Thank you for joining us again today as we pick up on Chapter Two of The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers New Edition: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively
In Chapter Two, Dr. Chapman discusses the importance of parental love. He does not want you to have anxiety as a parent of a teen, but he wants to give you more confidence because of the positive role you have and play in your teenager’s life.
“When teens are secure in the love of parents, they will have confidence to face the negative influences in our culture that would keep them from becoming mature, productive adults. Without the love of parents, the teenager is far more likely to succumb to the evil influences of drugs, perverted sex, and violence. In my opinion, nothing is more important than the parent learning how to effectively meet the teen’s emotional need for love … Deep within the soul of the teenager is the desire to feel connected, accepted, and nurtured by parents. When this happens, the teenager feels loved. When the teen does not feel connected, accepted, and nurtured, his inner emotional tank is empty – and that emptiness will greatly affect the behavior of the teen.”
Our teens desire to be connected with us, and in order to be connected, we must spend time with them. We must be present with them and for them and not distracted by work, divorce situations, etc. When we are not present for them, they feel abandoned and wonder what is wrong with them that their parents do not want to be with them and then they begin to wonder why don’t the parents care. They also crave the power of communication! To be emotionally connected to your teen, you have to communicate. You can stay at home with them or be on a secluded island with them for two weeks NOT talking and communicating at all, and you will remain unconnected due to the lack of communication. An example was used about family dinners around the table. Do you all gather around the table and have conversations together, OR are you surrounded by noise from the television or radio? Or are you all distracted by your electronic devices instead of paying attention to the person right in front of you? Do you carry on a conversation asking each person at the table how their day was and just enjoying the company and what each person has to say? If not, start this week in an effort to build communication and a connection with your teens! If you’re already doing this- BRAVO! Keep up the good work!
While having dinner around the table, make sure that each person gets an opportunity to share three things that have happened in their day. Then LISTEN attentively to them and sympathetically. You can ask questions to clarify what you’re hearing them say so that you’re understanding it all correctly, but don’t give advice or jump in on what they are saying, cutting them off. In doing so, they will not feel like they have value or what they say matters. They will begin to clam up if this happens because they don’t feel like it matters any way. You do not want this to happen! If they won’t talk to you about the “small” stuff, they sure won’t talk to you about the “big” stuff … here’s something – they consider ALL things to be “BIG” to them! So, listen up! This will help you build a connection with your teen.
Something else that you should know is that your teenager wants your acceptance and approval. There is huge power in acceptance … and rejection.
A teenager wants to be accepted for who they are! They want to know that you love them, and feeling loved comes from feeling accepted by you. They do not want to be compared to other teenagers, their cousins, sisters, brothers, etc. They want to feel your love and have you embrace them for the unique person that they are. When a teenager feels that you reject any part of them, they will not feel loved. It is as simple as that. They may feel as if they are not good enough and that you don’t like them as they are. They may feel that you wish they were different. Then the teenager ultimately feels rejected and unloved. When a child feels rejected, they are at a higher risk for numerous psychological problems from low self-esteem, deficient moral development, difficulty in handling aggression to confused sexual identity. Feelings of rejection damage the child’s emotional system tremendously. While we may not always be pleased with their behavior, we can be pleased with THEM because they are our children … just as God may not always be pleased with our behavior, but God is pleased with us because we are His children! What I am getting at here is showing unconditional love to your children. In the words of Dr. Chapman:
The idea of unconditional love is, ‘I love you, I care about you. I am committed to you because you are my child. I don’t always like what you do, but I always love you and care about your well-being. You are my son or daughter and I will never reject you. I will always be here doing what I believe is best for you. I will love you no matter what.’