your teen, as you have desired, then this is a time for you to better prepare yourself. Taking the time to prepare your thoughts will help you to take full advantage of a door of opportunity for communication when it begins to open.
The rule of thumb here is to know what you want to say—and why you want to say it—before you say it. Ask yourself questions such as these:
- If conversations in the past have ended poorly, what might I modify about my approach?
- Is there a specific topic I need to approach with them but have been avoiding?
- Has God placed a burden on my heart that He wants me to discuss with them, but as of yet, I have not? If so, how will I accomplish this? When? Where?
- If I want to say something to them, what is my interest in doing so? What’s the goal here?
God has called you to be a parent ready and willing to communicate His truths to your teen. At the same time, there is a world fighting to convince you that you are neither worthy nor capable of this calling. There is a Psalm that serves as a great reminder to all parents to,
“Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him.”
Psalm 37:7 GWT
It’s the word “surrender” I want to bring to your attention. The writer of this Psalm begins by reminding us that surrender is often critical to success in life.
Sometimes applying such a principal is easier said than done, right! If you are having a difficult time communicating with your teen, stop right now and take your communication concerns to God. I am a huge advocate of practical praying – approaching God practically just as you do with any other relationship in your life.
Here is a prayer of surrender I wrote for you:
I know that my situation with my teen is of no surprise to you. I also know that you have created me to be a parent. Right now I surrender our entire situation to you. I can’t do it without your strength. So, I am asking for you to completely lead me as I strive to be the parent my child needs and the parent you have made me to be.
Your situation is no surprise to God. He wants you to know that no matter how difficult or discouraging it all is, He has a plan to use you as a voice of truth to speak into the life of your teen.
Perhaps the lines of communication between you and your son/daughter are working right now. Great! However, hold on, things can turn on a dime.
Here is a prayer of surrender I wrote for you:
Thank you for giving my child to me. I need your guidance every step of the way. I want to surrender our relationship to you. I know there is an enemy who wants to destroy our relationship, so I pray for your protection over our relationship.
Teach me to be a parent that honors you as I lead them.
The Jeffrey Dean Show airs live every Saturday night from 9-11 pm CST. In Nashville, listen on Super Talk 99.7 WTN.
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