3 Things Parents can do about Teens, Texting and Intimacy

As you have probably noticed, teens are texting instead of calling. They have on average 300 face book friends but few intimate confidants. The result “is a decline in intimate friendships, Patricia Greenfield a UCLA researcher says. Instead, many young people now derive personal support and affirmation from “likes” and feedback to their postings.

“The whole idea behind intimacy is self-disclosure. Now they’re doing self-disclosure to an audience of hundreds.” says Greenfield 

As I talk to parents of teens, they say, “That’s just the way it is. What can we do about it?” What I am learning is that there is a healthy way to help teens communicate better.

Three Things the Olympics Taught on How to be a Better Youth Worker

Photo Credit: kenyee via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: kenyee via Compfight cc

I won’t lie, I love it when the Olympics are on.  All TV watching rules are thrown out of the window in our house and we consume hours upon hours of watching athletes compete for their country.  It is exciting, patriotic and exhilarating to watch.  The two weeks never seem to be long enough.

This year as I was watching the Winter Olympics I realized these athletes could teach us something on being a better youth worker.

NHL Game Changing Secrets

He Shoots! He Scores!

I love these words. I love the sense of accomplishment and victory! But that big win isn’t pure luck. That thrilling moment is the result of hard work, determination and strategic secrets that we can apply to youth work.

Here’s an example. Right now I am coaching a young youth worker. She feels that she is making all the right moves, but can’t “get the puck in the net.” She is working really hard but no matter how hard she works, it seems that nothing is changing.

I have been there too but I stumbled on to some game changing NHL Secrets that I am sharing with her and would like to share with you.

I don’t claim to know a ton about hockey but there are a few surprising applications to youth work. Here are some that I pointed out to my student who is working with a youth ministry that is kind of stuck.

3 Surprising Teen Brain Discoveries Every Parent Needs to Know About

I know. The jokes are just too tempting… Don’t get me started….But seriously, scans that neuro-scientists are doing on teens while they are awake in an MRI, are coming up with very important findings for anyone who works with teens or has one in their home.

In a functional MRI machine teens are given various tests, for memory, observing facial expressions, decision making, or emotional responses to certain images. The results have been fascinating but more importantly, they give us a better picture of what is going on insider their heads.

A while back, PBS Frontlines, produced a documentary, Inside the Teenage Brain (watch here) outlining crucial information about how teens are changing, thinking, and perceiving. Here are three of their discoveries that I find most useful.

The 6 Keys to Keeping Your Best Volunteers!

I was failing when it came to holding on to excellent volunteers at a Canadian Mega Church. These were quality leaders and they were leaving my youth ministry. Desperately I began to read everything I could get my eyes on to figure out why they were leaving and how I could get them to stay. In a short time I developed an effective plan.

The first thing I began to do was to realize that…

Parents Unleashed: Weekend Edition

Hi Parents of Teens! We have one daughter 17 and another who just turned 20. Getting through the teen years has been an interesting ride. As much as I teach college students how to work with teens all week long, I have been learning how to help teens in my own home.

I don’t claim to be an exceptional parent. My wife has been my coach in a lot of areas, even though I am the one with all of the degrees and have plowed through a mountain of books on the subject. For over a decade I have been leading seminars for parents …still, in some ways, parenting two completely different girls has been a bit of an experiment.

Through trial, error, success and failure we are coming to the end of the teen years but as you all know adolescence doesn’t stop there. If there is any way that I can help you if you are a parent, or you if you are a youth worker working with parents I hope that some of my own journey will give you hope and confidence.

So, to get started I want to quickly share some of the big principles that my wife and I have agreed on for our kids

Dangerous Comparisons: Finding peace in who you are and what you do without becoming complacent.

I felt defeated

A few weeks ago I found myself dissatisfied with my life in a bad way.

Maybe it had something to do with joining twitter and seeing so many popular leaders with thousands of followers. I saw authors and speakers who looked great and commanded the respect of others in youth ministry. In so many ways it seemed as though they were at the top of their profession! They had it made and I was envious.

I had to step away from my lap top for a moment and do some soul searching about the envy that was building in my heart. “Wow, where did that come from?” I said out loud. “I thought I dealt with that years ago!” Quickly I had to readjust my attitude by focusing on some of the most important lessons I have learned about life and ministry. Here are some things that I had to tell myself…