AThis week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Emphasizing Relationships with Your Teens, Interview with Connie Albers
We are so excited this week to be joined by a special friend, Connie Albers. Connie is a homeschool mom and leader, guest on Focus on the Family and author of a parenting book that we love: Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy.
As you may have noticed, we 7Sisters do not talk often about parenting philosophies. There are several reasons for this:
- There’s not one kind of child or teen
- AND there’s not one kind of parent
- There’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of parenting philosophy, in our opinion
The lovely thing about Connie’s book, Parenting Beyond the Rules, is that she is not offering a philosophy, simply a discussion about the necessity of emphasizing relationships when raising teens. When we read her book, we felt like she was reading our thoughts. We 7Sisters have always said what our friend and fellow podcaster, Melanie Wilson at Homeschool Sanity, always says: relationship over rules!
So, we asked Connie if she would join us for a discussion about the importance of relationship building with our teens. Join us for an inspiring interview.
Connie homeschooled her five kids through graduation (including several years of having five teens at the same time). Connie found that her teens rarely jumped out of bed happy and chomping at the bit to do their calculus lessons. But, Connie found a few secrets that helped her and her teens through these years:
She found that when you prioritize relationships through coming to know:
- our teens’ temperament
- the heart of our teens
- what’s going on around them
- then, there is less grumpiness and rebellion!
Emphasizing relationships is not easy. It takes longer to walk along beside teens. Concepts and life in general, is harder for adolescents. Teens often doubt themselves. It is easy for them to think they were standing in the wrong lane when smarts were handed out.
You have the job to discover, develop and cultivate the gifts God has given each teen, so that they can be the person God has made them to be (not to be their brother, or mother, or friend). (Relationship between parent and teen is especially important when it is time to discuss dating.)
How can you discover and develop your teen’s gifts? Connie suggests:
- Observe the little things your teens do
- Become a student of your teen.
- Connie kept a notebook on each kid where she jotted down interesting observations. She found that over time, these observations helped her help her kids discover their gifts.
- Notice what your teen could spend all day (even skip lunch because it is so interesting)
- What are the paths of their curiosity?
- Also, what are their interests? Daydreams? Wondering?
- Plant seeds of possibilities
- I noticed this about you…
- Reframe personality glitches, to help them work towards good rather than glitches
- Words need to fall into a tender place in your teens’ heart
- Show them the positives and negatives of personality styles
- Help them find places to use these gifts for God’s glory and relationship building
- Let them know you believe in them and are encouraging them all
- This infuses them with determination to dig deeper and build courage
You as a parent, become your teens’ scientist and their guide.
Teen years are sometimes challenging. They are trying to push back sometimes because they are doing the hard job of growing up. They are trying to find:
- When can I assert myself?
- Or when can I say something snarky and it not be disrespectful or rude?
- When can I make my own decision?
- What will I hear as a result of that decision?
We are archeologists: digging for the treasure in our teens and then polishing it up to help it shine
- The polishing takes time
- Also, the polishing takes patience
How do you handle this phase?
- Keep the end in mind
- Remember that you are parenting toward the time when they are out of the home and on their own
- Remember your are not your teens’ best friend.
- There is a balance of rules they still need and trust them to manage themselves. To keep the balance, we have to master the art of the pivot.
- Allow them to make some mistakes (blowing an exam because they did not prepare well), then learn from those mistakes.
- You still have to manage safety.
- Not only that but you still have to oversee some self-care.
- Help them know they are always under some kind of authority, whether it is your or society’s.
- Remember your calling: Your teens have a calling that you help prepare them for
- Remember the danger of unbending rules.
- Establishing relationships means establishing rules that matter,
- Then begin adjusting or easing off when teens have shown they can manage themselves.
- Responsible teens have more freedom and thus, more self-government.
These ideas are captured in Connie’s book Parenting Beyond Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy.
Connie’s purpose in writing her book is to encourage parents to truly enjoy the years with your teens. (They are the best years yet!) It discusses:
- Casting a vision for your family
- Understand your teen’s world
- Discern your teen’s personality
- Listening to your teen’s words, spoken and silent
- Monitoring your own mouth
- Take healthy steps when their is pain or conflict
- You can be emphasizing relationships during the teen years.
Connie encourages us: Adolescence can be some of the best years, but when the times are painful:
- You can step back
- Also you can listen and be painters of possibilities in our teens’ lives
- You can remember that they are a masterpiece of God’s making
- And you can be assured that God uses imperfect parents to shape and help teach and train their teens in the way they should go
Connect with Connie at:
Strengthening Families with Connie Albers on FB
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCAg1aGcuBk&feature=youtu.beFor more information of helping teens become who God made them to be, check out this post.
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