I DON'T DO TEENAGERS ◽ HOME
Disappointments happen to our teens. Just this spring season, our graduates weren’t able to attend their ceremonies because of a world pandemic. Our teens weren’t able to finish out their sports seasons, go swimming with friends, or even have a birthday party or sleepover. Lots of firsts have happened this year, and there was no way that we – their parents – could have seen it coming.
However, hasn’t it been amazing to see how creative parents and people have become? Drive by parties with signs in windows, creative walks in neighborhoods, and zoom gatherings on line! All of those have been wonderful, but I know there are still teens (and moms) who are so disappointed in missed celebrations.
How do we handle disappointments with our teenagers? It doesn’t help to just tell them to stuff it, to remind them of the starving children in Africa, or to cry and try to make it all up to them by going broke with electronics or other gadgets to ease their pain.
First of all, it’s good to talk about it. Teens and talking are sometimes only paired up with their peers, but teens and talking with parents is so important! Talking out feelings with parents that are non-judgmental but wise is a good thing. Listen to their disappointments without criticism. Sometimes the listening does the healing.
Secondly, remind them that many of the psalms were written by David, who poured his heart out to God continually, and then he eventually turned his sorrow into worship. Invite them to read Psalm 142-144 and see how David turns his lament into praise.
Thirdly, take your teen on a date or out for ice cream and lay back and look at the stars, giving thanks to God the Creator for at least 10 good things. Gratitude always helps lift our moods and spirits!
Fourth, pray together with your teen. Ask God to heal the hurt that came from loss of celebration or connection with their friends. Model a prayer with them, or just invite them to pray out loud. (This is great training for when they become parents!)
Finally, be patient. Offer an ear and a hand, should your teen need to talk further. When you’re alone, pray for your children and ask God to speak to them…so that they learn to hear his voice for themselves.
And smile really big when they come to you, to share what they’ve heard or how they’ve let it go, and picked up contentment instead…
(It’s not an easy formula to handle teens and their disappointments. It takes practice and modeling in front of them, and lots of love. The best thing we can do is open the door for God to speak and for them to listen…)