Raising Boys (Re-Air)

Do you wonder how to raise boys to become strong, godly men? Men who will one day lead their family, a company, a community, or maybe even a country? Raising boys to be risk-takers, adventurers, innovators, and creative is hard when we live in a culture that does more to confuse boys than help them.

This topic was so popular that I decided to re-air Raising Boys with Mark Hancock of Trail Life USA.

How can we raise boys to be men when society has lost its way? As a mom of three boys, I understand how important raising boys is to our society’s future. That’s why I invited Mark Hancock, CEO of Trial Life USA, to join me to share what parents, grandparents, coaches, and ministry leaders can do.

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Too many boys are turning to virtual worlds of television, video games, digital media, and the internet to find realms they can conquer and areas where they can excel. The result of this virtual conquest is often apathy, apparent rebellion, or outright resistance to real-world challenges. But you can shape and guide your boys in their journey of becoming a man.

In this honest look at raising boys, we lay out essential principles for raising boys to become godly, responsible men of integrity, honesty, and determination. We share invaluable insights and practical wisdom gleaned from years of experience mentoring and guiding young men toward a fulfilling life filled with meaning and purpose.

Raising Boys of Integrity and Honesty

Lead by Example: Boys learn a great deal from observing the behavior of adults, particularly their parents and other influential figures. Model honesty and integrity in your own actions and interactions. Be transparent about your own mistakes and demonstrate how to take responsibility and make amends when necessary. By consistently embodying these values, you provide a powerful example for boys to emulate.

Encourage Open Communication: Foster an environment of open communication where boys feel safe to express themselves honestly and without fear of judgment. Encourage them to openly share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences and actively listen to what they have to say. Engage in discussions about moral dilemmas, ethical decision-making, and the importance of honesty in relationships. Promoting open dialogue creates opportunities for boys to develop a deeper understanding of integrity and honesty and how these values apply to various aspects of their lives.

Navigating Challenges in Today’s Culture

Boys need to develop determination and resilience by setting achievable goals and persistently working towards them. To support this, we guide them in breaking down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks, and we celebrate their progress along the way. By encouraging a growth mindset, we help them view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles to success. Instilling a sense of purpose and direction enables boys to stay focused and resilient, even when faced with setbacks.

Promote Resilience and Problem-Solving Skills: Equip boys with resilience and problem-solving skills to effectively navigate challenges in today’s culture. Encourage them to view setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Teach them coping strategies for managing stress, adversity, and peer pressure, such as deep breathing, positive self-talk, and seeking support from trusted adults. By fostering resilience and problem-solving skills, parents empower boys to face challenges with confidence, adaptability, and perseverance.

Raising Boys to Godly Men

Boys need a father or fatherlike figure in their lives to look up to and show them what it means to be a man. Study after study backs that up. Boys learn how to be persistent by providing supportive feedback and encouragement.

Boys need to develop determination and resilience by setting achievable goals and persistently working towards them. We guide them in breaking down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks and celebrate their progress along the way. Encouraging a growth mindset helps them view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles to success. By instilling a sense of purpose and direction, boys learn to stay focused and resilient, even when faced with setbacks

We need to offer boys supportive feedback and encouragement to foster determination and resilience. Recognize their efforts and progress, emphasizing their strengths and resilience in overcoming obstacles. Encourage them to reflect on their experiences, identify lessons learned, and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. By providing a nurturing and affirming environment, boys develop the confidence and resilience to persevere through difficulties and pursue their goals with determination.

About Mark Hancock

Mark T. Hancock began his career founding an advertising agency that grew to national prominence over fifteen years. His conversion to Christ led him into ministry as a Youth and College Pastor, Associate Pastor, Homeless Ministry Director, and Global Event Director for an international ministry, organizing events on five continents.

An author, award-winning writer, and conference speaker, he serves as Chief Executive Officer of Trail Life USA and lives near Greenville, SC, with his wife of over 30 years. They have two sons.

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Raising Creative Children Part 2

In “Raising Creative Children Part 2,” I continue to share information about understanding the unique needs of our young artists. This week, I’m excited to share essential insights and practical tips to help parents and educators recognize the importance of providing time and space in a creative child’s daily life. By fostering an environment that nurtures their imagination and respects their need for unstructured moments, we can help our children truly thrive and develop their creative potential.

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Following the enthusiastic response to Part 1, I continue our journey into understanding and nurturing the unique talents of our young creatives. We want to be aware of their needs so their talent can be fully developed.

Creative Children View Life Differently

A creative child views the world through a lens of endless possibilities, where every ordinary object holds the potential for extraordinary transformation. They see patterns, colors, and stories in the most mundane settings, turning every day into a canvas for their imagination. Their perspective is rich with curiosity and wonder, and they constantly seek to explore, understand, and reinvent the world around them.

Common Needs of Creative Children

Creative children often display a unique set of traits and behaviors that distinguish them from their peers. I could list many characteristics of a creative child, but these will help you identify the common characteristics :

  • Vivid Imagination: Creative children frequently have rich imaginations and enjoy inventing stories, games, and scenarios.
  • Curiosity: They often ask a lot of questions and show a keen interest in exploring and understanding the world around them.
  • Energetic: Creative children are usually energetic and enthusiastic, particularly when engaged in activities they are passionate about.
  • Resilience: They are often persistent and resilient, willing to tackle challenges and learn from failures.
  • Self-Directed: Creative children often prefer working independently and may resist conventional instructions or routines.
  • Depth of Emotion: They often experience and express deep and complex emotions through their creative outlets.

When we pay attention to what our creative children need, we can better nurture their creative potential effectively.

Creatives Need Encouragement

Encouraging your creative child doesn’t have to be complicated; small, everyday actions can make a significant impact. Here are some practical examples to help nurture and inspire your child’s creativity at home.

  • Provide creative time and space to think and form ideas.
  • Encourage exploration and experimentation: Allow your child the freedom to experiment with different art forms, materials, and techniques, encouraging them to take risks and embrace mistakes as valuable learning experiences.
  • Celebrate effort, not just results. Creative children tend to be more sensitive to failure, and they thrive when we praise their progress.
  • Teach them how to fail. Failure can cause them to produce better work.
  • Watch for naysayers who discourage your creative child.

Creatives tend to push the boundaries of everyday reason. We want them to take risks and be adventurers, innovators, and explorers, but we must be careful not to make them conformists.

Supporting children’s artistic journey not only fosters their talents but also contributes to their overall personal development. By encouraging exploration, offering support, and celebrating their efforts, you are not only helping your child develop their creative talents but also instilling confidence and resilience that will benefit them throughout their lives.

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Related Episodes

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Raising Creative Children Part 1

Have you ever wondered how to encourage and develop your child’s creativity without overwhelming them or stifling their natural curiosity? I have. Raising creative children taught me so much about how creative/artistic kids see and engage in the world around them that I started speaking on this topic years ago. This topic is so valuable to parents that I decided to dedicate two episodes: Raising Creative Children Part 1 and Raising Creative Children Part 2.

During this episode, I will share practical tips to help you cultivate a nurturing environment that allows your child’s imagination to flourish. Whether your child loves to paint, dance, write, or invent, they need you to guide and celebrate their creative journey. So, grab a smoothie, relax, and let’s embark on this exciting adventure together! 🙂

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Before we talk about nurturing a creative child, you need to know how they think, feel, and experience the world. If you take time to learn some simple characteristics, you’ll enjoy the rewards of watching them grow and develop their craft.

Creative Children View Life Differently

A creative child views the world through a lens of endless possibilities, where every ordinary object holds the potential for extraordinary transformation. They see patterns, colors, and stories in the most mundane settings, turning every day into a canvas for their imagination. Their perspective is rich with curiosity and wonder, constantly seeking to explore, understand, and reinvent the world around them.

Common Characteristics of a Creative Child

Creative children often display a unique set of traits and behaviors that distinguish them from their peers. I could list many characteristics of a creative child, but these will help you identify the common characteristics :

  • Vivid Imagination: Creative children frequently have rich imaginations and enjoy inventing stories, games, and scenarios.
  • Curiosity: They often ask a lot of questions and show a keen interest in exploring and understanding the world around them.
  • Energetic: Creative children are usually energetic and enthusiastic, particularly when engaged in activities they are passionate about.
  • Resilience: They are often persistent and resilient, willing to tackle challenges and learn from failures.
  • Self-Directed: Creative children often prefer working independently and may resist conventional instructions or routines.
  • Depth of Emotion: They often experience and express deep and complex emotions through their creative outlets.

When we pay attention to what our creative children need, we can better nurture their creative potential effectively.

Supplies for Creative Children

By providing the right resources, environment, and encouragement, you can help your artistic children hone their skills and develop their unique creative voices. It’s about progress over perfection, nurturing imagination, and learning to fail and keep going.

  • Basic Supplies: Keep a stock of essential items like paper, pencils, paints, brushes, and clay.
  • Specialty Items: Occasionally introduce more specialized materials such as canvases, charcoals, or digital art tools.
  • Books and Tutorials: Invest in art books, online tutorials, and classes that cater to your child’s interests.

Your children look to you not just for basic needs but also for emotional and spiritual support. They need you to protect them from harm, teach them right from wrong, love them unconditionally, serve them with a joyful heart, and play with them. All these actions create lasting memories.

Practical Examples to Encourage Creatives

Encouraging your creative child doesn’t have to be complicated; small, everyday actions can make a significant impact. Here are some practical examples to help nurture and inspire your child’s creativity at home.

  • Provide creative space. Creative children need time and space to think and dream.
  • Encourage exploration and experimentation: Allow your child the freedom to experiment with different art forms, materials, and techniques, encouraging them to take risks and embrace mistakes as valuable learning experiences.
  • Celebrate effort, not just results. Creative children tend to be more sensitive to failure, and they thrive when we praise their progress.
  • Create diverse experiences: Encourage your child to explore various activities and environments, such as visiting museums, attending art workshops, or spending time in nature to broaden their creative horizons.
  • Encourage collaboration and sharing

When you add practical examples for your children, you will foster a supportive environment that nurtures and develops a child’s creative abilities.

Supporting children’s artistic journey not only fosters their talents but also contributes to their overall personal development. By encouraging exploration, offering support, and celebrating their efforts, you are not only helping your child develop their creative talents but also instilling confidence and resilience that will benefit them throughout their lives.

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Reduce Kids School Year Stress

You can reduce kids school year stress so they can enjoy this season of life. Most kids experience stress when faced with end-of-year exams, graduation, and other requirements. Helping children learn how to manage their stress levels will allow them to finish their year with excellence and gain confidence in the process.

While the end of the year can be an exciting time, it doesn’t come without a measure of stress. I mean, trying to juggle assignments, final exams, and graduations can put a lot of pressure on your children. So, what can you do to help your children manage it all? How do you know if your kids are getting overwhelmed?

Last week, I discussed When Children Move Out on Equipped To Be. This week, we are discussing Reducing Kids School Year Stress. While obstacles and stress are common, kids have to learn some principles that can help them navigate them well and possibly change their future.

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Many experts believe there are signs parents should look for as the school year comes to a close. That’s why I’m excited to share this episode with you and your family. I want you to know how to help your kids manage stress so they can know what they can do in future situations.

What Should Parents Look For

Are they acting up or lashing out? Are they struggling to get sleep or trying to stay up all night to study? Do they fear failing? Pay attention to the words they say and their body language. When kids are under stress, their actions will tell us how they feel.

When you know how your child thinks, feels, and processes life’s challenges, you have an opportunity to encourage them in a way they will understand and appreciate.

I like to begin by gathering as much information as possible about the circumstances. The more you know about their schedule the more relevant your instructions can be.

  • When are the exams? What time of day? Find out how they feel about the subject matter.
  • Tell your child they are learning valuable life management skills, not just academics, during this period of time.
  • Help your children put the time in context. Tell them to think of this as a sprint, not a marathon. Using visuals helps some kids understand better. For kids, having a grasp of time can reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Pray and ask the Lord to give you wisdom as you teach your children.

The benefits of carefully identifying what they need from you are that your help will be better for them. Once you have all the information, I recommend assessing their sleep, daily schedule, study habits, fears, and whether additional tutors are needed.

Reduce Stress with Sleep and Schedule

Parents know the importance of sleep, but kids don’t fully understand that. Which is why they often stay up too late and get up early to prepare for a final exam. But learning to shut things down at a decent hour so they can get sleep will improve their performance. How can we do this?

  • List what needs to be done. Then, prioritize them.
  • Silence cell phones and/or put them in another room. This will remove the temptation to scroll on social media or talk with friends when one should be sleeping.
  • Set an external alarm that reminds them what they are supposed to be doing at specific times. I use one word: focus, math, science, reading, etc. Doing this helps them get back on track if they get distracted.
  • Create a schedule and put it on the refrigerator. This will make the schedule the enforcer, not you.

I’m sure you and your child can add more things they can do to get enough sleep and create a workable schedule.

Don’t Ask Too Many Questions

Asking some children too many questions can actually increase their stress. Simple checking in with questions like “How are your studies going?” or ” How are you holding up?” can be just enough to let you know you are interested and available if they need you. Saying confident boasting statements can also help.

  • I know you’ll do your best.
  • I believe in your ability to handle the pressure.

If you have specific concerns or see your child not making the effort to do well, you can speak up. But first, remember your goal and how they will receive what you say.

Overreacting Increases A Child’s Stress

Wanting kids to excel in their studies is good, but if we aren’t mindful of our expectations, we can show disapproval if they don’t achieve our standards. Keep in mind the goal during this season. We want kids to learn how to manage stress when they are under pressure to perform. If they don’t get the grades or pass the exam with what they or you wanted, don’t immediately start telling them what they did wrong. That won’t help them. Most of the time, they already feel bad.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Tell yourself the truth about a situation. You didn’t fail your child.
  • Tell your child the truth about the situation. Your child will learn from this failure and do better next time.
  • Ask the Lord to help you find what your child did right. Don’t make your child feel worse than they already do because they know what they did or didn’t do.
  • Remind your child that God has a plan for them, and it is for their good.

Doing this takes practice. I’ve had to watch my kids work through failing, missing the cut, not putting in enough effort, and not managing their time well, but they learn valuable lessons every time.

Help Them Improve Their Grades

It’s not uncommon for kids to struggle in some subjects. Expecting them to be superior in every school subject would be unrealistic. If your child expresses concern, ask them if they think a tutor would be helpful. Or, if you know the subject well, offer to be a study partner or do flashcards or other creative ways to learn and retain the information that is needed.

Most Important: Ask Them How They Feel

Asking a child how they feel makes them feel loved and cared for. When I was writing Parenting Beyond the Rules, my research showed that most kids don’t think their parents are interested in what they are learning. And their number one complaint was that their parents didn’t listen to them. Oddly enough, most parents don’t feel like their kids want to talk to them.

So, if you show interest in what they are doing, ask the right questions, help them create a schedule, get enough sleep, and avoid overreacting if they underperform, your relationship will flourish, and they will learn how to manage future stress when life gets challenging.

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When Children Move Out

Welcome to our heartfelt discussion, in which most of us are never really prepared to let go of our children. We can remember toddler days, middle school meltdowns, and high school proms. But what about when children move out? It’s a pivotal moment that every parent faces. I wasn’t prepared for the wave of emotions that would overwhelm me when our first child moved out.

Today, I’m focusing on the profound act of letting go and releasing our kids with grace into the world. As we navigate this transition, we’ll explore what it means to step back while lovingly holding a supportive space. This episode is filled with insights and stories to guide you through the emotional nuances of watching your children carve their own paths. I pray this episode will be of help to you as you learn how to embrace this bittersweet milestone with open hearts and a generous spirit.

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Many experts believe there are signs parents should look for as the school year comes to a close. That’s why I’m excited to share this episode with you and your family. I want you to know how to help your kids manage stress so they can know what they can do in future situations.

Reshaping Our Connection

Letting go of our children as they venture into adulthood is a bittersweet journey that all parents must face. This essential transition involves understanding that our children naturally seek independence, a vital part of their development.

As parents, our role evolves from being hands-on guides to supportive advisors. It’s also a time to redefine our relationships with them, transitioning to an adult-to-adult dynamic. This process isn’t just about stepping back—it’s about reshaping our connections to respect their new-found autonomy while continuing to offer love and support from a new perspective.

Understanding the Transition

Navigating the journey from childhood to adulthood is a pivotal aspect of both parenting and a child’s development. Understanding the nuances of this transition is essential for maintaining a healthy and evolving relationship as children grow into independence.

The Natural Progression

The Natural Progression:
Children’s pursuit of independence is a natural, healthy part of their growth. From the early days of asserting their preferences in clothes and food to making significant life decisions such as choosing a college or a career path, this drive for autonomy is crucial. It prepares them to face the world with confidence and resilience. As they grow, this need for self-sufficiency becomes more pronounced, manifesting in their desire to explore, make their own mistakes, and learn from them. Acknowledging this progression is essential for parents to understand that stepping back is not a sign of losing connection but rather a necessary phase of development that supports their child’s journey toward becoming a well-rounded adult.

The Parent’s Role

The Parent’s Role
As children edge toward independence, the parental role must undergo a transformation. The transition from being the primary decision-maker to a guide on the sidelines can be challenging. Parents need to shift from hands-on management to offering advice and support when asked. This doesn’t mean parents become less important; instead, their involvement becomes more strategic. It’s about knowing when to step in and when to let children navigate their own paths. This advisory capacity helps build trust and respect in the relationship, showing children that while their parents are always there for support, they also believe in their ability to make decisions.

Redefining Relationships

Redefining Relationships
As children mature, the dynamic between parent and child must also evolve to reflect an adult-to-adult relationship. This redefinition is crucial for maintaining a healthy, respectful bond. Parents and children need to learn to interact on more equal grounds, discussing life’s challenges and successes without the hierarchical implications that typically define a parent-child relationship. This might involve setting new boundaries and finding new ways to communicate that respect both the parent’s wisdom and the child’s autonomy. Successfully navigating this shift can lead to a richer, more fulfilling relationship that continues to thrive as both parties acknowledge and adjust to their evolving roles.

This evolving relationship paves the way for discussing specific examples that illustrate how you can effectively guide and support your children as they navigate the complexities of adulthood.

Strategies for Letting Go

As your child grows and steps into the world as an independent adult, you must adapt and embrace this new phase of life as a parent. Here are some heartfelt strategies for letting go that can help ease the transition and foster a positive transformation in both your life and your child’s.

Seek Community

You’re not alone in this journey. Many other parents are experiencing similar feelings as they adjust to their children growing up and moving out. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through can be incredibly comforting and enlightening. Whether it’s joining a support group, participating in community activities, or simply sharing stories and tips with friends, building a network of support helps lighten the emotional load and provides a broader perspective on the transition.

Practice Self-Care

As you navigate this chapter of letting your child step into independence, it’s crucial to remember to take care of yourself, too. Prioritize your own well-being, both emotionally and physically. It’s not just about finding peace with the changes around you but also about replenishing your spirit and strength. Whether it’s through meditation, a new hobby, or regular exercise, nurturing yourself ensures you have the energy and positivity to support your child—and embrace your own journey of growth and rediscovery.

Keep Perspective

It’s vital to keep perspective on what letting go truly means. Remember, releasing your grip doesn’t signify an end—it’s an important part of fostering independence in your child. By letting go, you’re not losing a relationship but transforming it. This is a time to celebrate the role you’ve played in your child’s journey to becoming a confident, self-reliant adult. Embrace this as a natural, positive step in life’s cycle that opens up new possibilities for you and your child. Embracing these strategies not only helps you let go with grace but also enhances your ability to enjoy and appreciate this new stage in your relationship with your child. It’s a journey worth celebrating, filled with growth, love, and new beginnings.

Final Thougths

As you prepare for a new season of life, it’s important to hold close to the beautiful truth that letting go isn’t about losing a part of our journey with our children but rather an essential step in their growth and ours. Celebrate the amazing individuals your children are becoming—their resilience, successes, and the paths they are carving for themselves. Remember, while your role as a parent evolves, it remains profoundly significant. Your ongoing support continues to be a cornerstone in their lives, adapting to meet the needs of this new chapter. Embrace this change with a heart full of pride and a spirit ready to support them in new ways. Let’s look forward to the wonderful things ahead, cherishing every moment of this transition.

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If you enjoy this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review. It’s a great way to support the show and only takes a few seconds. It helps us reach more families when you do this. ~Thank you.

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Trouble With Teens

Are you lying awake at night wondering why trouble seems to find your teen? Do you find yourself asking why simple requests turn into heated arguments? Have you noticed changes in their behavior that don’t seem just “typical teenage stuff”? If you’re nodding along, feeling the weight of these questions, you’re not alone. Welcome to this episode of “Trouble with Teens,” a direct conversation to help parents seeking a lifeline as they navigate the rough season of adolescence. Let’s tackle these turbulent years together with strategies that will bring us closer to understanding our teens and guiding them through today’s complexities.

While trouble with teens isn’t uncommon, we can help teens on the edge from acting up or acting out. They are created on purpose and need us to guide them along a path to adulthood with confidence and joy.

Trouble With Teens

Avoid Overreacting

Modeling Calmness: Teens are highly attuned to emotional responses. Showing them how to handle emotions calmly and constructively sets a powerful example.

Creating a Trusting Environment: When teens know they won’t be met with immediate judgment or anger, they’re more likely to come forward with their problems or mistakes.

Evaluate the Circumstances

Understanding Before Reacting: Take the time to fully understand the context of your teen’s actions or feelings. This might involve discussing their actions more deeply or considering the external pressures they’re facing.

Guidance, Not Judgment: Use these discussions as opportunities to guide and teach, rather than to criticize. It’s about helping them learn from their experiences.

Identify Their Surroundings

Acknowledge Peer Influence: Recognize the significant impact of peer groups and social environments. Discussing these influences can help teens become more aware of their own decision-making processes.

Environmental Awareness: Help them understand how different environments can lead to different types of behavior, and strategize ways to maintain integrity in challenging situations.

Be Proactive

Scenario Planning: Discuss “what-if” scenarios not as a way to induce fear, but to empower your teen with strategies and solutions for potential challenges.

Preparation Builds Confidence: Knowing they have a plan can help teens feel more confident in their ability to handle difficult situations.

Listen Actively

Full Engagement: Show your teen that you’re fully present in the conversation by putting away distractions and making eye contact.

Reflect and Clarify: Reflect back what you’ve heard and ask clarifying questions. This not only ensures you’ve understood their perspective but also shows that you’re genuinely interested in their thoughts and feelings.

Additional Considerations

Consistency is Key: Regular, casual conversations can foster a sense of normalcy around discussing complex issues. Making time for these talks can help keep communication lines open.

Encourage Self-Reflection: Encourage your teen to reflect on their feelings and actions independently. This self-reflection is a critical skill for emotional and psychological development.

Teenagers need clear expectations and routines, such as curfews, bedtime rituals, or homework schedules. These help them build healthy habits and learn responsibility. We start by being consistent in enforcing our family rules and explaining the consequences.

Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the challenges our teens face may require professional intervention. Recognizing when it’s time to seek outside help is a sign of strength and proactive care, not a failure. Whether it’s counseling, therapy, or support groups, external resources can offer specialized guidance and support for navigating more complex issues. These professionals can provide a safe space for teens to explore their feelings and experiences and offer strategies and tools that parents might not have at their disposal. Engaging with these resources can be a valuable step in supporting your teen’s mental health and overall well-being, ensuring they have the comprehensive support they need to thrive. But do your research before sending your child to a counselor. Find someone or a group that aligns with your family’s faith and beliefs.

By employing these strategies, parents can help guide their teens through the challenges of adolescence with understanding, empathy, and effective communication. This approach not only addresses the immediate issues but also strengthens the parent-teen relationship, laying a foundation for trust and openness that can stand the test of time and troubles.

Remember, God tells us not to grow weary in well-doing. God is at work. Don’t give up!

Thank you for tuning in to Equipped To Be. Until next time, keep parenting with love and intention.

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