You want to help them get good grades, clean their rooms, avoid drugs and alcohol, and stay away from sex. Whew. Beneath these very important goals is your relationship with your child, and without a strong relationship, rebellion is bound to happen.
Mark Gregston, in Tough Guys and Drama Queens: How Not to Get Blindsided by Your Child’s Teen Years (Thomas Nelson), says that once a child turns 12 or 13, parents should commit to spending one-on-one time with that child once a week. Coffee, ice cream, lunch—the venue is not important—but these rules for the parent are key: No correcting language, thoughts, comments, or opinions. Be determined to get to know your child, especially their thinking and their personality.
“Waiting to meet with your kids when there’s conflict is like trying to string communication lines in the middle of a hurricane,” Gregston writes. “Build those avenues now, when the weather is quiet, and build them in a way that they’ll survive any storm that comes into your family.”
By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for four years running. Here’s a sample issue.
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And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.