Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Moods, Moods and Attitudes ....

Here is Chapter 9 from the book we are currently reading for MOTTs club! Got this article from Dennis Rainey's website-- I hope you'll check it out when you have time, it's a great topical list of helpful parenting articles. Click here to go to the Rainey's website, and I also have this link listed on the home page of our MOTTs website, for your convenience!

By the way, our next MOTTs meeting is Weds., May 7th, 8:15am -- email me at for location and information! Love, Vickie

by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
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Sometimes a teenager's self-oriented actions are just ridiculous. I (Barbara) was in the kitchen one morning, helping one of our girls finish making her lunch. A teenage mutiny erupted because we had no potato chips. I told her I was sorry that we were out and suggested some other options, to no avail. One child whined, “There’s nothing in this house to eat. Nothing for my lunch!”

In fact, there was enough food in the house to feed a platoon of Marines. I tried to point this out. “We’ve got yogurt, fruit ... ” But we didn’t have the one thing she wanted.

She got so bent out of shape over the potato chips deficit that I had to warn her, “You need to gain control of your attitude; this is not that big of a deal. I’m going to the store this afternoon. I’ll have potato chips tomorrow, but not today.”

Our daughter’s hysteria escalated even more. “You’ll need to come to school and buy my lunch!” she said. I tried to help her gain perspective and relax, but she refused to hear. She was so out of bounds that, to sting her selfishness, I grounded her from the phone for a week. Her disrespect and demanding attitude were inappropriate.

The punishment cooled her whining but did not completely extinguish it. Finally I said, “You know, honey, I am going to go buy potato chips, but you’re not going to take any in your lunch for a week, because you were so demanding.” Our daughter frowned and finally quieted down. What a way to begin a day!

This is the kind of petty and selfish attitude you will sometimes encounter and need to correct. Rewarding such behavior is out of the question. Resist the temptation to give in to some irrational demand just to calm the waters and ease the migraine headache. Take the aspirin. Don’t capitulate. (from Vickie: this word means surrender, I had to look it up!).

We suggest the following convictions be built into your child’s life to combat attitude problems in your family. (They are stated in first person to illustrate how the child should be able to articulate the conviction.)

1. If I am to grow up and become a true disciple of Jesus Christ, I must submit my will to my God.
Challenging our children to submit their wills to God requires formal and informal training. The years between 10 and 12 are crucial because you can teach them many basic principles of walking with God before they start displaying too much pride and rebellion.

One of the best tools we’ve found to shape a child’s convictions is to take him through the book of Proverbs, which is a child-rearing manual loaded with real answers to life’s traps and issues. Its pages repeatedly warn against pride. It’s a book about obedience. A book about wisdom or foolishness. A book about life and death.

If we had it to do all over again, beginning when each child was age 12 or 13, we’d discuss the entire book of Proverbs, chapter by chapter, once a year for the next six years. Twenty to 30 minutes a week of formal instruction from Proverbs will provide adequate warning about what happens to a proud, selfish, and foolish person.

2. I realize that how I submit to my parents’ standards and requests reveals whether my heart is full of pride and rebellion or is of a teachable spirit.
As our children approached their teenage years, we prepared them by talking about how their perspective of us would change. We talked about how the nature of the teenage years is to think that you know more than your mom or dad.

We told them what happened when we became teenagers and how it seemed that our parents started taking these “dumb” pills. “Almost overnight our parents were not cool,” we said. “They didn’t know what they were talking about. As teens we grew smarter than our parents.”

We have used this example on numerous occasions to connect with our teenagers and to let them know that we know what’s going on in their heads. This has been very helpful in talking to them about their pride and selfish perspective. Of course, we’ve talked with our children about the dangers of actually seeing your parents as stupid. We’ve shown them from Scripture how pride will cut a young person off from those who love him the most and are looking out for his best.

Arrogance and selfishness in a teenager often provoke emotional outbursts against a parent—often a mom. It’s important during these times never to forget who the adult is and who the child is. Patiently guide your child in the direction of a teachable spirit. To calm relational waters and encourage a softer heart, prayerfully direct your teen to take some time to get alone with God in his bedroom and write out what’s bothering him.

Some of the bigger mistakes we’ve made in confronting selfish attitudes in our children have come when we’ve decided to go toe-to-toe with them in an argument. A much better response is to ask them to get alone with God, gather their thoughts, and deal with their attitude by writing a letter to you.

3. I will learn how to deny my own interests in order to help and serve others.
One of the best cures for a selfish, me-centered attitude is to give ourselves to others. Jesus modeled this Himself when He said, “And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your servant, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:27-28).

Be on the lookout for situations where you can help the preadolescent or young teen shift from a selfish focus to a focus on the needs of others. We know a mom who regularly took her son and daughter to a rest home just to get them to think of others. Later on, during the height of his teenage turmoil, her son came home from school one day discouraged and announced that he was going to the rest home to minister to one of its residents. A couple of hours later he returned home, fresh and encouraged, because his mom had taught him about giving to others.

The bottom line: Real life is about serving others with humility, whether in our relationship to Christ or with our brother or sister, who may need to borrow shirt, shoes, dress, or stereo. We are training the next generation how to walk humbly with God and to reach out to others with a servant spirit.

Remind yourself that Someone is even more interested in shaping your child’s character and dealing with pride, rebellion, and selfishness than you are. God has ways of getting a child’s attention that go way beyond any parent’s conniving or planning. He can humble a child very quickly. In fact, we have prayed that for our children. “Lord, you know this child has a problem with pride. Would you do what we can’t do? Would you in your gentleness and your love be compassionate and gracious enough to help correct this child in this situation?”

The good news is that most young men and women in the later teen years will begin to outgrow much of the petty selfish behavior. You may not see it until they are about to leave home or even until after they have left the nest. Persevere—there is hope! Repeat after me..... I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

Adapted from
Parenting Today’s Adolescent: Helping Your Child Avoid the Traps of the Preteen and Teen Years. Copyright 1998 by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Six Needs of Adolescents

At the Sports Banquet last month, we sat with Brenda and Dan Nale. Dan told us about this great website for Dads -- it's called ALL PRO DADS -- and he even took the inititative to subscribe our email address -- thank you Dan! Stephen and I have been enjoying this site and I have listed the link on the Mott's site, in the section that says "Sites for Dads".

is an interesting article that I copied from that site:

Dr. Greg Smalley, Psy.D. Printer Friendly Version

Parents of a teenage boy watched their son walk out to the father's truck, get in and drive off. "But I was firm with him," said the husband to his disbelieving spouse. "I did better than last time. For a couple minutes, I had him thinking he wasn't going to get the truck keys."

How many times have you felt the same way as this frustrated father? It can be very difficult when trying to deal with an adolescent. Adolescent! The name alone can send chills up the backs of many parents. It may seem like just yesterday that you and your teenager had a great relationship--one that didn't seem so confusing or frustrating. I'm not trying to imply that as your child moves into adolescence everything is going to change and become terrible. Every child is unique and will respond to the teenage years differently. However, what I can guarantee is that things will change. During this period of change, what does your teen need? Plenty.

Psychologist, Dr. Bruce Naramore states in his excellent book, Parenting Teens, that teenagers have six basic needs which need to be fulfilled during adolescence in order to become healthy, well-adjusted adults.

1. Develop their distinct identity and a sense of their uniqueness.
As parents, we can have a tremendous influence on their identity or self-esteem. By identity, I mean the way a teen feels about himself--positive or negative. There are some important things we can do as parents to help increase a teen's identity. First, help identify areas of interest. Every teenager has a particular area of interest or areas where they excel. Whether it is in athletics, music, school, art, or ministry, help your teen to identify his area of competence. Second, provide praise and encouragement. It is vital that teenagers receive praise and encouragement from parents or other influential adults.

2. Progressively separate themselves from their childhood dependency on their parents.
You can do something to help them during this transition. Get your son or daughter involved with a "mentor." A mentor can be a powerful force as teens develop convictions because "outside instruction" can make a special impression on their lives.

3. Develop meaningful relationships with peers and others outside the family.
As you may have already discovered, teenagers enjoy spending exceedingly more time away from home than they did at younger ages. Your adolescent's new found peer group is important in order to satisfy their need for companionship and fun, along with emotional support, understanding and intimacy. Although they still need these things from their families and other adults, it's vital in their development to receive these things from friends as well.

4. Develop their capacity to relate well to the opposite sex.
What can we do specifically to assist teenagers in making decisions about their relationships with the opposite sex? If you are considering allowing dating then develop a dating contract. Having a written contract helps take the pressure off guessing when a teen is ready to date. It's impossible to say that someone is ready to date at a specific age. Instead, dating readiness should be the result of a teenager displaying certain internal character qualities like honor, integrity, responsibility and resistance to peer pressure.. The dating contract can provide the family with accountability, fairness, clarity, security and togetherness.

5. Gain the confidence and skills to prepare for a career, economic independency, and other adult responsibilities.
Not only is it important to encourage teenagers in the areas that they have interest, but it is also necessary to teach them real skills. The straightforward teaching of skills to adolescents often results in increased achievement and, thus, in enhanced self-esteem. In other words, the more skills a teenager acquires (e.g., how to cook, change the oil, fix something broken, or build something), the better he will feel about himself.

6. Fashion their faith and value commitments and basic attitude toward life.
In a survey to over 5,000 adults, the question was asked, "How did your parents help you develop your own spiritual convictions?" Overwhelmingly, the number one response was: Church attendance. The significance is that church is an important way to help your teenagers to foster ownership of their spiritual convictions.

As a parent, what can you do to assist your teen as he or she masters these six important needs? You must make time when your teenagers need it--watching for teachable moments. Teens might go a whole day without seeking our help. But as Dr. Ross Campbell explains in his book, How to Really Love Your Teenager, teens have something like a "container" built within them and every once in a while they run out of "emotional gas." This is when they come up and need to be close to us. They need touching, listening, understanding, and our time.

When they do come to us, we must be careful what we communicate. If we say, "Not now, I'm busy," they'll observe what we are doing and compare their importance to it. After we have filled their "emotional gas tank" they usually are off to be with their friends. Maybe we haven't explained everything we wanted to say, but they're filled up. And that's okay. A teenager needs to know that he's valuable and that his parents are available at times when he needs them.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Blog for MOTT's !!

Welcome to my new blog, dedicated to the Lakewood MOTTs club!

MOTTs: Mothers of Terrific Teenagers!
You've heard of MOPS? This is the sequel :)

God put this idea on my heart a while back. When my kids were little, I attended a
MOPS group at our church -- Mothers of Preschoolers. But as my oldest son kept growing taller, stronger, hairier... it occurred to me that mothers of teenagers need just as much support, maybe more!!! While we know God is guiding us, and is giving us wisdom and grace for the moment -- how much more could we grow, by networking with other Moms!

I sensed God's leading to begin a book club at our school several months ago as an encouragement to Moms who have teenagers at home. We gather once a month for coffee talk, fellowship, and sharing our hearts on what works (or doesn't work) with teens. I feel privileged to be a part of this group of fantastic moms, and it has been pretty wonderful to watch God knitting us together as friends.

Some discussion topics that we are visiting in our monthly meetings:

1) Technology.
How do other families manage cell phones, playstations, myspace accounts (gasp!) and other computer time? Sharing with each other about setting up time limits, computer passwords. What is our part in helping to safeguard their tender hearts while it seems the world of technology/media is always trying to lift up the floodgate.

2) Boys & Girls, Birds & Bees.
What is the secret to helping them stay content just being **FRIENDS!** without rushing ahead! Please Lord!!

3) Balance.
How are other families balancing homework and family chores.... against basketball, drama, choir, piano practice, etc. .... and still getting everyone to the dinner table by 6pm.

4) Other inspired ideas.
Let's talk about some of the wonderful ideas has God given us as Moms over the years! Sharing our favorite family games, recipes, cleaning tips, household routines, and family traditions that bond us together as a family.

I hope you will check this site often for updates. I am gathering helpful information from various sites and will post it here as an encouragement to Mothers of Terrific Teenagers!!

Love, Vickie