Let’s Get Personal This Year

Jared spends over 9 hours by himself each day.

…And when he is with other people, he’s still in his own world. His case is not unique. There’s a growing number of isolated kids. The situation is so unhealthy. It can be changed. Here’s what’s going on and what we can do to end the isolation.

Porn, Time Magazine and 3 Crucial Lessons

Inevitable Encounter…

“Providing a counter narrative for teens about the porn they’ll inevitably encounter, despite whatever filters are put in place, is a key goal of the young activists.”

This is a key quote taken from the cover page article of the April 11, 2016, issue of Time Magazine.

This article on Porn and its effects is a fascinating take for anyone who works with students.  In fact, coming from a source like Time, I find it insightful –a unique perspective that we might not always hear.

Instead of giving you a review of the article, I’d like to pull out some things that will be helpful for those of us that are youth workers.

Screen Time and Improving Teens’ Social Skills

I fail emotional intelligence tests.

That’s when I am honest. I know the right responses. I just don’t use them in everyday situations. I don’t like to say “God bless you,” if someone sneezes (it’s based on a terrible superstition.) I don’t ask “How are you?” unless I really have the time to find out (which is rare.) And when asked, “What do you want to do?” it’s normally, “Work.”

I know I’m probably a terrible role model and the last one who should be writing this blog, except studies are showing that a generation is coming up with even poorer social skills than mine!

Here are the stats and what the experts say that we should do.

8 Strategies to Deal with Defiance

This kid is driving me crazy!

…Sometimes I just want to give up! I’m so tired of fighting all the time.

I’ve heard this complaint from parents dozens of times. They feel overwhelmed –like they are constantly at war with their teen. Even the terrible two’s seem like a picnic compared to the to terrible teens. There’s nothing positive about their relationship with this difficult young person. They’re afraid of where this will lead.

It’s worst when the teen is directly disobedient and in-your-face defiant. A few examples:

  • “No I won’t turn off my phone and you can’t have it.”
  • “I’m not tired I’m not going to bed.”
  • “Church? I went last week! I’m sleeping in today.”
  • “I’m not studying now. I want to finish this season of the Walking Dead!”
  • “I’m going out with my friends. I don’t care what you say!”

These disrespectful challenges hurt and can cause us to react with anger. There are better ways to respond.

Best selling author and blogger for About.com Amy Morin has some excellent strategies for dealing with outright defiance. 

4 Parenting Teens Podcasts for You

Podcasts are Great!

You can find teen trends, youth culture, parenting tips, and encouragement on podcasts. You just have to know where to look. Next you need to subscribe and listen while you do other things.

Lately I have tried podcasts and I’ve been impressed by how quick and convenient the content can be! The other nice thing is that it is so much more helpful than talk radio, or listening to music. Since all of the podcasts come directly to my phone I can listen to them when I am walking, driving to work, or cutting the grass.

Some of my friends have traded in reading blogs for podcasts because they require less effort and cover a lot of great ideas in a very short amount of time. Here are 4 for parenting teens.

2 Lasting Ways that Church Builds Identity

Students identify with all kinds of things.

For a time, who they are can be wrapped up in a sports team, a social cause, their peer group, their favorite band, a car, a dating relationship, or their grades. These are normal, in the short term, to develop a sense of identity. However, to resist the pull of peer pressure and popular culture, their identity needs to be anchored in something more enduring. Here’s how church helps…