Shut Out? How to Help Your Teen Open Up.

Everyone says that communication is the key to parenting but what happens when your teen has shut you out? He or she seems to be texting their friends but never talking to you. Bit by bit you feel like you don’t know what is going on in your son or daughter’s life any more.

As I have said before in a previous blog it seems that my wife is better at getting the girls to talk than I am. She practices some great skills that all the experts suggest. Here are four that work.

Evil, Teens, and God

“I was raped by a man when I was 12,” a young man once told me.  A youth leader that I worked with, was sexually abused by her father for 8 years before she ran away at 13. Thousands of boys and girls are forced into prostitution each week. …Evil… sick, devastating wickedness is everywhere.

No wonder some teens and young adults have trouble believing that God exists. –Or, if He does exist, that He cares about us. There’s no easy explanation for the suffering in our world, but as I work with teens and young adults, I am learning how to respond. Here is a way to approach the question of evil which seems to work with teens and young adults…

2 Ways to Discover God’s will

Just recently I had to make a big decision about the direction of my life.

When these big forks in the road present themselves we can get stressed and feel paralyzed.  Or we can make a decision and move confidently in that direction.

I think everyone would choose to make a confident decision but let’s be honest, right now you are saying, “that is easier said than done.”  In some ways you are right, but in fact it can be just that easy.

When I was in college one of my mentors told me of two things we need to keep in mind when we try to discover what God’s will is for our lives.  I have been practicing this for the past 15 years and I can say it has gotten easier over time.

So what are these two things you have to do?  They’re really quite easy.

Three New Dating Dangers: What Parents Can Do

Digital kids have embraced new ways of relating that should make every parent think twice about the changing rules in the dating game. Face Time, Face Book, Snap Chat, Skype, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Texting create possibilities in relationships that weren’t a concern even just ten years ago. Now they are, and we should probably be talking to our teens about each of them…

3 Reasons Why Every Teen Needs to be DIVERGENT

If corporate America has a plan for teens, it is that they remain constant consumers. If the university has a plan for adolescents, it is that they would be perpetual students. Hollywood and the gaming industry would be thrilled if today’s young adult Peter Pans, never grew up.
Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment
But as much as the culture has a predetermined plan for teens, the movie, Divergent, based on the book series by Victoria Roth, presents a challenge for teens to be changed. How? –By thinking differently about themselves, rather than being squeezed into a mold. Didn’t the Apostle Paul write something like that? (Rom 12:1,2)

I feel inspired that social critiques like this and the Hunger Games, challenge teens in a way that parents, youth workers, and youth ministries should. If you have 2 minutes, let me explain the 3 reasons I believe we need to challenge every teen to be divergent

5 Apps That Will Help You Be More Effective In Youth Ministry

If you are reading this blog my guess is that you would like to be more productive.  Let’s be honest, we would all like to do a better job in less time so we have more time to do the things we like.

We also all know that the desire is not enough.  Being effective and productive requires good habits and effort.  Fortunately in this day and age technology can help us.  Here are 5 apps that I use almost daily in my life.  In different ways each of these apps have helped me to be more productive and effective.

My Son/Daughter won’t come to Church: 3 Best Ways to keep them Coming

We lose one third of kids from the Sunday School to the Youth room. We lose another 30% after high school. Despite contemporary worship services, youth programs and small groups for teens, the church is bleeding out youth

It’s one thing to shudder at the statistics but what do you do when it is your son or daughter who doesn’t want to come anymore?

In a pointed conversation with Dave Sawler, author of Before they Say Goodbye, Youth Ministry Unleashed heard the very best things parents, youth ministries and churches can do to make sure that we stop losing teens.

3 Crucial Ways to Help Kids Who Cut

CTV news in Canada reports “recent statistics show an unprecedented spike in ER visits for kids in mental health crises in Ottawa. In 2012-13, it reported that 2,900 children and teens under 18 sought help — up 64 per cent since 2009-10.”

A similar spike in self harm is reported in America. Many youth pastors I talk to, are at their wits end. Just before I got up to speak at a youth event a while back, they brought a girl up to the front. She had fresh bandages from her wrist to her elbows. They were anxious for me to  help. I prayed with tears but inside I knew that there were also things her family and youth workers would need to do for her.

I am not the expert on this but I’d like to share with you 3 critical ways we can help that I am learning from experts.