Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Focus on the Family Broadcast

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Understanding Your Teen’s Behavior (Part 1 of 2)

Understanding Your Teen’s Behavior (Part 1 of 2)

Jim Daly and John Fuller talk with Dr. Jeramy and Mrs. Jerusha Clark about their book Your Teenager is Not Crazy. They share an overview of what is going on in the teen brain from a neurological perspective, how to understand your teen's emotions, and the impact of puberty and hormones on your teen. (Part 1 of 2)
Original Air Date: December 18, 2018

Preview:

John Fuller: Dr. Jeramy Clark shares a situation that’s pretty common in his home with one of his teenage daughters.

Jeramy Clark: I have one daughter that literally will come home, and there’s a shoe, and then, then another shoe, and then there’s a sock, and then there’s a sock, and then there’s a, a backpack, and then there’s a, a wrapper to the popcorn, and then there’s a popcorn bag, and then there’s a, a-

Jim Daly: She won’t get lost, will she?

Jeramy: … a popcorn this, a popcorn … No.

Jim: And then, there’s a mouse running across your house. (laughs)

Jerusha Clark: Exactly. (laughs)

Jeramy: And, for me, I can get frustrated, like h- how many times we have to say, “Pick up after yourself, and da, da, da, da, da,” whatever. Well, we know the adolescent brain needs scaffolding. It, we need to help them build to their maturity.

End of Preview

John: Mm. Well, you’ll be hearing more from our guest today about your teen and their brain development and how to help them build a good foundation. This is Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim: Uh, John, here’s a thought. Today we’re gonna learn what’s going on inside the brain of our teenagers, which, I think every parent should be interested in.

John: Mm-hmm, absolutely.

Jim: Um, and, as a dad, lemme tell ya. I have two young men. I’m looking forward to hearing (laughs) this great conversation so I can learn more precisely what is going on in my two boys’ brains. Uh, we’re gonna talk with Dr. Jeramy and Jerusha Clark, and they bring it. Uh, they are experts, I might add, in this area of teen development. Uh, it’s very informative, and I’m sure there are parents who are saying, “What’s goin’ on with my teenager?” If you’re not normal, you may not (laughs) ask that question, but if you’re normal, you’re gonna ask that question. Um, what’s happening is a lotta brain chemistry changes. That’s what’s going on, physiological changes, emotional changes, hormonal changes, all those things. It’s what makes the teenage years, uh, so difficult to cope as a teenager, and as a parent, trying to help them cope as that teenager.

John: And today, we wanna equip you so you can better understand, uh, where they’re at, where they’re coming from, and how to be more effective in your parenting strategies with your teen. A great resource to help is the book written by our guests called, Your Teenager Is Not Crazy.

Jim: (laughs)

John: And, uh, we do have copies of that at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And Jeramy Clark served as a youth pastor for 17 years. He’s now a pastor to ministry leaders through Standing Stone Ministry, located in Costa Mesa, California. And, uh, Jerusha is a writer and speaker, and, along with Jeramy, they have two teen girls of their own. Uh, let’s go ahead and listen in now on this conversation on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: Jeramy and Jerusha, welcome to Focus.

Jerusha: Thank you for having us.

Jeramy: Same here.

Jim: And Jerusha, you were actually here. You talked about postpartum depression probably seven years ago, so thanks for coming back. That was a powerful program, and we appreciate your openness in that environment to share those things with us. Today, we’re gonna crack open all this brain science, which-

John: Yeah.

Jim: … obviously, John and I are very interested in, al- along with about a million other listeners right now.

Jerusha: (laughs) Yeah.

John: Right.

Jim: (laughs) But before we get in there, uh, you do speak to a lotta teenagers and have for many years. Uh, what do teenagers tell you in that kind of a, an event format, where maybe you come to a church, and you’re doin’ a teen night. And they’ll line up to talk with you. I mean, I know what that feels like, ’cause I’ve-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … done a bit of that. But what do they tell you that maybe they’re not telling their parents?

Jerusha: That’s such a great question. And, in fact, we structured the entire book based on things that teenagers say.

Jim: Mm.

Jerusha: So the first chapter is, “You Don’t Understand.” There are chapters like, “Why Are You Freaking Out?” “What Do You Expect From Me?” “I Can’t Take This?” “I Hate My Life?” We really-

Jim: Check, check, check. (laughs) Okay.

Jerusha: Right. We took the things that teenagers would say to us and made those the focal points of each chapter. And what was remarkable was that we were able to see biologically in each chapter something that was occurring, and then find the different dimensions that worked into the relationship aspect between parents and their children, and finally, spiritual truth. There was not one time where there was not an application from scripture. That was so exciting to us, because it really was a holistic approach. And instead of having to read multiple books on the subject, we tried to bring everything to the parents, so they could know what’s going on physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually in one book. That was our goal.

Jim: That, yeah, and this is a terrific resource. In fact, Jean, when I was going over the prep and reading the book, uh, over the last few days, she said, “Bring that one home. I really …”

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jim: I, I always know I got a home run-

Jerusha: Aww. (laughs)

Jim: … when she says, “Hey, make sure I get that book.” (laughs) So, but let’s talk about the science.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: So let’s get into that for a minute, and then, we’ll come back to some of your stories. But what’s the broad science, the amygdala in the development of the brain, and the systems that are going on that really impact, uh, the puberty moment, you know, when that pre-pubescent child is now moving into puberty. What’s happening?

Jeramy: Well, leading neuroscientists, uh, discovered … Uh, this is just about 12, uh, tops, maybe 15 years ago, that as they could image and look at the brain, that the brain, from 11, about 11 in girls and 12 1/2 in boys, the adolescent brain begins to prune from the back to the front.

Jim: Huh.

Jeramy: And this pruning is significant. And as the brain prunes, major things happen. And, and it can account for the erratic behavior that you d- experience in your adolescent’s life. And so, as the brain, from the back to the front, begins to prune, and this-

Jim: What, what do you mean by pruning?

John: Yeah.

Jim: I just need to know. Is that the shedding of brain cells or what?

Jerusha: Yeah. Well, it’s actually very interesting, because in late childhood, there’s a radical and very explosive growth. They call it arborization, kind of similar to a tree growing new branches. And then as the s- uh, shifting point, as Jeramy was mentioning, there begins to be specialization. So the pruning is actually the process of the brain moving toward adulthood.

Jeramy: Yeah.

Jerusha: So it really is a use it or lose it time.

Jim: Interesting.

Jeramy: Right. So as a young person begins to go through this process, it can often be very confusing for them.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm. Yes.

Jeramy: Very much confusing for parents, for sure.

Jim: (laughs)

Jeramy: Hey, look. I felt like I was, uh, an all-star of young toddlers. And when my girls were little, I would race home to see them. I’d open the door, and I’d heard these, hear these little, uh, screams and that-

John: (laughs)

Jerusha: Daddy’s home. Yes.

Jeramy: … they would run down …[crosstalk]. They would run down the hall-

John: Yeah.

Jeramy: … and hug my legs.

Jim: Yeah.

Jeramy: And I just would play with them until they went to bed. I felt like I was an all-star at that point. And then things changed.

Jerusha: Mm.

Jeramy: And it began to get difficult for me, and I began to feel frustrated that I didn’t have that kinda relationship with them anymore. And this research has given me great clarity into what’s happening with my teen daughters.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jeramy: I don’t have to just white knuckle this time. I can keep growing.

Jim: But it’s those underlying things … And this is what I love about your book. You’re, you’re helping parents better understand what’s going on in the mind, literally, of your teenager-

Jerusha: Yeah.

Jeramy: Correct.

Jim: And that’s what I love. Jerusha, you mentioned something with your oldest, uh, when she turned 12, that you’d began to feel apprehensive. Um …

Jerusha: Yeah, I was so nervous.

Jim: Yeah, what was goin’ on?

Jerusha: Yeah, I, I mean, though Jeramy and I had worked with teenagers for many years, I started realizing how fearful I was of the teenage years. People make such a big deal of how difficult it is, and “Oh, you’ve got teenagers now.” And I realized I was dealing with a lot of fear, and I had to take that to the Lord and ask for help, um, and peace. And one of the ways, because He’s wired me to investigate and be curious, that’s one of the reasons that I jumped into this research. I needed to know, because I didn’t want to just try to get through these years. I wanted to actually enjoy them as much as possible.

Jim: What did you … I mean, and again, some people listening don’t have a relationship with the Lord. It’s one of the great things I appreciate-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … about the radio program, John.

Jerusha: Yeah.

Jim: Um, not everybody is there. Describe what that means, when you pray to the Lord, what did you actually, um, receive back that began to give you greater confidence that your fear began to dissipate? What was tangible in that regard?

Jerusha: Yeah, I’m glad you put your finger on that. And, just to let you know, in the book, we very much tried to, um, bridge the gap between those who maybe have had a relationship with God for many years, and those who currently are questioning or, uh-

Jim: Certainly, teenagers will make you question your (laughs) relationship with the Lord. Uh …

Jerusha: Yes, that is absolutely true. But with regard to my own relationship and how that worked was I was beginning to feel that kind of pit in my stomach, um, uncomfortable, nervous feeling. And when I take my cares and lay them down and say, “I can’t do this on my own,” I receive God’s peace. And that is profound. Um, it’s-

Jim: Mm.

Jerusha: … you know, exhibit A for evidence of a relationship with God actually changing things, ’cause it does. I, I genuinely felt as He took those cares from me, as I let them go … And it’s hard-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jerusha: … not to keep going back and grabbing ’em again. Um, but as I let those go, I did experience, He calls it the peace that passes understanding.

Jim: Yeah.

Jerusha: ‘Cause there’s, really, it doesn’t make a lotta sense when it comes to teenagers. You would think, “Yeah, I need to be afraid.” (laughs)

Jim: But it’s a w- … You’ve said it very well. It, that’s the shalom of God, the peace of God.

Jerusha: Oh, yes.

Jim: And that’s what so much of the world desperately needs, especially in parenting-

Jerusha: Yes.

Jim: … ’cause there is a chaotic world out there. But it is the peace of God that allows you to get through so much of this. So if you’re-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … man, if you’re struggling, you don’t know what to do, and you don’t have a relationship with Christ, call us. Talk to us about that today. That’s kind of the bedrock. We can help you with your family issues, but if we don’t introduce you to who Jesus Christ is, man, we have missed the mark.

Jerusha: Mm, yeah.

Jim: So do that. Uh, be bold enough to call us today, and talk to our counselors. Talk to our phone folks about what it means to have a relationship with Christ. Let me come back now to parenting teens, which should drive you to a relationship (laughs) with Christ.

Jerusha: Yes, certainly.

Jeramy: (laughs)

Jim: I keep joking about that, but it’s so true. Um, you break the book down into multiple segments, like you said. One of them is a statement, John, I’m sure you’ve never heard in your household, you and Dena, from a teenager: leave me alone. (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jim: I think that may have been just the other night, one of my boys said that.

John: Oh, it’s been, it’s been that long for you?

Jim: Would you just leave me alone? (laughs)

John: Twice this morning I heard it before school.

Jim: And then what do I do? I go tickle ’em, because I just think that’s fun.

Jerusha: Yeah.

Jim: I do the opposite, but what is a teenager expressing when they’re expressing leave me alone?

Jerusha: Yeah. Well, some of the radical changes that are happening in the brain are both physically and emotionally exhausting for teenagers, so they actually do need space. And, as parents, I think it’s important to recognize that. I kind of downplayed the physiological aspects that were going on, but as I researched them, as Jeramy and I discussed them, we realized we do actually need to give our kids space. And this is where the important principle of discernment comes in, because there are times that we need to push in and not allow our kids to push us away. There are other times we need to leave them alone, and so using discernment is so key. In fact, the two watchwords for us in the whole book are compassion and discernment.

Jim: Mm.

Jerusha: The word used most often to describe Jesus’ emotions in the gospels is compassion. And so, as parents, having the compassion for our teenagers that are going through these radical changes, but then also the discernment to be able to see when to speak, when to be silent.

Jim: Yeah.

Jerusha: I mean, it’s just like (laughs) you know, Ecclesiastes say there’s a time for everything.

Jim: Yeah.

Jerusha: And hopefully, not to live and die in this teenage season (laughs), but …

Jim: And one of the most difficult things as parents, we fail to remember this, is that there’s usually underlying issues. When the baby is small, an infant, the reason they cry is they’re uncomfortable, something’s wrong. They’re hungry, they have a wet diaper. They’re trying to express in the best way they know how, which is to cry, ’cause-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … they can’t speak yet, um, to tell you, “I’m in need of some attention.” And, of course, you can apply that rule all the way up to a five-year-old, a 10-year-old, and a 15-year-old.

Jeramy: Correct.

Jim: So I think what you’re saying here in some of this brain transition is it’s a teenager’s cry to say, “I’m changing, and I don’t know what’s goin’ on.”

Jerusha: Yes.

Jim: “I don’t know why I yelled at you, Dad.”

Jerusha: Yes.

Jeramy: That is so true. It’s so revealing, this whole research. For my daughter, we’ll sit down and try to get to the core of some issues, but oftentimes, she really doesn’t know how to express herself.

John: Hmm.

Jeramy: She doesn’t understand, really, what’s going on-

Jerusha: Mm.

Jeramy: … within her own brain and in her own life and her own emotion. And, and so, for us, one of the best things we can do during those moments is not continue to, to follow ’em down the hallway and into their bedroom. Sometimes it’s okay to let them go, and sometimes, even for me as a parent, to let them have the last word. Like, oh my, it’s not gonna end the world by allowing my 15-year-old daughter to have the last word.

John: Well, Your Teenager Is Not Crazy. That’s the title of the book we’re talking about today with Jeramy and Jerusha Clark on Focus on the Family. You can the book and the CD or download of this conversation all at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or, um, as Jim mentioned, we know things can get really intense with teens. And if you need to, um, schedule a consultation with our counselor. Our number here 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. All right, let’s continue the discussion on Focus on the Family with Jeramy and Jerusha Clark.

Jim: Uh, Jeramy, you mentioned that whole thing about step back, take a deep breath. We don’t naturally do that. What triggers do you use as parents, both of you-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … to do that? You have two teen girls. You’re in the middle of it, so now you’re experiencing it. It’s not theoretical for you any longer, speaking to parents’ groups or teens-

Jerusha: Mm.

Jim: … about teenagers. You’re in it with your own teens.

Jeramy: We are.

Jim: So how do you do it? How do you say … ‘Cause your flesh just wants to move in that direction.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: “Let me tell you, son, this is why you need to take out the garbage, and I’ve told you 25 times, and I don’t wanna tell you a 26th time. Do you understand me?” (laughs)

Jeramy: Right. Right.

Jim: And you gotta say, “Okay, that’s not working. That’s stupidity,” the definition of doin’ the same thing over and over again and getting the same result.

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jim: So how do we become more effective, more Christlike in our parenting?

Jeramy: Well, we understand, first, it comes through just understanding. Do you know that their perspective memories of adolescence is developing, meaning it’s hard for them to determine in advance what they should do. They, they are constantly thinking in the moment, but it’s hard for them to assess what, what I should do right now for something in the future. So we get exhausted by repeating ourselves.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jeramy: But if I know that, if I know that my adolescent’s brain is developing unevenly and at times, i- I’m gonna have to keep reminding them, it takes some pressure off of me, and it gives me a greater compassion for where they’re at. That, I have one daughter that literally will come home, and there’s a shoe, and then, then another shoe, and then there’s a, a sock, and then there’s a sock, and then-

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jeramy: … there’s a, a backpack, and there’s a, a wrapper to the popcorn, and then there’s a popcorn bag, and then there’s a, a-

Jim: She won’t get lost, will she?

Jeramy: … a popcorn this, a popcorn … No.

Jim: And then, there’s a mouse running across your house. (laughs)

Jerusha: Yes, exactly. (laughs)

Jeramy: And, for me, I can get frustrated, like, h- how many times we have to say, “Pick up after yourself, and da, da, da, da, da,” whatever. Well, we know the adolescent brain needs scaffolding. It n- literally, it, we need to help them build to their maturity.

Jim: Mm.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jeramy: And something that we often say to one another. And I c- … I have the most incredible partner right here, my wife, and-

Jim: (laughs)

Jeramy: … and we are in it together, married 18 years, and we say better together. Uh, it’s me and you against the world.

Jim: (laughs)

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jeramy: It’s me and you, even a- against our kids at times.

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jeramy: But we say, we say, “Hey, you have an adult brain, use it.” We have, parents have the ability to be mature, to be well-seasoned, to hold their emotion, to let the arc fall, to rise, get frustrated, but let it fall. We can, we can be mature and not enter in. W- so we, we wanna rise above.

Jim: Right.

Jeramy: And so those are some of the things that we’ll look at each other, because as much as I can know the research, we still blow it on a daily basis.

Jerusha: Yeah.

Jim: Do you, do you give each other permission to call each other out privately about that?

Jerusha: Yes, we do. In fact, that’s-

Jim: “You know, honey, you really attacked that a little, uh, inappropriately.”

Jeramy: Oh, absolutely.

Jerusha: Yeah.

Jeramy: Uh, she’ll grab my arm and whisper in my ear. “You have an adult brain.”

Jim: (laughs)

Jerusha: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jeramy: And I’m like, “Uh, do I?” (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) Will, I was- … gonna ask you about that. Now brain science shows that a male’s brain isn’t fully formed until 50 years old. No, I’m just kidding.

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jeramy: Wow,

Jim: I think it’s 24. Uh, which is [crosstalk].

Jeramy: Sounds optimistic.

Jim: ‘That seems late, even at that. 24 is the m- actually, uh, research, but little tongue-in-cheek. But the development of the brain, what’s developing that takes 24 hours in a male brain, and I’m not sure what the female brain is, twenty, twenty-

Jerusha: Well, it’s 23, typically, for-

Jim: Yeah.

Jerusha: … young women, and actually, that portion of the brain that is the final frontier of maturation is the executive functioning of the brain.

Jeramy: Judgment.

Jerusha: It’s the brain’s CEO. It’s called the prefrontal cortex, and it’s located, like, right behind your forehead, so don’t bang your head. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs)

Jerusha: Um, but-

Jim: No Three Stooges, then.

Jerusha: Yes, exactly. No, the teenage brain, as it is pruned, like we mentioned earlier, it’s also being what’s called myelinated. Myelin is, acts like insulation on a wire, when you’re, you know, doing electrical work. You insulate the wire so that the electricity can go down faster. Well, the brain has a similar function with myelin sheaths. It allows the transmission of thoughts to go quicker and e- more specialized. So that’s actually the process that finishes around 23 for girls and between 24 and 25 … For some young men, even 27. That’s kind of the outside, you know, the outskirts.

Jim: So we start late, and we end late. (laughs)

Jerusha: Well, but, you know, it’s wonderful to see the differences in the book. We have chapter devoted individually to both the female brain and the male brain for adolescents, and it’s wonderful to see what God does. And why it takes a little bit longer for young men, but it’s-

John: Uh, answer the why part, please. There are a lotta parents wondering why is this taking so long?

Jerusha: Yeah. (laughs)

Jim: (laughs) I don’t even know if that … It’s just, “What’s wrong with you?” (laughs)

Jerusha: Again, the compassion aspect. If you consider that a young man, um, experiences an increase of testosterone between the ages of 10 and 20, that’s 30 times the amount of childhood-

Jim: Wow, that’s, that’s just a rush.

Jerusha: … during adolescent. Just to secure your compassion alone, and-

Jim: Hmm.

Jerusha: … because the, um, testosterone works with other brain structures, specifically what you mentioned earlier, the amygdala, the seat of fear, char- emotionally-charged memories, causes that and the hypothalamus to grow larger in young men. So it takes longer for their brains to become accustomed to perceiving threats, to understanding risk versus benefit. Um, all those things are wonderful, because, and here’s the why, because our men need to be brave.

Jim: Right.

Jerusha: Our men need to be courageous, and God is giving them opportunities to test that and try that. And I think it’s a beautiful thing. Is it frustrating and confusing for parents? Yes. Can we have greater discernment and compassion understanding these things going on? Absolutely. So I, I think what Jeramy was pointing to is that it doesn’t remove the parental emotion. We’re still gonna feel frustrated and confusing, but we can choose not to go with those emotions.

Jim: Well, and there’s so many things you’re saying there that, you know, my brain is sparking thinking about the feminization of boys in our culture.

Jerusha: Oh, gosh. Yes.

Jim: Um, the fact that this is in their wiring, the-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … aggressiveness, the exploration-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … the desire to climb a tree that is dangerous-

Jerusha: Right.

Jim: … and we’re all yellin’ at him. “Don’t do that.”

Jeramy: (laughs) Right.

Jim: “Don’t go there, you’re gonna …” And it’s really being driven by their brain science.

Jerusha: Yes.

Jim: I mean, that’s, that’s something to remember as parents. You gotta let, uh, kids explore. You gotta let them, uh, you know, test the edges. That’s where they gain confidence-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and better understand who they are. That definitely describes the boy’s brain. Um, let’s give the girls some due here. What’s happening for the teenage girl with her brain development, uh, in terms of size and other things?

Jerusha: Yeah. Well, one of the most fascinating things is that a girl’s brain, um, the increase in progesterone interacts with a stress hormone called cortisol. So when a stressful thing happens in a girl’s brain, the progesterone in her brain makes it more difficult for her to calm down.

Jim: Oh.

Jerusha: There really is a reason why girls tend to have more drama than boys. So, as a parent, one of the things that you can do is allow the girl to calm down. Um, say, you know, give her some space. Allow her to go in her room. And, as Jeramy mentioned earlier, don’t fuel the emotion.

Jeramy: Sure.

Jerusha: Let the emotion rise and fall.

Jim: Right.

Jerusha: Eventually, it takes about 30 minutes, they say.

Jim: Right. So not the 90-second thing.

Jerusha: No, no.

Jim: (laughs)

Jerusha: For the, for the calming down, ’cause once cortisol is released in the brain, it takes awhile for it to-

Jim: Huh.

Jerusha: … kinda … In fact, in both girls’ and boys’ brains, um, the reaction is inverse to adults. So whereas our brain, as adults, releases a chemical called THP to counteract cortisol, in teenagers, THP is ineffective. And, in fact, it can sometimes have the reverse effect and cause escalating stress.

Jim: Huh.

Jerusha: So we really, even though we feel, we look at them and think, “You can handle this.” We really have to look with compassion and say, “Okay, they need fewer stresses in their life.”

Jim: So, as a parent of a teen girl, and you, you recognize this. This is what’s happening. I’m in that moment. What’s a good thing to say? Let’s take a break for 30, 45 minutes, and then let’s, uh, talk about this again.

Jerusha: Yep. Don’t continue the conversation. Don’t minimize; try to empathize. So, for instance, one of the stresses that may come up is there’s a huge zit on her forehead before homecoming. And you’re like, “It’s really not a big deal.” It is a big deal to her.

Jim: Mm.

Jerusha: The stress that comes for a young woman, don’t minimize those things. “Oh, you’ll get over it. It won’t be that big of a deal. Just use concealer.” Don’t minimize, empathize. “That must be really hard for you, honey.”

Jim: Yeah.

Jerusha: And that just brings it down one level. “I can understand why that would be really frustrating. Is there anything I can do to help?” takes it down another level. You know, it’s just these calm, taking a step back, one after another, instead of adding fuel to the fire.

Jim: Uh, you mentioned in the book, Your Teenager Is Not Crazy, about the, uh, need for parents to surrender their need to be right. Okay, let me say that again, ’cause everybody just went, “Ouch.”

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jeramy: Ouch.

Jim: This is our battle.

John: But I am right.

Jim: Yeah.

Jerusha: (laughs)

Jim: That’s the point. So how do you coach a parent not to gravitate to that, my need to be right? And especially black and white thinkers, you know?

Jerusha: Yes.

Jim: And my wife’s a biochemist. She’s right most of the time. (laughs)

Jerusha: Mm.

Jeramy: You know, I just ran into one of, uh, our members at church, and he was having a fight with his son, who’s, yeah, happens to be 14. And, and they were just goin’ at it, and just arguin’ with one another. And the dad was so involved in the argumentation and it just, he’s so frustrated, it’s almost like he couldn’t stand out and, you know, far enough to recognize just what was goin’ on. The son’s just exploring life. He’s curious. He’s doubting. He’s questioning everything. And so, for us as parents to encourage other parents to allow kids to explore, allow kids to disagree-

Jerusha: Mm.

Jim: Mm.

Jeramy: … allow kids to challenge you. They’re trying to explore the world, and press into that, don’t just stop it. Uh, one of the things I try to do, and I leads lotsa teams and ministries, and I, I try to practice yes/and, instead of no.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jeramy: And we would just always stopping somebody and pressing them-

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jeramy: … in a different direction, I try to think, “Yes,” and, “How do I step into these conversations without crushing their spirits-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Jerusha: Yes.

Jeramy: … without quenching the fire that’s within-

Jerusha: Hmm.

Jeramy: … of the curiosity and the creativity and all of that. And I think parents want to be right, and at the very core of it, I think my issue, for me, is respect. I have an idol-

Jim: Hmm.

Jeramy: … of respect.

Jim: Hmm.

Jeramy: And some of … We talk about this and-

Jim: Is it an idol? Or is that a reasonable requirement? (laughs)

Jeramy: Well-

Jerusha: Well, all idols are good things that are made ultimate things. I mean, respect is a good thing, but when you make it the ultimate thing, that’s when it becomes an idol.

Jim: Mm. Mm.

Jerusha: So, y- yes, our children should respect us. That’s a very biblical idea, and yet, respect or our own comfort or our security or our peace, th- those can all become idols as we allow them to become the defining characteristics of our life. Like-

Jim: Hmm.

Jerusha: … our teenagers are going to make us uncomfortable, and if we are looking for our life to be, you know, comfortable above everything else, then we’re gonna have trouble.

Jeramy: So I think helping parents and, and we teach parenting seminars. We talk about recognizing this in our own lives. What kind of idols are we defending in our lives-

Jim: Mm.

Jeramy: … potentially, because that informs everything that happens with our kids. If I’m defending this idol of respect, and I think everything they say and everything that comes outta their mouth is disrespecting me, then I’m defending that. And I have this expectation that they will just walk around and treat me as king, that’s a problem.

Jim: Yeah, it-

Jerusha: I do that for you, baby. (laughs)

Jeramy: Yes.

Jim: (laughs) I love it.

Jeramy: This is true.

Jim: This is good. You guys, we have covered a little bit of this. There is so much to go into, and I’m not even sure if we’re gonna get it all done in a couple of days, but let’s continue to roll through, come back next time, and pick up on this disrespect issue. Maybe we could do a little role playing, ’cause those of us in the parenting realm, um, I think, John, you and I could come up with a few phrases of disrespect (laughs) that we’ve heard in our lives.

Jerusha: Oh, yes.

Jim: And have you, uh, come back about how we, as parents, should be thinkin’ about this. How we take a deep breath when your child shows you disrespect. I think the other thing is, uh, is certainly peer pressure.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: When you have friction within the teen relationship with parents, um, it can push teens into relationships that are unhealthy.

Jerusha: Good point.

Jim: And they find, uh, comfort in their friendships because the expectations aren’t there.

Jerusha: Mm-hmm.

Jim: “I can just be relaxed. I don’t have to worry about grades, and my people love me.”

Jerusha: Mm.

Jim: “And I don’t feel loved by my parents.” Let’s get into all that next time. Could we do it?

Jerusha: Yes, certainly.

Jeramy: Yes, please.

Jim: All right, let’s do it.

John: And contact us for a copy of the book by our guests, Your Teenager Is Not Crazy, and learn about how you can be more effective as a parent by understanding those physiological changes that are going on inside of them. Uh, our number here is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. And you can find the book and other resources, as well, including a CD or a download of this conversation. And our mobile app, too, it’s all at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: And I know, uh, you’re gonna wanna read this book, and we wanna make it available. And if you can give a gift of any amount to Focus, we’ll send it to you as our way of saying thank you. It’s, hopefully, a fun way to be part of the ministry, not just a recipient of it, but also partake in it and bless others. And for those who can help us offset the cost of getting this resource into the hands of people who can’t afford it, uh, that is another good way. So, yeah, make a gift of any amount, and we’ll send you the book or help us cover the cost of getting the resource out to those who need it but can’t afford it.

John: And again, our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459. Well, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, I’m John Fuller inviting you back, as we, once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

 

Today's Guests

Your Teenager is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen's Brain Can Make You a Better Parent

Get the Clarks' book Your Teenager is Not Crazy with your donation of any amount!

Recent Episodes

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Hope for Every Marriage (Part 2 of 2)

Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs describe their marriage journey of infidelity, divorce and restoration, and encourage other couples not to give up on redeeming their relationship. (Part 2 of 2)

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Hope for Every Marriage (Part 1 of 2)

Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs describe their marriage journey of infidelity, divorce and restoration, and encourage other couples not to give up on redeeming their relationship. (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast logo

Finding Freedom in Humility

Radio host and author Brant Hansen discusses our continuous need for self-reflection and the pursuit of humility, which has become all the more necessary as we live out our days in a culture of self righteousness.

You May Also Like

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Avoiding Shame-Based Parenting

Psychologist Dr. Kelly Flanagan discusses the origins of shame, the search for self-worth in all the wrong places, and the importance of extending grace to ourselves. He also explains how parents can help their kids find their own sense of self-worth, belonging and purpose.

Focus on the Family Broadcast logo

Becoming a Clutter-Free Family

Joshua Becker discusses the benefits a family can experience if they reduce the amount of “stuff” they have and simplify their lives. He addresses parents in particular, explaining how they can set healthy boundaries on how much stuff their kids have, and establish new habits regarding the possession of toys, clothes, artwork, gifts and more.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!