Parenting Teens Blog

Parenting Teens Online Class: Teens in Crisis

Dear Parents,

One of the hardest things for a parent is to watch your child hurt. Whether it’s the pain of a bumped knee at 2 years old, the pains of a first broken heart in second grade, or the pain of disappointment because they didn’t make the high school basketball team, it all hurts to watch.
Do you know why? It’s because we can’t fix it. We can’t make the world right for our teens and that is a really hard truth to swallow!

What is sometimes even harder is when that pain is caused by the teenager themselves. The decisions and choices they make can often introduce heartache into your family.

I want to encourage you! I want to tell you that you have done a good job raising that teenager. I want you to know that your teenager’s choices do not reflect whether or not you are a good parent! It is so easy to own our kids choices, good or bad. But they are our teenagers’ choices. Not yours and not mine.

And when they make the wrong ones, and they will, show them grace. That’s what our Heavenly Father does for us. Show them mercy and forgiveness. Allow them to bear the consequences for their choices without rescuing them. Basically, show them unconditional love no matter what!

It sure was easier when they were two with a hurt knee.

Here’s a quick video to encourage those of you who are struggling with this:


“The sun’ll come out…tomorrow…bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun!” That song from the Broadway show “Annie” never ceases to put a smile on my face. Now sometimes it looks more like a grimace, but that depends on how bad the day actually is! And as the parent of a teenager sometimes this is all you have to hold on to. The sun does come up the next day no matter what you are dealing with today. And in that there is hope!

And that hope is the gift that God gives us each day as we walk with our teens. No matter what you are going through right now, no matter how grim or hopeless it may seem, God gives us unquenchable hope in Him. Not in each other or in our ability to control circumstances but hope in Him.

If you are in crisis with your teenager right now, hope can seem pretty far away. You are probably weary and discouraged. Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint!” Oh how we, as parents, need that! Renewed strength, refreshed spirits, determined hope!
When we hurt for or because of our teens, know there is hope. When our teens hurt, show them that hope!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” Colossians 1:27
  • When your #teen hurts, listen, listen, listen! #goodidea
  • Crisis doesn’t last forever, it just feels like it. Hang on!
  • Close your eyes, click your heels three times and say, “there’s no place like hope!”
  • When it gets to be too much, hide…in Him! #Psalms32:7
  • Write your #teen a note today telling them you love them!
  • Look in the mirror and see a really great parent!
  • Encourage another parent today with some of the encouragement God has given you!
  • “The sun’ll come out tomorrow!” Don’t forget there can be a purpose in the clouds!
  • Let God encourage you today so that you can encourage your teen!

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:

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –

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Parenting Teens Online Class: Shared Hobby

Dear Parents,

I want to encourage you to begin something new in your relationship with your teenager. Shake off the staleness of the same ole’ day in and day out and start fresh! A great way to do that is to find a hobby that you can share with your teen. Something you both can become passionate about!

And that means asking your teenager their opinion on this! What do they like, what do you like, what are their interests, and what are yours? Write them all down and then find a common thread that you can work with.

There is something powerful in watching a son and his dad play golf together, or a mom and her daughter go hiking together or a parent and their teen reading the same book while they share coffee at a coffee shop together.

God has given us a very valuable gift and it is called time. Psalms 31:15 says, “My times are in Your hand…” I know that time is hard to come by with all of the commitments that we have.

Think of how much more valuable our time would be if we took it out of our hands and placed it in God’s by creating a time that we could share with our teenager … a time that you could get to know each other as individuals by sharing a hobby. A hobby is so much more than doing something that is fun. It is creating an avenue where relationship can blossom!

Here’s a quick video filled with more encouragement for you:


I know raising a teenager is hard work. Probably harder than you ever thought possible sometimes! And when some of you read the first section of this email, you probably thought finding a hobby that you could agree on with your teenager was next to impossible let alone putting it into practice! But I want to just encourage you not to quit trying!

You may have even asked your teenager what they thought about sharing a hobby with you and all you got was the usual eye roll and grunt! But can I just share with you what you have already accomplished by just asking them about it?

You have given them value! You have said, “I think you are interesting enough that I want to figure out how to spend time with you outside of our normal lives!” You have let them know that in our time-starved world, you choose them. You choose to invest money, time, and effort into their lives.

That’s big! And that is just communicated because you asked them what they thought of the idea? Can you imagine what it says to them when you actually follow through and find a hobby that you can share together?! It could be a game changer in your relationship with your teenager!

One of the things that I love to study about Jesus is how He gave value to his disciples and followers by just spending time with them. He listened to their thoughts and knew what they loved. He cared about how they felt and what they knew.

Finding a hobby is not just about finding something fun that you and your teen can enjoy together. It is about…

Getting to know this amazing individual that is growing into an adult that one day will be your friend.

Allowing them to get to know you as an individual with tastes and dreams and wishes.

Giving them a safe place to put this crazy world aside for a few hours.

Telling them that you love them through actions because we all know that our words don’t always make it past the cell phone they happen to be texting on.

Encouraging them to learn what they love and can be passionate about no matter the labels they may wear at school or even home.

Even teaching them about God’s creative side through all the things He has put in this world for us to enjoy!

And we thought hobbies were just time wasters. Hobbies can actually be the memories that we make with our teens that they will always remember!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • What hobbies did you enjoy at that age? Do your teens?
  • Psalms 31:15a “My times are in your hands…”
  • Hobbies can create fantastic memories, especially if shared.
  • Hobbies are a tool. Relationship can be the result.
  • Video games, texting, and friends. #teenhobbies Candy crush, worry, and exhaustion. #adulthobbies
  • We need to teach our #teens how to live and not just exist! Do we know the difference?
  • What would your teen pick if you gave them a list of hobbies to choose from?
  • What would you choose if your teenager gave you a list of hobbies to choose from?
  • Compile your hobby lists and pick 3 that you can agree on and go see which one works! #soundsfun
  • A shared hobby speaks a language that says “I love you” and “I want to spend time with you!” #foreignlanguage

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:

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –

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Parenting Teens Online Class: Lines of Communication

Dear Parents,

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:


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • 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:

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –

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Parenting Teens Online Class: Listening

Dear Parents,

Do you remember Charlie Brown’s teacher or grandmother or whatever adult happened to be on the other end of that telephone line with him? The only conversation we ever heard Charlie Brown have with them was punctuated with “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah…” as the adults response to him. Do you feel that it is also all your teenager hears when you speak? Wah, wah, wah!

Let me ask you a question you may have never considered. Do our teenagers think that is all we hear when they try to talk to us? Hmmm. Hadn’t thought of that? Couldn’t possibly be! Here is a great test to see if that is true. After your teen talks, do you start your part with the phrase, “Yes, but….”? If so, that means you probably haven’t listened. You have spent the time that they were talking formulating a response, or an answer, or even a brilliant idea that they just have to hear since it is coming from parental wisdom!

I think you probably have many of the answers to so many of your teens questions and problems. You have experience and age on your side! But sometimes the best lessons your teen will ever learn, and the lessons that stick the hardest are the ones that they learn themselves. Without the correct answer, but with the listening ear of their biggest fan. You!

Often we beg God to make our teen just listen. How about we, as parents, first ask Him to give us an ear, not just to hear, but to listen!

The next part of this week’s online parenting class is a short video that furthers the conversation.  I’d love to hear what you think of it:

Please take a moment to watch this:


I don’t know why it rocks my socks when scripture just, straight up, says how we are to parent very specifically.  This week’s video speaks of the verse in Proverbs that says, “The one who gives an answer before he listens – this is foolishness and disgrace for him!” See what I mean?

We are talking about really listening!

Listen when your teen yells!

Listen when they laugh!

Listen when they say things that seem to have no importance whatsoever!

Listen when they are silent. Sometimes you will hear the most at these times!

Our teens are tired of being lumped all together as individuals who are all rebellious, and smart alecks, and hard to get along with. They are mostly tired of being treated like children.

Is that why we have such a hard time listening to our teenager? Do we still see that first grader who needed us, or the third grader who didn’t want to go on the field trip without us, or that fifth grader who still wanted us to tuck them in and pray with them at night?

You have done a great job of training up your teenager in the ways of God. You are not quite done, though. This step is just as important as all the others. By listening to them, you are teaching them how to listen to Him. Trust that God has allowed you to plant many truths deep inside that precious teen. The only way to know is to truly listen even if that means you give no answer!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • To listen is to concentrate on. Don’t dilute it with sighs or rolling of the eyes!#teenlanguage
  • You have two ears and one mouth. You should listen twice as much as you speak! #grandmasayings
  • The one who gives an answer before he listens – this is foolishness and disgrace for him. Proverbs 18:13
  • Choose today to just listen. Maybe tomorrow it will be easier! #goodchoices
  • Ask your teenager for ways to listen. You might be surprised at their answer!
  • Listening is an art that needs to be practiced!
  • How do you define a good listener? Make a list and then see how you rank!
  • It takes a great man to be a good listener! Calvin Coolidge
  • The word “listen” contains the same letters as the word “silent”! #shhhhh
  • Being heard is so closed to being loved,…that they are almost indistinguishable! Augsburger

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.

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –

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