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Most youth workers understand that the teenager years are difficult! It’s a tough season of life to be finding and forging a personal identity. Adolescents are hard at work to discover the answer to the universal question: “WHO AM I?”

Self-discovery doesn’t have to be a path fraught with rebellion and discord and isolation for caring adults. We can teach teenagers to discover their uniqueness by engaging better with the people who know them better than anyone—those they live with.

Everyone wants the approval of their parents, even the most “rebellious” kid is longing for approval. The irony here is that parents also want the approval of their kids (perhaps acceptance is a better word). Being known and accepted is what we desire from significant relationships. As youth workers, if we can encourage teenagers to be more accepting at home, we’ll be contributing to a legacy of healthy families.

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Teach your students to share their faith in a way that’s natural and honors God:
evangelism that shouts without screaming

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Here’s some principles for you to adapt as your own and pass along to the teenagers God has entrusted to your care:

TWO ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS

“I CAN TRY THIS”
You can’t choose your family, but you can decide to make your home life better. Make a commitment to deepen your connections with your parents, brothers and sisters. Give it a shot: you have nothing to loose and much to gain.

“I CAN CHANGE A LITTLE”
A little change really goes a long way when it comes to family relationships. The real challenge is consistency, not radically rearranging your entire home life for a week because you heard a family sermon at church. Make a little change that sticks and it will produce long-term change.

FOUR ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

DISCONNECT FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD
A few times each week, resolve yourself to disconnect from the outside world. Leave the headphones off, return text messages later, and remember that Facebook will still be there tomorrow. It’s HEALTHY if your outside world doesn’t always have instant access to you. Making a few changes will allow you to be more present with your family.

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Teach your students to share their faith in a way that’s natural and honors God:
evangelism that shouts without screaming

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SHARE STORIES
When you come home, it’s tempting to retreat to your room and shut out the rest of the world. Once or twice a week, talk to your family about your life without being prompted (and if you are asked, say something more than “good”). By sharing something everyday, you will engage in life stories that will strengthen your home and long-term relationships.

ASK QUESTIONS
When you’re facing a challenge, ask for your parent’s advice BEFORE they give it to you. Not only are your parents older, but there’s usually some learned wisdom they’ve found that you haven’t experienced yet. You actually become more wise when you tap into their experience.

DO YOUR CHORES
No, your mother isn’t writing this article…it’s just good advice. When you do your part for the family you are showing respect for your parents. No one loves doing chores, but when you honor your parents, you are also honoring God.
 

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