Continued from last week’s Trendy Teens (Part 1 of 2):

Another key way to engage with students is to control our atmosphere! While none of us can always control every situation and decision our teens make, we can control the atmosphere in our homes and church youth groups, and atmosphere is everything!

In Jim Burns book, Teen-ology he says; “While no home is perfect, and you will experience conflict with your teens – Here’s the deal: I don’t think we should solely blame our kids for the chaos in the home. Their “job” as teenagers is bound to cause some chaos and conflict. They are experimenting with behaviors, challenging authority, and generally doing things to mess up any positive atmosphere around them. Your job in the home is to set a tone and atmosphere that is more conductive to a better environment in the family. (It’s not going to be easy). If your family is living at too fast of a pace, or if your own life is filled with chaos and conflict, don’t expect your teens to set a positive atmosphere in your home. And don’t expect communication to be all that good either. It’s back to the intentional parenting of teens by staying calm, working a plan, and getting as emotionally healthy as YOU possibly can. To set a better atmosphere you will need to 1) be intentional 2) sometimes have to decide when certain behaviors and choices are just not worth a battle. (If your children see you as constantly nagging or criticizing them, don’t expect them to enjoy hanging out with you).”

Research is still showing that parents are the biggest influence in their teen’s life. Parents have the opportunity to make the biggest impact in their teen’s decisions. While we as adults can’t always control the decisions teens make regarding drug use, sex and friend choices, we can control the way we engage with the culture around us. We have power, through the Holy Spirit, to help our teens to be rooted and established in love, and not rooted in the popular trends all around them. It is messy work, but our teens are too important to ignore. Engage in their world and remind them of “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of”.