Fight for Your Teen’s Life
- Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Jeffrey Dean's new book, The Fight of Your Life: Why Your Teen is at Risk and What Only You Can Do About It (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, 2009).
Your teen is constantly being bombarded with destructive influences from our culture. The attacks include everything from "sexting" and online porn to "pharm parties" and drinking. Even if your teen appears to be doing well now, he or she desperately needs your help to stand against lies and live in a way that reflects the truth. You can't stop the battle being waged daily for your teen's soul, but you can fight on your teen's side.
Here's how you can fight for your teen - and win:
Get into your fighting positions. They are: "the sweeping aside motion" (leaving the past behind and establishing a battle plan for what you're going to do now and in the future to help your teen), "the gritting your teeth gesture" (being willing to do whatever it takes to help your teen, even when you're uncomfortable or scared), "the ultimate power stance" (kneeling to pray for your teen every day), "the open book motion" (learning as much as you can about today's teen culture), and "the deep breath posture" (faithfully taking one step at a time so you can fight with endurance).
Help your teen pursue God. Encourage your teen to spend time with you reading, studying, and discussing the Bible. Pray together about how to apply what you read. Developing an accurate understanding of God - based on His Word - will empower your teen to understand the errors of our culture.
Dream big for your teen. Let go of your own agenda for your teen's life and urge your teen to become all that God wants him or her to be. Ask God to help you see your teen from His perspective. Then do all you can to help your teen fulfill God's purposes for his or her life. Spend time hanging out with your teen regularly, asking open-ended questions that can lead to good conversations about your teen's dreams.
Dads: Don't underestimate your impact. You play a crucial role in your teen's life. Make sure your teen knows that you believe in him or her no matter what. Give your teen consistent assurance and guidance. Prioritize your role as a father above your job, and spend lots of time with your teen.
Moms: Fulfill your vital role. Your influence is key to shaping your teen's character. Live faithfully so you can be a strong role model for your teen. As your teen faces daily decisions, pray for him or her and point out the importance of integrity. Protect time on your family's calendar to spend together rather than allowing your teen's activities to dominate your lives.
Communicate well with your teen. Know what you want to say to your teen - and why you want to say it - before initiating conversations. Pray for the wisdom to know how best to discuss concerns with your teen. Spend significant amounts of time talking with and listening to your teen. Ask questions about his or her life, and give your full attention when you're listening. Write notes as well as having conversations.
Help your teen learn to filter media messages. Be aware of what your teen reads, watches, and listens to regularly. Instead of trying to hide the world from your teen, teach him or her to think critically about the information and filter the world's messages through God-focused lenses. Help your teen figure out how to distinguish good from evil, categorize what's helpful and what's harmful, and make decisions that lead to a faithful life. Articulate your own worldview and passionately pursue God to show your teen how it's done.
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