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Effective Communication

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Do you feel like walls are being put up between you and your teen. Try these foundation ways to better connect.

While battling cancer, Karen sobbed, crying out to the Lord. She thought she had the house to herself that morning, but her youngest, 13-year-old Emory, was still home.

Knocking on her bedroom door, Emory said, “Mom, please tell me that you’re all right.”

Karen dried her eyes. She acknowledged the awkwardness of the moment and talked to her daughter about God being her comfort. Parents struggle to get teens to talk to them, yet mothers and fathers often ignore moments that lend themselves to good communication.

Karen and her husband, Mike, let their teens know they were more valuable than whatever else was going on. Karen might say, “I know the phone is ringing, but what you’re telling me is also important.” She didn’t hesitate to stop what she was doing to give her full attention. Eye contact and physical touch reinforced the connection.

Teens respond to genuine honesty. Since most of them already know their parents aren’t perfect, showing imperfection is OK. Conversations that recognize a parent’s humanness are important in the parent-teen relationship.

“How we say things is often more important than what we say,” high school guidance counselor Kathleen Allen says. If parents work on how they deliver their words, teens may hear them better.

Finally, praying — alone and with your teen — is essential. As you pray, remember that effective communication means all topics are open for discussion, not just ones of your choosing. Pray that you won’t become defensive, and ask God how to respond authentically — with grace and kindness.

Three Ways Families Found Communication Amid Conflict

Follow Through and Don’t Get Angry

Seventeen-year-old Melissa grinned. “Do you notice anything different?” She pulled back her hair to display a metal ball protruding from her ear cartilage. Linda and her husband, Jaime, had told Melissa to wait until she turned 18, which was a month away, to have her ears pierced. Ignoring her tearful pleas, they told her to take it out. Melissa later said that she had performed the piercing herself to save money. That opened a conversation about the dangers of infection. Had they handled the situation with anger, the opportunity to discuss piercings would have been lost.


—Linda Gonzalez

Pray for Insight

“I don’t want to go,” Karen’s son declared as he stomped into his bedroom. He wanted to stay home and play a new video game instead of going to youth group. Karen prayed, “Lord, show me what I can say.” She felt her son needed to be there. So she went to his room and told him that she wanted him to go because she felt God telling her to take him. He understood. The surprise on his face showed her that he hadn’t realized God was in authority over her as well. Although nothing major happened at youth group, the experience helped Karen’s son learn more about his mother’s relationship with God.


—Karen Evans

Provide Opportunities for Experience

“Jessica, please empty the dryer and fold the clothes,” Kathy asked.
“It’s not my turn,” her daughter answered.
This conversation was repeated countless times. Kathy found it difficult to connect her daughter’s desire for clean clothes with the work required — until Jessica went with her to an orphanage in Haiti. Jessica volunteered to help the missions team do the orphanage’s laundry. They washed the clothing in tubs of water with lye soap and hung them to dry.

Jessica never said much about her experience, but once they returned, she no longer complained about doing the laundry.


—Katrina Cassel

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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