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When I meet with parents to talk about struggles with their kids, the issue of communication is always on the table. Often the issues we talk about are pretty common: My teen doesn’t listen to me. My teen doesn’t talk to me. My teen says what she wants but won’t let me say what I want. Every time we talk we end up in a conflict.
I’m always grateful for these counseling opportunities because I love the heart of parents who still move toward their kids when almost any initiative just seems to create distance. Having had four kids of my own pass through the teen years, it’s not hard for me to identify with the frustration and confusion parents feel over communication troubles.
Meetings - Feel - Parents - Children - Question
As we dig deeper in these counseling meetings, I try to get a feel for what is happening between the parents and their children. Inevitably, we come to the question of goals. When I ask parents what their priorities are for communication, often they can’t get much beyond the goal of impacting what their kids are thinking, doing, or feeling. This is certainly a big part of what we do as parents, but if it is a stand-alone priority you can see where the problem lies. Conversation for the sake of impact is often reactive, prone to a confrontational tone, and usually ends up with one person doing most of the talking. It is also shortsighted because it doesn’t consider a vision for a relationship that can mature beyond the years of active parenting.
I’d like to briefly offer a broader set of priorities that we as parents could pursue for longer-term relational connection and influence with our kids. It’s a set of priorities drawing on “wisdom from above,” as we read in James 3:17-18: “But the wisdom from...
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