Don't get me wrong: My daughters were my pride and joy, and I tried every way I could to be the perfect dad. I was clumsy and always seemed to be "saying it wrong." I give God and their mom all the credit for the amazing, godly young ladies they were and are today.
During those turbulent and often disillusioning days, all I knew to do was spend time with my girls.
If I was speaking at a youth rally, there was a place for my kids on the team coordinating the event. Guide your teen in setting his own goals; then investigate ways for him to gain skill and experience.
The media were telling them to have fun through sex, drugs and alcohol; peers were telling them that parents were no longer relevant.
I wanted to earn a hearing by being the person my kids loved hanging out with the most. But before you know it, the process will be a joy — because you'll really enjoy this person you're coming to know.
Remember — the days can seem long, but the years are short. How do you walk alongside a kid who may not even like the idea? I can see them running up and down the frets of a guitar." "Well, I'm not interested in music," he replied.
Walking alongside happens when we step into our teens' shoes and see life from their perspective. Here are some good ways to discover how to walk alongside your son or daughter. him, rather than just cheering him on from the stands. But by the time he was a college freshman, Brady wanted a guitar.
Fortunately, that turned out to be the key to the relationship I wanted so badly. I had to follow her rules, though: When I tried to change the pace (a mistake I only made once) or tried to give unsolicited advice (probably more than once), I was quickly corrected and reminded of "the rules." I still look back on those early morning "joggers" as some of the most important hours I'll ever spend in my life. To rejoice when there's something to rejoice about.
My connecting point with daughter Courtney was on her early morning jogs. That's when I learned how vital it is to walk (or run) alongside our teens. When we walk alongside our teens, we usually need to follow their rules. We're choosing to actively participate in their world.
Don't use it for lecturing, criticism, or manipulating your teen with God's Word.
With those ground rules, your teen can look forward to spending time with you. It's not Sunday school; it's your set-apart time, your quiet time, your sanctuary. When I ran errands, I'd invite one of my teens to come along.
It was gorgeous, safe, and surprisingly inexpensive (canoes rented for just a day). Look for classes in a foreign language, dance, art, computer software. My oldest daughter and I went on a one-week mission trip to Trinidad when she was 13, and it was the best thing we've ever done together.