Do you remember the story in Luke 1 when the angel appeared to the priest, Zechariah, to tell him that he and his elderly wife, Elizabeth, would have a son and name him John? Zechariah doubtfully questioned the angel, and swift consequences followed. His ability to speak was taken from him until the day of his son’s birth. Why is that important? Zechariah’s ability to communicate clearly with people was removed and they had no clear idea what had happened. Is that happening today?
Here is another way to ask this question. Do you know what ROFL, 831, 9, BWL mean? If not, then our teen’s style of communication and our style is very different. These are considered texting shorthand. And this is why our teens must know how important real communication is. For those of us who are a little uninformed when it comes to texting shorthand, the following is a list of the definitions of the above shorthand:
ROFL – rolling on floor laughing
831 – I love you
9 – parent watching
BWL – bursting with laughter
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to have a conversation with your teen when they won’t even make eye contact because they are glued to the screen of their phone or tablet. Or are we the culprit? Do we immerse ourselves in the digital world to the point that our teens can’t get OUR attention?
We are going to be talking about opening those lines of communication with our teen this month. And we can either make technology work for us or against us. How about we WTO (win this one)! Made that one up all by myself.
Here’s a quick video filled with more encouragement for you: https://goo.gl/y6KonP
Communication with your teen is vitally important to the health of your relationship! But communication is changing as fast as your teen is!
I want to give you a few ideas to help you with this very important issue.
- Sit down with your teen and talk with them and not to them. They want to know that you are really listening to what they say and not what you think they are saying.
- Agree that yelling is not allowed. You can’t yell at them and they can’t yell at you. It shuts you both down and makes you feel undervalued and disrespected.
- Don’t just “lay down the law” about cell phone and computer use! Allow your teenager to have input. For example, your teen can text while doing homework, but no cell phone is allowed within ten feet of the dinner table.
- Agree to never argue through texting. There is no way in the world you can know what the other person is saying unless you can at least hear tone of voice.
There are sooo many other ideas, but these should get you rolling.
It is vitally important that you teach your teenager that communication is not with the fingers on a keypad, but it is tone of voice and hand gestures and wise choice of words.
Remember, Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word spoken at the right time is like golden apples on a silver tray.” But unless we teach our teens about real communication, they will not know how to truly appreciate this verse!
- Speak more with your actions than your words. #notalwayseasy
- Words are only painted fire. A look is the fire itself! Mark Twain
- Write your teen a note. #saywhatyoumean
- Ask your teen what they think communication looks like. #differentanswers
- Send 3 encouraging texts to your teen today!
- They really do hear you. Just don’t tell them you know
- Whisper when you want to yell. They have to listen harder!
- The most important thing about communication is hearing what isn’t said! Peter Drucker
- Your face, not just your eyes, are a window to your soul. Let your teen see it! #vulnerability
- Prayer, the most important communication of all! #prayforyourteen
Feel free to forward this email to other parents of teenagers and have them email me if they would like to join our online parenting class.
If you want to see previous issues you can view them here: http://blog.churchoftherock.ca/tag/parenting-teens-online-class
Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) – email@example.com
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) – firstname.lastname@example.org