The Christmas season is here — with sparkling lights, glittering trees, and magical store displays. But as we look beyond the external, the research on adolescent development tells us something very important about what happens in teen’s internal worlds. It’s a season that shapes their lifelong identities about giving. What are you doing this year to help children and teens internalize the gift of giving?
Of course, many teens associate Christmas with being receivers of gifts. But according to studies in human development, it is the giving of gifts that reaps the biggest psychological rewards. Parents can help teens realize these rewards by teaching them how to give back during the Christmas season and throughout the year. There are many ways to give back, including through the excellent projects listed below.
Children are a product of their environment and teenagers are no exception. If they are subject to a hostile living environment where profanity is being used, shouting is always the way of communication or if there are issues of violence; then the teen is learning that these are the appropriate ways to deal with aggression.
This may not be the case in every situation. It could also be the teen is going through a rebellious phase.
There is a difference between anger and aggression. Anger is being upset and aggression is acting out violently. The most important thing that needs to be done is finding out the root to the problem and why the teen has so much aggression. Fear, guilt, betrayal, insecurity, deep rooted anger or a chemical imbalance are a few reasons for the aggressive behavior.
As a parent you would like to trust your children; but teenagers lie and the bond is broken, it puts a strain on the relationship. Once a parent realizes they have been lied to, feelings of anger may surface. While it seems to be a fact that teens and lies are like two peas in a pod, you want to know what steps to take to help your teen stop lying so that trust can be regained somewhere along the way.
The Parable of the Sower provides a model for approaches to challenging character of our youth:
4 And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable, 5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” ~Luke 8:4-8 ESV
If your kids ever wonder, “What does God look like?” send them to me. I’ve seen His hands. I’ve seen them all my life – on an Iowa couple named George and Ruth. Before I could even read, I watched those hands empty bedpans, prepare sponge baths and feed Ruth’s elderly mother. During my teen years, after a drunk driver demolished our car with my whole family inside, I watched those hands build a mini-hospital in our livingroom. They made meals, washed sheets, scrubbed dishes and administered medications for months.