What Does a Healthy Parent of a Teen Look Like?

By Jim Burns 


Today, when adolescent specialists get together, it is not unusual for them to spend more time and concern on parenting issues than on the teens themselves. There has been an extreme shift in the parenting styles of moms and dads, not to mention the culture in which our kids are living. Unfortunately, far too many parents of teens are emotionally and even spiritually unhealthy. One mom told me she has a recurring dream that her child is falling off a cliff, just out of her reach. The dream isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but it may show how much parents worry about saving their kids from the world’s problems.

My good friend, mentor, and parenting expert John Rosemond used the phrase “helicopter parent” to describe parents who are risking their own marriage, physical health, and self-image by hovering over their children and over-parenting them. In a HomeWord radio interview, Rosemond said, “Too many parents are ultimately carrying the heavy burdens of their teen’s problems on their own shoulders.” No teen will be come a responsible adult if their parents carry the load for them. It’s not healthy for either party.

So what do healthy parents of teens look like?


10 Thoughts on Using Consequences

By Doug Fields 


Consequences are a necessary tool in any parent’s discipline toolkit! Parents use consequences to teach teenagers to become responsible for their actions and to make good choices in their lives. Here are some of my thoughts on using consequences:

1. Consequences should not be used (or communicated) as punishment. Consequences will fail if they are presented as such.

2. Parents who use consequences as a tool to force kids into being obedient have goals that are both too small and short-term.

3. Remember the goal: Teaching teenagers responsibility for their own behavior.

4. Teenagers learn best when they experience the consequences of their behavior. Consequences hold teenagers accountable for their actions.

5. When teenagers experience consequences, parents are freed from threatening, screaming, yelling, spanking, nagging, and complaining. Actions–in this case, applying consequences–speak louder than words ever will.


Invite the King



Being king would be great. Everybody running to bring you great food and obey your every bidding. Oh, and a court jester —if he isn’t too creepy —would be fine. Being king would be great.

But we’re not; are we? We are not kings, not counts or dukes. Just us. We are just plain folk with jobs and bills and hopefully a few years of retirement to do something we want to do. Many of us have children and grandchildren who love us. That’s life. Is it?

Is it?

“No,” someone said.


God Works Through Pastor’s House Fire



A car horn awakened Downriver Church Pastor Pete Kopplin and his wife, Becky, at 1 a.m. Monday, Jan. 16. Kopplin realized the noise was coming from their home’s garage, which he then entered to figure out what was happening.

“The horn was honking, and the lights were flashing, so I went back in and got my key fob,” Kopplin said during a Jan. 20 phone interview. “I went to turn off the alarm, and it wouldn’t turn off.”

He flipped on the garage lights, approached the car and saw something unexpected.

“There was smoke pouring in from the dash into the cab. It hadn’t yet escaped into the garage,” Kopplin said. “I ran in and alerted my wife, and she called 911.”

He decided he needed to raise the hood and shut off the battery, which meant he needed to open a car door to get the hood raised. He said he opened the door, but he “couldn’t get to the hood. There was just so much smoke. Of course, opening the car door brought oxygen into the car.”


Wear Positive Goggles

By Doug Fields


Recently I was speaking at a marriage conference and passed out a pair of cheap swim goggles to each couple. First I had all the men put them on and then look at their wives. It’s a pretty funny sight watching grown men try to maneuver swim goggles in an attempt to look cool. Then the women had to try them on and many were conscious of their hair and wondered why they were doing such a silly activity. After the couples had all tried them on, I said, “Part of the struggle of wearing these goggles is (1) They don’t feel natural. They are uncomfortable. (2) They need adjustment to make them fit. And (3) they require practice (in water) before they’ll work like they’re designed.” 

I then asked the couples to choose a place in their bedroom where they would see those goggles when the woke up each morning (i.e., the shower, bathroom sink, toilet roll holder, etc.) to serve as a trigger to the idea of putting on positive eyewear each day, as it relates to how they “see” one another. Good marriages make daily choices to view their spouse in a more positive way. If you don’t want to drift in your marriage, you’ve got to make a daily choice to see your spouse in a positive light. This may not be natural at first (see (1) above), you’ll probably need to make some personal adjustments so you can be positive (see (2) above), and you’ll most likely have to practice (see (3) above) before positivity becomes a default response. 

Once you make the bold and courageous decision to move from negativity to a more positive perspective, you will begin to see your marriage change for the better. Being positive about each other is a decision. It’s not a feeling: it’s a daily decision. It’s a powerful choice that you have the authority to make. Go ahead. Put on the positive goggles and choose the positive.

Uncommonly Natural



The Bible does not say much about church planting. In fact, it does not technically address methodology or process at all. Neither does it give us a prototype to follow. But a lot of churches were planted. At first glance, that seems at least a little odd.

The early history of the church is recorded in the book of Acts. Most people who teach on church planting focus quite a bit on that book. They often speak about the initial gathered community in Acts 2. Though that was the birthday of “the church,” it was not the birthday of “a church” per se. People often reference Acts 5:14 where the numbers increased. But that is just a statement on the overall spread of the gospel and receptivity not whether or how they gathered themselves together. Again, about “the church” not “a church,” Acts 8, 10, 13, 14 and 16 all refer to the spread of the news and/or inclusion of new groups or people into “the church.” Here we get windows into the scattering (Acts 8:1) and gathering (Acts 16:13) and spreading and increasing (Acts 12:24). Again we get nothing about intentionally starting a church or a community of believers for weekly meetings or any other kind of meeting. Acts 17-19 give a better picture of what those many church communities looked like well after they had been planted. In these chapters, we become familiar with the cities or regions in which the church gathered.


Overcoming Barriers by Inviting God’s Work



I recently took a personal inventory of how I respond under pressure. I realized that when I shut God or people out of my life, these four barriers are generally the source of my actions: insecurity, fear, need for control, and pride.

Sometimes we get tangled in a web of insecurity that feeds fear and craves control. Certain situations, environments or people can bring out these qualities in us. For example, when I am on a project deadline and loose ends start coming undone, my first reaction is to panic and shut down. This lack of control paralyzes me with fear that the outcome will be less than perfect. Then my insecurities begin to surface. My concern is that I will be seen as inadequate and will not be asked to take on such an important project again. My pride is threatened. Self-preservation kicks in, and sin is born.

When feeling threatened, it’s tempting to retreat to that web of insecurity and even easier to hide in prideful sin. This sort of mess isn’t easy to escape. It takes our powerful God to help us work our way out. It also takes people who can see into our lives to help us break destructive habits. These insecurities, fears, control issues and pride can form a wall that keeps love outside and pain inside. How do we invite God to work in these areas of our lives — especially when we are stuck inside of our heads and surrounded by chaos and stressful situations? Make a conscious decision to do the opposite of what self-preservation tells us to do. Let go and trust God.

Let’s see what the Bible says about overcoming these barriers and how to invite love into our lives:


Dealing With Disrespect In Your Teenager

by Mark Gregston

Disrespect is one of the biggest problems I see in families today.  While it can start with light jabs, if not checked, it can grow and evolve into all out punches.  It can become the way the child relates to parents and family, and it can even be passed from generation to generation. Parents who fail to correct disrespect out of fear that correction will hurt their relationship may actually bring harm to all of the relationships in their child’s future.

As any parent of a 13-year old knows, disrespect can be displayed by the roll of their eyes, an arrogant attitude, a sideways look, a turned back, cutting or barbed comments, sarcasm, pouting, or raging. And nowadays, it can include popping in the iPod ear buds, texting on the cell phone or playing the video game instead listening to a parent.  Disrespect can even include how the child treats your personal belongings; demonstrated by purposeful damage to your home or car, taking things without asking, or invading your privacy. These are all signs of disrespect.

But I don’t have to tell you to be watching out for disrespect in your teenager. You innately feel the sting of it when it happens.  And there’s no need to point it out to the teen either, since they know exactly what they are doing when they first begin exhibiting disrespect.


Invite and Answer



I’m no wedding crasher. When I learned from family members that they were planning to attend a wedding of another relative, I said I couldn’t attend because I had not received an invitation.

I might not have been able to attend anyway. I lived in the Upper Midwest at the time, and the wedding was in the Southwest where the relative lived — a costly trip for a print journalist on a fixed income. Still, I thought, “It would have been nice to have been invited.”

The wedding day arrived, and I opened my front door and saw something tucked under my doormat. I reached down and, to my surprise, discovered the wedding invitation in an envelope with a postmark from weeks earlier. My neighbors and I frequently received each other’s mail in our mailboxes, and a neighbor must have received the invitation and waited a few weeks to deliver it. It was too late to fly across the country and attend the wedding, but I at least knew I had been invited.


A Taxing Question

It began with a divisive question, “Should we support a bad government with our taxes?” It ended with, “Whose inscription is on your heart?”



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