Updated: Sep 28
As parents we often make the mistake of looking solely at the external behaviors of our teens. We desire to tackle the outward behavior without considering what might be going on under the surface for your teen. When we are focused on the externals, we are acting like the rest of the world. Superficial.
What if we saw our teens like God does for a moment?
We can take our cue from from God's word in 1 Samuel 16:7. But the Lord said to Samuel,“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
What does it look like to explore their heart? I think the first place we need to begin is with empathy. Empathetic person is able to imagine and put themselves in someone else's shoes. Understanding where the other person is coming from and sharing in their feelings.
We often think we cannot share in someone else's feelings if we don't agree with their position. But that is wrong!
Showing empathy to our teens instead of taking their external behaviors as a personal attack is the beginning of a real relationship with your teen. It lets them know that you have their back and that they are not alone. Showing empathy does not mean we do not have high standards for our teen. It just means that they are not traveling the journey alone.
Let's face it, everyone is being stretched right now in many ways. Uncertainty and the lack of control will trigger in our brains a survival reaction that does not always look pretty.
There is good news! We can control how we react and respond to the triggers before us and learn what is really brewing beneath the surface of your teen's heart.
Simply asking them is not always the best tactic. Often times, our teens have trouble distinguishing what is happening under the surface. As parents we can help them learn to know themselves, manage their own emotions and self regulate when they feel out of control.
It begins with you as a parent. You need to manage your own triggers and emotions before you can help your teen. You know, the airline oxygen mask spiel......yes, it applies here too.
This is what I do....I help parents of teens BE the one to love well! Themselves, others and God so they can empower and encourage those in their influence.
What is your first step towards BEING the One to love well in your home?
PS: I can help you learn how to connect in a respectful and empowering way with your teen! For a FREE breakthrough call: https://bookme.name/LivingFullLifeCoaching/lite/doreen-steenland