Navigating the Challenges Teens Face Part 1 – Jim Burns

Navigating the Challenges Teens Face Part 1 – Jim Burns


we’re doing these things where we listen
to focus on the family right we’re doing what they told us to do and if they told
us to buy a book we bought the book we tried it but at the same time you know I
often say a sinner marries another sinner and then you have sinner Ling’s
and so when you introduce the sinner Ling’s part of it
they are gonna you know miss the mark sometimes welcome to the focus on the family
broadcast helping families thrive the world we live in is a pretty hard place
to raise a teenager and if you have one in the home you’re probably trying to
really navigate those waters very carefully every day Jim Burns is our
guest on focus on the family and he’s going to help you with some practical
tips for talking with your teen and helping them maintain their faith your
host is focused president and author Jim Daly and I’m John fuller John parenting
is certainly not for the faint of heart but there is hope to get through it and
hopefully to get through it in such a way that your kids are in a good place a
healthy place that’s the goal and we’re gonna talk with Jim because he has such
great insights he’s been doing this for a long time and he is so well versed in
what kids are experiencing what youth culture was all about today and he’s a
popular youth and family expert he conducts lots of parenting and youth
seminars across the country so Jim welcome back to focus on the family it
is great to be with the both of you and your listeners I love being with you I
feel it’s kind of like party time for us before the broadcast I just wanted
hanging out with all right so Jim on behalf of all the parents of teenagers
let me just say I mean it is tough today it is what’s going on you hear this
every day well it’s tough today but you know it if you would talk to parents of
another generation they would have said it was tough too but come on Elvis
Presley is nothing compared to today you’re right well I often say we were 13
15 16 but we were never their age because they experienced so much so
young yeah and you’re right you know we talk about the culture and the culture
has bombarded us with things as parents we have to be more proactive we have to
be more intentional more prayerful and I believe that that they can get through
it but the truth is is that we as parents have to make sure we’re students
of the culture and we understand that it is a transition time Kathy and I would
look at ourselves when our kids were going through the teen years because
they’re older now and we would say okay this is a transition right they were
children and they’re gonna one day become adults but it’s transition right
and and yep that’s good advice that it is a transition it is you illustrate in
your book which is great by the way understanding your teen
you mentioned this dog and cat story how to parent what in the world are you
bringing dogs and cats and ironing for well actually our family have had we’ve
had cats and we’ve had dogs my load the cat was kind of Moody and would come up
on my lap ever so often and then all of a sudden you know not purr but look at
me and go higher and move on and we’d see him about two days later and the dog
never did that always happy always happy we have golden retrievers and they’re
just amazing they like us even if we don’t like them but the fact is is that
I think teens are like cats so you have children and so up until teenagers
they’re more they’re dogs in a good way exactly and then there’s this one day
when they morph into a cat and I’m and you’re saying what happened here where
did this come from now the good news is I think for most parents and it’s hard
when you’re in the middle of the battle and both of you all are in the middle of
the battle but in the middle of it you know they do turn back to dogs I’ve I’ve
had that experience what are the characteristics you are describing here
for those who may not leave it for the audience to note exactly I would again
all of your cat lovers are gonna write to you all not me but you know cats can
be a you know emotional cats can be temperamental cats can be you know
somewhat moody and I’m not saying every teenager in the world is that way but a
lot of them are because again they’re moving from dependence toward
independence when they do that it’s very much the possibility that they’re going
to go through kind of an experimental phase that they’re gonna you know color
outside the lines that they’re gonna challenge you with their faith they’re
gonna challenge you period cats tend to challenge you more at least that was my
experience as a proud cat owner then dogs dogs just kind of come back for
more and are happy to be there I’m not saying that that it’s just about
emotions but I am saying that that is a that
very actually this is deeper than we’re talking about because because kids are
going through all kinds of things they’ve gone through puberty
they’ve started at puberty and now they’ve gone through puberty and that
really changes you it does change in and this is why we’re talking about this
today because parents all of us need to be equipped to better handle that and a
lot of this teen stuff can go back to to the brain because your brain the frontal
cortex is your brain which is the decision-making process is still
developing during those teen years especially in boys right at the end of a
25 which is why your teenager might say I’m gonna jump off this thing whatever
it is you’re going that’s fatal and you know they just can’t think it through
sometimes well I remember my daughter we live in the Bible streets so we live on
Timothy Drive and that my daughter was standing on top of a car pretending like
she was with a friend of hers and she was pretending like she was surfing down
the street and dad turns the corner wit mom and of course my wife pretty much
right there had a heart attack the car was moving the car was moving yes yes
and I think I know well exactly and I was thinking the same thing but at the
same time I went well you could kind of blame it on the brain because when she’s
hopefully when she’s 25 she’s not gonna be standing on the top of that car
hopefully she’ll make it to 25 but the illustration you know bids that
sometimes kids make some really poor choices and and parents have to
understand this when they’re raising teens really good parents have kids who
make poor choices and a lot of parents beat themselves up I think we did you
know our kids took a bump at times they weren’t the perfect teenagers and I
thought they were going to because my background was student ministry but with
that we would say we didn’t give them enough you know we went to Hawaii
instead of doing a mission trip we should have prayed more we should have
done this more we should had them a church more often we took a lot of the
blame when in fact part of it was just honestly teenagers going through an
experimental stage well that’s a huge issue and I felt that too and I think
all parents feel that to a degree but speak to that parent who may have that
prodigal now I mean they’re 23 or 25 then yeah they’re not walking in the
faith and the parents take a big part of that burden and that responsibility to
say we messed up well we’re going to take it Jim it’s just gonna happen and
and yet there is that season if you look at Faith Formation that kids have to
disown their parents faith to own their own to make it really good
that’s not easy that’s not easy for the parent it’s also not easy for the kid
and what I want to do is give those parents hope because you’ll hear and I’m
sure it’s been on your broadcast it’s anytime I talk to anybody about teens
you know about 65 percent of kids who are in the church leave the church
sometime in their college years or you know workforce years or after 18 for
awhile but what we’re seeing more and more is that they do come back right
it’s on your palet fuller’s exactly Kara’s so doing great research on that
and others as well and what we do see is that the scripture that says train up a
child in the way that they would go and in the end they will return it doesn’t
say they’re gonna go through when they are old
yes exactly translation exactly take a little bit of yeah so I’m certain and
how you define old I don’t know cuz I used to define old it like 35 and now
that I’m getting older I mean it keeps getting older older but but but again
what I’m saying is is that if you were intentional if you had faith
conversations in the home if they were raised with a student ministry if they
had the intentionality and the discipline of having prayer around the
table and not I’m not talking about toxic stuff but good stuff you know what
they kind of return yeah they return when they get married they return when
they have kids does everybody know but I think the parents who are just
struggling like crazy because their kid goes I don’t want to go to church
anymore you know it’s boring and they’re 15 right what what they need to hear is
that that may be a part of their becoming a stronger believer because
their disowning their parents faith to one day on their own you know and that’s
good to remember yeah Jim I think for parents it’s it’s good to put the
adjectives to this if I can ask you to do that and again you are an expert in
youth culture so the parents who are panicked that are seeing and you can
name the things how do you give them any kind of comfort that it will change I
mean things will be different just give us some of the adjectives you’re talking
to parents around the country thousands of them what do they say to you what is
normal today well I think what’s normal is they’re panicked and they’re worried
and they are worried about the culture and you and I know that this culture is
not friendly to our teenage smartphones I mean we get more questions about
smartphones and when should I give my child a smartphone and the average age I
think now is a years old it’s definitely not then no no
so most of the expert opinion has been wait as long as you can right to do that
kind of I think I think thirty-one is a good but you’re right I mean the
questions are the practical side how do I help my kids make right and wise
decisions about pornography and it’s the issues I mean the issues of the day
pornography cohabitation changed you know when Jimmy Byrnes was growing up in
Anaheim in California the vast majority of people were not
cohabitating today even with Christian kids they were often moved toward a
cohabitation and yet the science of cohabitation says that if kids
cohabitate then they’re gonna have less productive marriages less successful
marriages more adultery things like that so yeah parents are asking those
questions they are asking a lot of questions should I let my kid be on
snapchat you know kids are jumping off a Facebook because why their parents are
on so they’re the maneuver now is everybody get on snapchat and Instagram
you know etc yeah well sand we don’t know what the next one will be but it is
serious I mean the stuff that goes on there the language that she is the
bubbly parents yeah and parents be students of the
culture get to learn the culture but don’t be panicked by the culture because
God is bigger than the culture but let me push you there Jim because it’s hard
to do right honestly if you’ve become a follower of Christ you know you’re
trying to set a tone in your home that is holy that is good and then you find
out your 14 year old is on snapchat using words that I mean my goodness
seriously no I understand so coach the parent and is what it’s not as you say
to yourself before you go ring the neck of that
well you’d like to ring the netic neck I don’t know that you do but I think you
have to show them lots of good discipline at the same time show them
lots of good grace and the all studies show this that the most powerful even
spiritual influence in the life of a kid is their parents so what’s the age where
they’re gonna maneuver that around well it’s about 12 13 14 15 ish and that’s
when they’re gonna you know move a little bit but still their parents are
the most powerful influence so hey what I like to say is just hang in there
persevere I just happened on the plane coming here to do the broadcast I was
looking at all on perseverance and Wow there were a lot
of scriptures related to the fact that what were called to do is persevere now
that not that’s not just for parents but it is for parents of teenagers that we
have to persevere but a lot of times what I’m saying is is parent them not
for obedience because they’re not gonna be obedient at 14:15 parents need to
understand that clearly yeah parrot them to become responsible adults and so that
means that even if they do those experimental things they may have to
fall they may have to fall down skinned their knee help them up pick them up
love on them through that process but let them skin their knee instead of
being the helicopter parent right now Jim I need and I’d like some examples if
you can give them to me I mean that that parent that hasn’t done the self
inventory so when you say don’t parent them toward
obedience what does a parent parenting toward obedience look like what was the
words it means that you are number one expecting them and having expectations
that they’re going to be those perfect kids and then when it comes to obedience
that we we punish them for things that are somewhat normal for teens so what
I’m saying is is allowed them to fail allow them to hurt too many parents
today aren’t leading and so what I like to
oftentimes say to parents is know you lead with authority they want to be
their best friend and I oftentimes say you can’t be their best friend you know
why because they already think you’re old so just be the parent being a parent
and having authority doesn’t mean that you yell scream shout bite and all that
what it means is is you lead them right and so as parents you lead you know and
even in a business you the leader isn’t one who’s gonna always have it right but
the leader is gonna point them in that direction and that’s what parents have
to do and then you persevere you do it today
and then you do it tomorrow you do it the next day parent you know parenting
is not for the faint of heart yeah and Jim one of the difficulties is
I think parenting in the rules can be fairly easy especially for those of us
who are Christians because we want to live up to the rules that’s kind of the
expectation and we want to do it well and so when we turn to our kids we lay
out the rules this is curfew this is what you’re gonna do and that part of
parenting can be fairly easy for the Christian parents the other side of this
though which is an irony to me is how do parents draw closer to their
kids or draw their kids closer to them that can be the more challenging one for
rules oriented parent right it is well you know I often times say and you’ve
probably heard this before but rules without relationship equal rebellion
it’s the greatest statement of parents so if you give relationship to your kids
you can give them rules I have a friend who’s a pastor in Oregon and he he was
having trouble with his kid actually faith wise and some other you know
things that the kid was doing and I said you spend much time with with him he
said yeah we do but we know we’re always talking about the you know the topics
and I said you know I know he plays basketball why don’t you go over to
Walmart and buy a basketball hoop and put it in your backyard there and start
playing basketball with him what was fascinating is over a period of time and
I watched this basketball brought them together right and the rules then still
were there but because they had a relationship the rules were more
acceptable to the son interest it actually brought the son back to the
Lord and the relationship works yeah exactly so a relationship doesn’t have
to be goody-goody friend friend you can still have a great relationship with
your kids though and not be a one topic parent hmm Jim Burns is our guest today
on Focus on the Family and he’s written a great book understanding your teen
we’ve got that at our website focused on the family calm / broadcast or call 800
the letter A and the word family to learn how to get your copy Jim the
proofs in the pudding right so you have if you don’t mind me asking you have
three adult daughters I’m sure you and your wife Cathy were diligent you being
a youth pastor what was it like for them those valuable lessons and then how did
they make the faith their own I mean you’ve said this a couple times now had
the kids at the teen years tend to separate from their parents faith and
they’ve got to embrace it for their own how did your daughters do well our
daughters did what most teens do okay now it’s comforting I mean the meaning
that our daughters were raised in the church they loved the church they loved
Jesus they went to Vacation Bible School as a family we prayed we had twenty
minutes a week little family devotional you know we looked good on paper they
got to the teenagers and they said we’re not really sure we like Church it’s kind
of boring it’s cliquish and they started saying
this now again in our home we said here’s the
deal you know our home goes to goes to church so we’re gonna be a part of
church whether you know you like it or not here’s we’re asking you for you know
a time in church so you can either be in the youth group you can meet with us
personally or you can you know be in the services and each of our kids kind of
chose not to always be with us I’ll tell you that but what was fascinating about
that was I look back at it now they had to go through a process and I mentioned
this before of disowning our faith to own their own faith that was the most
frightening time for Cathy and I because we expected because we had a student
ministry background I was a youth pastor we expected them to be like our greatest
kid from our youth group who loved Jesus never you know walked away you know
things like that can I interrupt just for a second what
drove you to have that expectation because you were the youth pastor
yeah I mean because I’m saying that for obvious reasons I feel that way
sometimes to some of my parenting will be because hey you’re my kids exactly
and that’s not healthy we’re doing these things we’re you know
we listen to Focus on the Family we’re doing what they told us to do and if
they told us to buy a book we bought the book we tried it but at the same time
you know I often say a sinner marries another sinner and then you have sinner
Ling’s and so when you introduce the center Ling’s part of it they are gonna
you know miss the mark sometimes so for for Kathy and I we needed a couple
things one is we needed to look at the long haul instead the short because
shorts not good they’re gonna say you know my kids and this is the teen years
I mean emotional talk about the emotions of them but you know they would want to
be a missionary one day and then they would not believe the next day and then
they would be mad at the church the following day and then they had decided
they wanted to now you know turn into the next name the person Amy Grant
whoever the singers were I had all girls and they all wanted to be you know
singers or whatever so what we had to ride that roller coaster but we couldn’t
believe every you know low turn or high turn because there was a turn around the
corner right we didn’t know that until we started being around other people we
were in a small group of couples and it was great because all of our kids had
moments and we sort of got to hear it from other angles and so I found that
having replenishing relationships and being honest about it saying wow our
kids aren’t doing perfectly and that’s really scaring us was that
she good we had a mentor and a mentor couple who were older than us who used
to just kind of laugh at us because they’d go why do you think they’re gonna
be perfect they’re teenagers this is what teenagers do and their kids had
already gone through the teenage years and we’re living a good life okay not
the perfect life but living a good life so what we found was having replenishing
relationships around us really really helped us and then we would get those
those moments with our kids that weren’t so bad because you know and we didn’t
seem like any three of our kids rebelled at the same time they’re all
strong-willed and fascinating enough you know like our one our oldest one Christy
she was the president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes at our school
she you know sang in the worship band but she was the one who gave us the
hardest time at the same time because in our home it was different than what she
personified a church if that must have concern you too sure it did it okay this
is a double standard a double life exactly you know in at the same time for
both Cathy and I we had to figure out how do we get on the same page with some
of these discipline things and I think that’s one of the reasons why I’ve
written on the teenage years and speak so much on the teenage years because I
think Paris honestly need the tool to say okay it’s the cell phone you take
the cell phone so if you dude if you miss this curfew then what’s a good plan
well we’re gonna leave lose your cell phone for two days and then you hand
them the cellphone right back after those two days and say I believe in you
I think you can do this but if the curfew this time now it’s gonna be four
days and so Cathy and I as much as possible had to be on the same page sure
cuz in our family I’m kind of the nicer guy and not the Cathy’s not the nice guy
but she she had firmer discipline right probably rightly so cuz I wanted to be
the Disneyland dad so often so by us being insane so so we had to actually
have kind of a plan ahead of time right and then we found that it was easier for
us to have that discussion before you know the kids did whatever they were
gonna do and and you know by being around people who had teens it made us
feel better even when they said yeah teens are gonna you know goof up some
gym in this regard I just want to play out a couple of scenarios and get your
response to them because I think like most parents they’re probably living in
places that you and I John live and people that work here focus it’s really
no different we have access to a lot of resources but just the generic points
and temperament matters when it comes to parenting were wired differently
typically people marry their opposites so to your point a moment ago with Kathy
being more the disciplinarian you’re more the Disneyland I like that
description you know that’s kind of normal in the parenting struggle and
being on the same page can be difficult but I want to play those scenarios
through because of moms and wives listening right now and dads and
husbands listening that discussion that might happen in your bedroom or in the
garage where the kids are away and the one parent usually the disciplinarian
parent is saying to the other man you’re just you’re not doing it you’re failing
as a father you’re failing as a mother and you get this war going in your
marriage as well speak to that desperate moment because you’re coming at this
from a different place you have different long views of what the kids
are gonna do you have a different reality check maybe one knows this is a
dip this is teenage years we’re gonna be here and the other ones panicked and out
of that fear comes a lot of emotion speak to the couple that’s struggling
right now they’re listening they love the topic but man their marriage is
struggling because if we didn’t have teenagers we didn’t have a far better
marriage well you know what if you didn’t have teenagers you might have a
farm and as we started looking at the phases of marriage one of the most
difficult seasons of a marriage would be teenagers exactly because of what you
just said because we didn’t rip you apart exactly and what I find and what I
try to help parents understand and this helped Kathy and myself it wasn’t
perfect at times of course but we needed to be on the same page as much as
possible and so we started I tell people read a book a year on parenting and read
a marriage book a year but what we said was if we can get kind of a plan
together it’s better so then Kathy who tended to be more of a discipline and
made less she was probably too forceful me less forceful so you know we make a
great couple that way right and of course that bugs me if she’s being too
forceful and it’s bugging her because you’re being expected to live up to
those expectations in that draft and that’s hard and vice versa you’re
exactly don’t come on no exact time on so gotta be a parent not a friend
exactly so what we need do was have a couple of strategic
resources okay we had a couple of strategic resources where we’d say this
is what they say and we kind of were able to get out of the emotion of our
relationship and go this is how you do good discipline and so we would find
people who we could relate to mostly now again we had to also realize that in our
marriage we’re gonna agree if we can agree on 80% of co-parenting we’re
awesome because and there’s things about Kathy that I respect and admire her so
much and like say for example we have a different philosophy on money with our
kids and school so those are two kind of big who wants to spend money yeah who
wants to oh no I want to spend money oh yeah we need to hang out but so what we
had to realize was that you know what she’s an educator she’s doing a good job
I wouldn’t have done it this way with her homework the way she handled kids
homework and things like that but I had to actually agree to disagree and back
her and that for me was humbling because I thought I had you know I always say to
Kathy in my humble opinion and she always then smartly goes yeah in your
humble opinion you think you’re always right so but the point being is that I
needed to just say no that’s healthy she’s not some kind of whack out you
know person so let’s let’s go with that and then I would get behind her because
I think the more times we can be behind each other even though Kathy knew we
were in disagreement over a couple of things but if she knows I’m I’m behind
her I’m for her not against her we’re on the same team working with these kids it
really is better for the marriage it’s also better for the parenting I don’t
think our kids expect us to always agree on stuff but if we can agree on most
things that’s gonna help them they’re gonna have a not a divided front we you
know United you know is what we need to be right and then if we’re gonna have
those you know bedroom conversations we need to close the door how the bedroom
conversations to talk about how are we going to relate to this kid well Jim
this has been great it’s just the start I want to come back tomorrow and I want
to talk about some of those more serious teen issues it could be perhaps drug
abuse you know tobacco vaping as big now and these are all things I know you’re
going no not in the church folks it’s happening and we want to highlight this
for you so that as a parent the teenager or maybe just beyond
teenagers you’ve got a clear view of what’s going on in the church today and
it’s important to cover that it’s not to expose people to these things that
they’re not doing it it’s to equip parents who are in the bottom of the
barrel right now feeling desperate emotionally on what are the next steps
so we’ll cover that will start with technology I want to get into that a
little bit more but let’s do it you’ve got this great book understanding your
teen that is a guide for parents to be able to start to lay the groundwork for
doing it better and we’ll invite you to call 800 the letter A and the word
family 802 three two six four five nine were stopped by Focus on the Family comm
slash broadcast to make a donation and get your copy of understanding your teen
by Jim Burns on behalf of Jim daily and the entire team thanks for listening
today to focus on the family I’m John fuller join us next time we’ll have Jim
Burns back and once again help you and your family thrive in Christ hey I’m
John fuller and thanks for watching get more info about focus over here and
more from our guests over there and be sure to subscribe to our channel as well you

4 thoughts on “Navigating the Challenges Teens Face Part 1 – Jim Burns

  1. Where was this when my family was struggling in the 60's? These help me understand what would have helped my parents so much. I especially like being able to see the people I could only hear on the radio. I really appreciate this and the guests are pure gold.

  2. What a great episode guys . I just order Mr. Burns book . I have a 16yr old daughter. Navigating where should she work . I know we can not saved them from the world but i also know we have to use wisdom to know our teens weaknesses and strengths

  3. I tell my children that we go through different seasons in our faith and sometime we don't feel as close to God, but the important thing is to keep going to church anyway, be faithful during the dark times and the happy times. When we get depressed the cure is what I call opposite world. If you don't feel like seeing anyone – call someone. If you don't feel like going to bible study go! When you isolate yourself from the Christian community that is where satan sneaks in and tries to take over. That is why we stay with the flock. That is why Jesus left the 99 for the 1.

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