Friday, January 16, 2009

Maintaining Our Teens Self Esteem

I often worry about the state of our teens as you have often heard me write about in previous posts. My concern here is more about what our teens are doing when us, parents, are out in the working world and don't seem to have time for them. I read an article today on the Focus on the Family website about the alarming things that are happening to our teens and how parents are basically turning their backs on them.

I realize that parents have to work and there can't always be someone home with them when they get home, but eventually you do get home. Do you talk to your teen, really talk to them? Do you even know who their best friends are? What they do for lunch? What their favorite classes are? If you don't, I would strongly encourage you to find out. You are missing out.

We are entrusted by God to "raise" our kids in the way of the Lord, so when they are older they will not depart from it. Raise is knowing about your teen, encouraging conversations with them and their friends. I also don't think that being your teens best friend is the answer. They need boundaries that parents can provide! They need limits on the choices they can make until they reach 18. They need guidance, not free time. They are spending so much time in the electronic world, with Myspace, web pages, Instant Messaging and Cell Phones that when these devices don't work, they honestly don't know what to do with themselves.

We need to make time for them. We need to give them our attention to listen to the things and issues that are going on in their lives and help guide them in the direction they should go. I am saddened by the parents who simply don't care about their kids. To them, it's simply a count down of how long before they leave the house and they can get on with their life without being tied down to that teen anymore. Quite honestly, that parent at some point in their life will regret that decision and they may lose that contact with their teen/s forever.

Our teens today are so overwhelmed not only with technology and trying to keep up with their friends and social events, but with homework, classes, clubs, sporting events, church, before they have a moment of free time. They were never designed to just automatically handle the ability to master task like a work employee. They don't even get paid to handle that work load. We need to help guide them into handling and managing that rough schedule.

In addition to this, students feel the need to cheat in order to stay and keep ahead. The national statistics show that 90% of highschoolers cheat either on homework or tests in order to maintain grades. They feel the pressure of getting into good colleges if they don't maintain good grades. The truth be known, not all kids are straight A students, yet we make them feel as they need to be. I mean the kid next door doesn't seem to have that problem. Our teens need an outlet to express themselves and get out from this unbearable workload.

We also need to be concerned about weight issues and sex. Most kids these days don't see it as any big deal if they lose their virginity before they enter high school and teenage pregnancy can be handled by abortion or adoption. It is amazing that teens don't see anything wrong with that attitude. They don't even see anything as wrong until they are confronted by it.

What they need from us besides our time while we can be here to give it to them is to be that role model for them to follow. Set some time aside and just hang out with your teen and just see what they have to say. All too often their friends are giving them the wrong advice because no one is there to give them something better.

Make time for your teenager now, before it's too late and all that time has slipped away from you!

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