Thinking WITH Your Teen…

I was listening to a podcast today with Dr. Walt Mueller (Founder & President of CPYU) where he was talking about his experience parenting his own teenage children.  Here’s my summary and re-wording of what he had to say:

The goal of parenting is for your children to learn how to make good, biblical decisions on their own when they’re adults.  In order to do that, they need to know how to think “Christianly.”  That won’t happen on its own, it takes a lot of work.  Here’s what Walt Mueller had to say about how he and his wife approached raising their own kids to think Christianly.

When kids are young, we do all their thinking for them: we dress them, we feed them, we make all sorts of decisions FOR them.  As they get older, they ask for permission for certain things (“Can I go to Johnny’s house to play?”) and we say Yes or No.  We’re given this gift, this opportunity, called “Adolescence” where kids aren’t really “kids” anymore, but they’re not yet “adults” either.  We can’t simply think FOR them anymore, but they’re not ready to think completely on their own either.  This is a time when parents have the great opportunity to think WITH their kids and to MODEL how to think Christianly about life, faith, and the world around you.

Kids who make mistakes while learning how to think Christianly are better off in the long-run than kids who didn’t make any mistakes because they were always told what to think and do.

Walt shared the story about one of his sons coming to him and asking about this new band, Green Day, whom he had heard and liked.  Instead of immediately saying, “No, their lyrics aren’t good for you.  You can’t listen to them.” he gave his son the lyrics to the song his son said he liked and explained t0 him what the song is about.  After that, his son (still in junior high, at the time) clearly saw that this is not a song he should be listening to.

Parents, how are you training your children to think Christianly?  Are you interacting with Youth Culture enough to be able to model Christian thoughtfulness to your teen, or are you too busy to put in that work?  I know it’s difficult and takes time to know what’s going on in your teen’s world, but there are great resources available to you!  Sign up for CPYU’s e-updates to be sent to you via email to keep you up-to-date on what’s going on in Youth Culture.  Also, check out the links on this website to “Youth Culture Window,” “Real World Parents,” “Plugged In,” and especially “Center for Parent/Youth Understanding.”  These are great resources… take advantage of them.

And of course, if you have questions, please ASK ME!!  I guarantee that I do NOT have all the answers, but I might have some, and I might know where to look to find the answers I don’t have.

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