I'm learning to be better at making our home a welcoming place, but how about you?  Are you more concerned with what your house looks like than the celebration of the relationships?  Are you more concerned that your kids don't put their feet up on the coffee table or their elbows on the dinner table than them having a relaxing time with them?" Are you more concerned with the cleanliness of your home than having a fun time making a mess together? Do you not do some things together because the work to clean up is just not worth the time you can spend together?

Our homes are usually a reflection of who we really are. And our expectations for our homes are usually a reflection or extension of what we want for our teens.  Remember this…a stale and unwelcoming home usually houses stale and unwelcoming relationships.

A few small changes in the way that you operate your home these last few weeks of the year can make your home more welcoming for your teen; turning it from a place or stress to a place of rest.  It's not your rules that will cause stress; it is when there is poor communication, excessive lecturing, bickering, and unnecessary fighting.  So, bite your tongue, count to ten, go for a walk, or whatever you do to will help prevent lashing out at your kids with something you'll regret.

December 16, 2010

Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, national radio host, and the founder of Heartlight, a therapeutic boarding school for struggling adolescents, where he lives with 50 high schoolers. Call 903-668-2173.