I saw a great list from Dr. Chap Clark of the 6 longings that are in the heart of your teenager.
1. I long to belong
2. I long to be taken seriously
3. I long to matter
4. I long for a safe place
5. I long to be uniquely me
6. I long to be wanted
I thought it would be helpful to take this list and transform them into 6 Action Steps You Can do to connect to the heart of your teenager:
1. Help Your Teenager Belong to Something Greater Than Themselves- You can help them connect to family, faith, or a cause that they can believe in. If your teenager’s mission in life is to take care of themselves they are headed for destruction. Offer to take on a cause with them to introduce to them the joy of serving others.
2. Take Your Teenager Seriously- Think back over the last few weeks and identify one thought, idea, or suggestion your teenager made that you quickly dismissed. Go back to your teenager, apologize for not taking them seriously, and re-engage the conversation.
3. Download my free E-book “Birthday Blessings” today- Give them a “Blessing” even if it is not their Birthday to help them know why they matter.
4. Be Courageous enough to Ask Your Teenager a Scary Question- Ask them, “What is one thing you would change about our home?” Give them a chance to speak into their environment and have legitimate influence. Please don’t be defensive by their answer. Just listen. If they say something ridiculous like, “I would really like to build a bowling alley in the living room”, see #2.
5. ”SEE” your teenager- I know you see your teenager every day, but it takes more effort to see into their soul. Take an hour of time and write down what you see in your teenager. Write down their likes, their dislikes, their struggles, their fears, their friends, their relationships, their dreams, their favorite color, their enemies, and anything else you can think of. Once you have written it all down, take your teenager the list and ask them to tell you what you got right and wrong. It will do two powerful things. It will give you insight to their soul, and it will communicate that you love them so much, you want to study them.
6. “PURSUE” your teenager- Unfortunately, the business of life can turn our relationships into simple time management and common routine. Make your teenager feel wanted by pursuing them for one week as an experiment. For one week chase after them. Do they love gifts? Give them a small gift each day. Do they love affirming words? Write them a daily note of love and encouragement. Do they love to be hugged? Have a hug-a-thon at your house. Do they love acts of service? Clean their room or build them something special that took time and hard work. The key is to figure out how they love to be loved and give it to them.
I believe that once you see their reaction you will pursue them for more than a week, it will be your adventure for a lifetime.