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The Parent Connect: How to Respond Rather Than React

consumedym : December 29, 2013

I hope you are finding these newsletters helpful and encouraging. You might be wondering if you can share this with other parents and the answer is “YES”! Just let me know who they are with their email address and we will make sure they get a copy of The Parent Connect as well.

This month we are talking about how to RESPOND to your teenager instead of REACTING to your teenager.

Did you do your homework from last time? Have you looked up and memorized Proverbs 15:1? The truth found in this great verse is the first thought that you can bring to your minds and hearts when your teenager opens the door of frustration in your relationship.
But today I am going to suggest to you three quick thoughts that you can go through like a checklist in your head to keep you from losing your temper:

  1. Pray this short prayer first: “God give me grace in the moment”. It is impossible to maintain control of your emotions apart from the grace of God, so be willing to ask God for help.
  2. Ask yourself, “What can I teach them right now?” This thought will keep you focused on a bigger task which is teaching your teen the beliefs and life skills they need to become an adult.
  3. Consider the context. What physical changes in growing and developing adolescent could be causing this behavior? Or what pressures or circumstances at school, work, or elsewhere might be fueling your teenager’s emotional response?

If you get a chance, check out this very helpful video from a recent Parent Seminar that talks more about understanding the physical changes that are going on inside of your teenager. Understanding these changes can give you the context you need to RESPOND instead of REACT to their wild mood swings.

Thanks again for being a parent. It’s a difficult journey—one I’m finding out first-hand for the first time in my life. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to partner with you on this journey. Know that I pray for you daily. I want to share this great quote with you: “Wise men are not always silent… but they know when to be.”

My goal is to encourage you and to open the lines of communication between our church and your home. With that in mind, feel free to email me any questions or prayer requests you may have.

Have a great day,
-Pastor Michael

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The Parent Connect: The Difference Between Reacting and Responding?

consumedym : December 15, 2013

What is the difference between Reacting and Responding?

Actually there is a huge difference. If you and I can understand that difference we can build bridges instead of walls in our relationships with teenagers.

I want to start by sharing a great example from an experienced mom of teenagers:

It was my favorite lip gloss! Burt’s Bees (the tinted one, no less) is not exactly cheap. And did I mention it was my favorite? What could she possibly have been thinking? Every sane person knows that when lip balm is left in a warm car, it tends to get soft. So what would possess her to twist it till it was all the way up and then try to push it back down into the tube? Really? Of course it split right down the middle.

This would have been the perfect time to teach my teen the difference between reacting and responding. I failed. Again. There were so many ways to do this better. I could have said anything other than “What in the world do you think you are doing? Did you even think through that?”

How am I ever going to teach my child this lesson if I can’t get it myself? Reactions are governed by emotions, while responses are governed by the ability to think through the situation. That means closing our mouths and not saying the first thing that pops into our heads, which is usually critical.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  – Prov 15:1

Not so easy when our teen is hurling their attitude at us with acute precision. Don’t kid yourself. They know our buttons and are not above pushing them. Over and over and over. I think they have created a fantasy league where they earn points by pushing us over the edge again and again! But how different would our relationships be with our teens if we responded rationally to their attacks instead of reacting immediately?

There is one tool that I use that is helping me learn this concept. It’s called breathing. It sounds profound, right? But you would be amazed at how well this works! First, it gives you a moment to lower your blood pressure. Extra oxygen always helps. And those few precious moments it takes to breathe a few extra times may be the difference between teaching them and arguing with them. I will take teaching every time!

I want to challenge all of the parents in our ministry to memorize with me a short verse to help us “breathe” when our teenager’s stir up anger in us.

So, I challenge you to look up Proverbs 15:1, memorize it, and repeat it to yourself every time your teenager tries to push your buttons.

As always, if you have any questions or prayer concerns please respond to this email and let me know.

Your Parenting Partner,
– Pastor Michael

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The Parent Connect: How to Leave a Legacy that Matters

consumedym : December 1, 2013

How do you pass down faith to your teenager?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 gives us our mission from God as parents:

“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

I want to quickly unpack this job description for parents into 3 action steps that you can do today to begin passing down faith in your home:

1) Put it in your Heart First— “these commands…are to be on your hearts.” You can’t give away what you don’t have. You can’t inspire someone else to do something unless it inspires you first. If you want your teenager to be fueled by their faith than make sure that is what is fueling you.

ACTION STEP: Consider planning a mini-spiritual retreat for yourself. You could get away for just a few hours or you could invest a whole week in a focused time with God. It may feel selfish, but filling your own heart spiritually allows it the ability to spill over into the life of your family.

2) Infuse Faith into Everyday Life— “talk about them when you sit at home.” The center of spiritual activity for your family should be your home. Many times we believe that should be the church. In God’s blueprint for passing down faith He sets up parents to be the leaders and the home to be the main stage.

ACTION STEP: Brainstorm ways you can discuss faith with your teenager daily. Practice intentional conversation about spiritual matters this week. It could be as simple as leaving your teenager a note with your favorite verse and an encouraging word. It makes a difference.

3) Use Symbols and Ceremonies to Pass Down Faith— “Tie them as symbols on your hands.” If you read the Bible you will quickly see that God values symbols and ceremonies as a way of giving faith away to the next generation. The Hebrew word for “impress” in verse 7 literally means to “tattoo.” God made the hearts and minds of children and He knew that the way to “tattoo” faith on their hearts was to give them symbols they can touch and ceremonies they can experience.

ACTION STEP: What are some Christian symbols and ceremonies you can bring into your home and lead your family to experience together. Consumed Youth Ministries has created these kinds of experiences you can do with your teenager. Go check out the Rites of Passage Experience materials we have available at www.consumedym.org.

God sure did give us an important job, didn’t He? The encouragement we have for you today is that you are not alone in this task. God Himself will give you all that you need to accomplish His will as a parent. Also, Consumed Youth Ministries stands ready to partner with you in this task. This is why we started a Parent ministry and we are making the Rites of Passage Experience available to your family.

I would love to hear your questions, thoughts, or continued discussion.

Your Partner,
Pastor Michael

P.S. Feel free to forward these newsletters on to any parents of teenagers that you know.

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The Parent Connect: Rites of Passage Experience

consumedym : November 17, 2013

This is a BIG DAY in our ministry. Today we are launching our new parent ministry with this newsletter. I hope that you will find this ministry extremely helpful and informative.
I want to begin by talking about your will…

Do you have a will? You know, the paper that they pull out when you die to see who gets your stuff.

The process of preparing a will is not fun. The lawyer asks you, “If you die who will you give your stuff to?” You say, “Give it to my spouse.” The lawyer quickly responds, “and if your spouse dies who will you give your stuff to?”

This goes on and on until it seems like everyone is dead and you are so frustrated you consider telling the lawyer that they can have it!
When you write a will you figure out how you are going to leave your stuff, but what about the stuff that matters most? What about things like values? What values are you going to leave your teenager?

Or what will you teach them about what is right and wrong in this world?
What will your teenager know about faith? What will they know about your faith?
Consumed Youth Ministries wants to help you leave a rich inheritance to your teenager of the stuff that really matters.

That is why we want to introduce you to the Rites of Passage Experience. We challenge you as parents–the number one influence in your teenager’s life–to have conversations with your teenager. Conversations that matter the most.

And we want to help! We’re not going to say, “Hey! You need to talk to your kid about this,” but never offer anything else. We want to give you some tools to infuse faith into the most import moments in life. That’s what these Rites of Passages are all about. Here they are:

  • 7th Grade – Blessing Ceremony
  • 8th Grade – Purity Weekend
  • 9th Grade – Driving Contract
  • 10th Grade – Money Matters
  • 11th Grade – Family Tree
  • 12th Grade – Manhood/ Womanhood Ceremony

I want to finish this newsletter by asking you to watch this 3 minute video. It explains the Rites of Passage Experience we are launching as the foundation of our Parent Ministry.
You can see it by visiting our new website: www.consumedym.org

We’ll talk more about this at our Parent & Teen Meeting, December 1. As always please feel free to email or call me with any questions about the Rites of Passage Experience or prayer requests.

Your Partner,
Pastor Michael

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The Parent Connect: Parents are Key

consumedym : October 27, 2013

Did you know that YOU are the greatest influence in the life of your teenager? It may be hard to believe at times, but you have more influence than their peers. Research proves it time and again—your voice is the loudest in their life. This is mainly because you spend the most time with your son or daughter. That is a great opportunity for you to make an impact in the life of your teenager that will last forever.

One of my commitments as a youth pastor is to partner with parents. I do not want to compete or challenge your authority as a parent. Instead I want to be someone who echoes your voice as the number one influence in your child’s life. It is a great opportunity for me to partner with you and cheer you on in the process. I count it as a blessing!

For that reason, I am launching a new ministry designed specifically for parents. Here is a brief overview of the ministry: I want to send encouragement and truth to you through articles, videos, and messages each month. I am choosing to do this format instead of asking you to come to the church for meetings, because I respect the fact that you have a very busy schedule.

I want to place a newsletter, much like this one in your church mailbox about twice a month. I will also e-mail these news letters to you and have them available on our church’s website. Please feel free to respond to any emails and share with me any thoughts about topics you would like me to cover. Also, please always feel free to reply to those emails with prayer requests.

I will also send out text alerts. If you want you can join the parent text/e-mail list by sending me your e-mail address, cell phone number and provider.

It is my great honor to serve you and your family and to cheer you on as you lead your teenager spiritually!

I can’t wait begin this new ministry for parents!

You Partner,

– Pastor Michael

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