Maintaining Close Relationship with Your Adolescent

Question

We have three young children ages 6, 9 and 11.   We want to do whatever we can to make sure that these great relationships we now enjoy will carry over into their adolescence.  Any suggestions?

Answer

Yes.  Pray.  Pray long, pray hard, and pray faithfully.  Pray with your kids and for your kids.  Enlist your family and friends to pray for you and for them.  Pray without ceasing.  Prayer has an amazing way of helping us keep things in perspective and sometimes children, especially adolescents, can make it easy for us to lose our perspective.

After that, one of the most valuable things you can do is to spend regular time with time with them.  When over 1,500 school children were asked the question, “What do you think makes a happy family?”  the most frequent answer was “doing things together.”  Over the years I've learned that in life it's not so much what we do for people that impacts them as what we do with them.

In regards to parenting, J. Allen Peterson made a brilliant observation: “If I could start my family again, one thing would be changed.  I would play more with my three boys, and cultivate more family sharing experiences.  By sharing good times a family builds cohesiveness and unity.  They learn to enjoy each other and compensate for each other's weaknesses.  The play of children is something of a rehearsal for life, and parents who share these times of play will have a great opportunity to teach their children how to live.”

Based on research and life experience it’s clear that the best time to parent an adolescent is when they are young  children, and by God’s grace that’s where you are right now.

In Luke 12:34 Jesus said that “where your treasure is there will your heart be also. (HCSB)”  One of the best ways to measure what is important to a person, what he or she treasures is where and how they spend their time.  One of the best ways to parent your future adolescents is to invest both quality and quantity time with them today.

Before you go to the next article, PLEASE take just 2 minutes to make a list of some specific ways that you not just can but will, spend  focused time with your family in the next week.  There are lots of options: go to church together, ride bikes, go fishing, play Frisbee at a local park, take one of them to Cracker Barrel for a huge breakfast, play Duck-Duck-Goose or plan your next vacation.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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