Share This Episode
Family Life Today Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine Logo

Brad Griffin & Kara Powell: “Where Do I Fit In?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
June 6, 2022 10:00 pm

Brad Griffin & Kara Powell: “Where Do I Fit In?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 626 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

June 6, 2022 10:00 pm

Where do I fit in? Fuller Youth Institute's Brad Griffin & Kara Powell offer connections to help teens find the belonging their souls are hunting.

Show Notes and Resources

Find resources from this podcast at

Find more content and resources on the FamilyLife's app!

Help others find Familylife.  Leave a review on Apple Podcast or Spotify.

Check out all the Familylife's on the FamilyLife Podcast Network

Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
The Steve Noble Show
Steve Noble
Truth for Life
Alistair Begg

I remember in eighth grade. The day I felt like I belonged alone. What happened I got invited to Steve Lajoie's house after basketball practice. He was with little I he was the kid who hit puberty before all of us, so he was 62. He was the center Tabasco team. I was the point guard. It was get the ball. Steve and his golf point, but he was the man yeah and he invited me to his house and I've never invited there and I member walking in and all the guys that were in the group that I wasn't really in yet were sitting in his parents family room and the parents were gone. And as I walked in they all look to me. You and Steve said hey grab a beer out of the fridge.

Even eighth grade and I'm in the eighth grade and I'm like what I never had a beer in my dad and mom were alcoholics because like I don't do this stuff, but I remember feeling like that was the day I was in because I was English was true welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationship that matter most and will think I'm Dave Wilson and you can find us if we live or on our family life Family life today.

In this segment is so important for families and parents because every kid brothers eighth grade 6 grade 12 grade and every adult wants to know where and where do I fit logically talking about teens today because they are asking that question. Where do I even got a book called the three big questions that change every teenager we got the author in the studio with this Deborah Griffin thankfully back so fun to be here. I love this guy be over there smiling the whole time was that smile.

The refrigerator really similar story from middle pool of there was a kid I met Malone and he invited me to his house in between school and the dance. Whatever the middle school. Dan was yeah were very many of them, but they were traumatic it out but I went to his house like to hang out and get ready to go to the dance unit slid back her hair was it was it was the late 80s early 90s the others. There's a lot of their level like moose involved. If your member my stuff and I just thought wow he's actually my friend. You know me and I I spent a lot of time in my elementary middle school years belonging was the question that was out in front for me and I always felt a little bit or a lot on the outside and when when he invited me to his house. I thought okay that's it like I am actually this kid's friend and he was a cool kid you skulk it and I matter to be a social status.

Yet it matter what interesting thing is, as we talked about previously with you and Cara about your book and really your study with teenagers because you both work at the Fuller youth Institute and more portly. Like I said your your your married three teenagers in the home. Yes, so you're live in exactly this we interview these teenagers and you asked them all kinds of research questions and you discovered what you believe are the three big questions. I know we've already said it, but reminder list are one of the three big question because we just talk about one of them that are teens are asking yeah so that questionable longing. Where do I fit is a huge one for many teenagers it is the question that's out in front the other to the big question of identity.

Who am I and the big question of purpose. What difference can I make. How will my life matter in the world yeah we talked even yesterday about their similar questions we ask as adults. Here's the real question, how are they answering any one of those in the stock identity hourly answering their identity question who am I so we spent a lot of time listening and to give you a picture for that in the interview phase of our research we sat down with teenagers one-on-one with an interviewer and we met with them for up to six hours over the course of three interviews yeah so not six hours all at once, but if we space them out a little bit. A couple weeks in between and part of the purpose was to really to listen and then go back and listen again and then go back and listen again and through that practice.

We heard a lot and we heard a lot of stories when it came to identity one of the big themes we heard was about pressure and expectation and so the dominant narrative we heard from teenagers was, I am what other people expect me to be other people have these versions of me that I need to live into and live up to you. Often my parents have a lot of expectations. Sometimes it's you people at church my pastors. It's my friends have certain expectations, my teachers, my coaches and everywhere I go I just feel this pressure to be when I'm guessing to that creates pressure and anxiety yes and that's I mean a lot of teens, a majority of teens even are experiencing what you think. That's why it's a big part of it and anxiety is a word that this generation uses to define themselves and it's one of the words we think is just an overlay and they're anxious. There's a lot to be anxious about in teenage you know experience. Anyway just developmentally. You wonder, am I as good as other people you wonder is my body, changing in all the right ways. You have no idea what's going on you. There's so much to worry about getting high school then you worry about your future and all of that. But this generation it feels like has a whole other layer of pressure. Some of that's about social media and expectations we can get back in about later. Some of that I think is about her parenting and the the pressure in the expectations that we put on our kids to quite honestly performance our expectations and even that all builds up the build up and then out a pandemic on that and so you I saw some research that during the pandemic among young people. Anxiety tripled and depression quadrupled the impact of that that's going to remain. No, I don't think and I and I am one who is big on resilience. I think most kids and teenagers are very resilient and I think they're carrying with them. This builds up you know anxiety that they don't really know what to do with it, and in some ways this season has even more pressure than ever.

Okay, so I'll give you another example. So I have a junior in high school. The last normal your schools eighth grade freshman year got cut short. Sophomore year was in a very it for her. It was mostly remote and so this is junior year and all of a sudden it's like I'm going to live all high school, Holland was so when homecoming comes up like it did recently.

It feels so weighty because she's never that. And she may not have it again and so suddenly it's like every experience has this unit. This extra layer of all it's gotta be really great and am about you, but you know me and I have felt that as a parent to of you have been on vacation while this is gotta be really great for our or my kids have missed this or that and so it's gotta be a game gotta be epic. Yeah, and I'm not feeling again. Most the time that I miss in my own I'm not meet my own expectations of your parents and your seeing this in your child, and it could even happen before teenagers obviously but your scene anxiety you see in stress you see in things you didn't see Merlin one of the hats was 75% of teens feel inadequate or not enough. So keep going with your quest to San as a parent whose parents are listening what we do yet how we step in that well I'll start with one thing not to say this could be counterintuitive. Okay, I think we should stop saying what.

Just be yourself now. On the surface that sounds like a really great thing to say right yeah it actually to a teenager it can sound like more pressure it can feel like more pressure because here's the thing. They are not just to be myself what you mean, you know what I'm with my friends at school have to be this way in class have to be this way home. I have to be this way. By the way, I'm trying on new versions of myself all the time because that's what adolescence is saying that's normal development, only normal and I don't know that I like who I am. You know Hazel may not like other people may not like there's all these different pieces you know and so to just be yourself.

It actually feels like a standard, they can't live up to and so were giving them a whole other layer of something that they don't feel like they can achieve. So Brad, what we do with my kids come back like what I'm feeling school, I have no friends.

I just posted this thing on Instagram. I had like to like something I don't feel like I am enough to anybody and maybe you that your you and mom you have to love me yeah how you responded that when they don't feel like they are enough. So in that moment where my mind jumps to his.

I want to fix it yeah yeah yeah I want to fix it.

I want to jump in with oh you know you're so awesome and you're basing your talents and you know and who cares, a bit like your picture I think it's amazing look. I put on my phone lock screen. I want to fix and that impulses there because we don't want our kids to experience the discomfort they're feeling. We want them to feel better.

I think what they need is to know that there heard. So one of her colleagues said that being heard is so close to being loved.

The for the average person there the same thing yeah read that your book and I highlighted that like oh my goodness that is so well said yeah talk about that. That's true for us as adults but is referred teenager. So for the Kitimat situation actually think what could be most helpful sometimes is for us to just reflect back how that sounds really tough.

That's a lot. It sounds like you're really just feeling a lot of pressure right now you say in your book. Memorize these three words tell me more, plus what you're modeling right now. Yes, only more.

I love those words to a friend in a pastor who said I think this might be the three most loving words that we can offer another person tell me more about that. Tell me more about what it feels like when that happens. Help me understand that's another really good on I love this wondering language. I wonder.

I wonder what that's like. Even the kid who won't tell us right what they're feeling, what they're feeling. I gotta just say this is a list of those I just got this by the way, husbands. This works really well when your community with dating with your wife and I'm sure it's the other way for wife and husband, but it is only so my times just asked me to fix it so just sitting only more yummy was it. I feel I am in. I was there say that about us with 13 years, but let me ask you less as a dad or as a mom. How do we stop ourselves from said yeah but because her to say things that we know are wrong. We know they should think them and there's a part of single yeah I hear you are hereby and then we go right to the answer to solution the judgment, whatever. How do we stay away from that because that's a tendency for all of us to do is parents. Yeah, it's only the secret. I love it. I have a bottle of water right here in the studio with us and one tip that this this parent said was when you're tempted to jump in with an answer with a response with a fix just take a drink to cassette swallow, take a breath right, whatever that is just interrupt yourself. I actually think it's a discipline whether there is water. Whether it's taking breath, whatever that is the discipline of pausing and asking ourselves why am I going to respond right now and what is this kid actually need right now. And sometimes not pause. Sometimes the pause is long enough for the kid actually say the next thing where we might normally jump in with a fix, or an answer I got it so I wish I was better this mean II actually I love having the answer. I love it. I hear you when you're talking because I thought this is my greatest parenting mistake because when they start expressing their pain or their feelings of not belonging, not knowing who they are not feeling like they fit in anywhere. I get so fearful in my heart and I love them so much that I want to fix them right away.

This is the truth that's wrong thinking this is right thinking and I'm passing it out of my love for them. But that's not what they're needing right now that's been that right there. If our listeners and parents, youth leaders could do that right there. It would change our relationship with our kids And you're right it's discipline instead of just jumping into fix that. It's hard. I like that step of take a breath, take a drink and I would add, say a prayer. Yes, Jesus give me wisdom you promised to do that in James if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously got here is that he'll give us wisdom of just being able to then to ask, take a pause. I think it's hard with kids that don't open up that I had this, there may be some word like me, which would the device would be stay engaged because there's a part of me that when it goes there with even with a hand. But with a son or daughter they're going sort of deep they're going messy and I just like okay I'm out you part of me is like go work out just not getting it's like I'm uncomfortable.

I know there's mom said that's it you like you, that's me too and I just bailed don't bail. Stay engaged. You don't have to answer the question. You just need to live with them and walk with them in that journey right yes and to be okay with not resolving everything in the conversation because the other thing is you know I want. Like I wanted to be fixed now answer to come by the end of our conversation walk away feeling, whatever or for this conflict to be resolved if it's conflict and I would add this because we said the center and are no perfect parents book. A lot of times as parents we think our goal is that we have teenagers that walk with God was no sin with no disobedience or that is not the goal.

I mean, the goal is something bigger than that.

It's like me and I hope that when my son or daughter is 30 years old. There following Jesus. And you know what it may take some really bad choices in their teen years for that gold actually have an essay that's only what happens but often we like all know we can't let anything that that negative happen or you let them wrestle with doubt and struggle and those teenagers were fix radios and something we need to step back and say guys can work in this and what they need right now is a mom or dad just this comes alongside is the stable force they need, but lives with them in the journey. Let's plan a clip because this is another thing that can happen with teenagers, we recently interviewed Beth Hendrix Godby and down. She was talking about. Sometimes you really don't like your teenagers and so bad. We want you to listen to this and maybe respond. Ideally, you don't want to start in adolescence trying to like your childhood if that's not the most optimal time to do that.

I feel like we lose the magic of childhood so quickly. Like when we first find out they were having a baby boy first have them.

It's just all joy in just this is amazing and so quickly.

It just kinda flattens out and I would really encourage parents. Whatever you are try to get back into the joy received the gift and wrap the gift. It's right in front of you. It's happening but it's like you can delight in that gift.

If you choose to figure out what's right with this child in front of me and they'll help you out with that because he can't not not be this person. I love that the word that comes to mind for me is curiosity. Cultivating curiosity in the teenage years. One of the reasons that maybe we end up not liking our kids is that we just get stuck in the every day it's logistics and some of those logistics are not very fun. I have said that I can to get stuck asking my kids the same handful of questions over and over again, which I will how was your day.

Do you have homework.

Are you going to practice.

You know, do you have your stuff did you do laundry. I mean it's like it's the ridiculous did you unload the dishwasher and does not very fun questions to live with their not on asking enough on the answer and they don't cultivate curiosity, they don't actually help me get to know my kid won't help us cultivate a fun relationship or a or anything of substance and of course their necessary midweek. There's this layer of life that is just we have to function we have to learn how to function as a family, but I think that's where we lose our teenagers is we lose the wonder and the curiosity of who they are becoming. And I think sometimes when a parent ends up not liking their kid. It can be because we've stopped being curious about them. So maybe a way to get back into that is just to start asking your kids some different questions to say hey I wonder what your into these days I don't feel like I know what kind of music you like right now or I don't understand the music you listen to tell me about it is good. Even I was thinking even on social media. If they have to post immediately following.

Tell me about them might.

Why do you like to follow them or when you listening to that you resonate with those are good questions. I like that.

Yeah I judge a lot.

So this is a discipline for me to as a parent. Withholding judgment is one of my biggest downfalls that it will. It's a discipline after practice to withhold it because my downfall is just and when we hear something that we don't like or we don't know if we like it over. Not so sure we just jump straight to judgment and you're listening to David and Wilson with Brad Griffin on family life today will get back to their conversation in just a minute. The first to say love to send you a copy of Brad's book 3 big questions change every teenager is our gift to you. When you make a donation of any amount this week to support the work of family life today you do that in family life or you can give us a call with your donation at 800-3586 329B one-time gift or recurring monthly gift. Again the number is 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. Right now, back to and how she struggled to respond well when she didn't like music choices. Her kids were making. I was listening to his son back in the day. Are you kidding me out of his CD player. I throw it into the trap that really opens up conversation like my mom thinking, but I mean there's the music out. The lyrics are crazy like that. In terms of what were thinking.

So, another time. This could be take a breath to drink water yeah yeah and you're asking questions about yeah tell me what you like. I think it helps to to remember some of what we actually listened to and watched and you know and I certainly remember looking back now I mean even sometimes I'll hear something. You know a song from when I was a teenager and think oh actually listen to you know all the words to that thought yeah and that wasn't very edifying. That was a very whatever and so under the surface. Sometimes a kid wants to listen to music because they want to belong to take back to the three questions right, we actually heard the center interviews when one young woman talked about all I remember this one. She said okay. So sometimes I remember in middle school, especially she said when I knew a song and I knew the lyrics to a song I fit in, and then a new song would come out and I didn't know and suddenly felt like I didn't belong anymore with these people and I didn't understand how that worked and you know music is one of those undercurrents of teenage life and actually it can be a marker of belonging, and in particular in you know, sort of subgroups and clusters of kids who listen a particular music and so all of that it's it's part of it you know it can be part of identity will which am I an eclectic music person MIA my country music person in my what kind of music.

Am I what is it say about who I am and kids are processing that they may not even be able to be consciously aware of it but it might be about who I am might be about where do I belong and to us as parents.

It's just like that's trash.

Are you kidding me even we listen to lyrics. Kids don't necessarily listen to lyrics of euros for some kids like this is just fun to dance to. Did you hear what they're saying now.

Yeah, I think at the end of the day as you think about the three questions identity and belonging and purpose. If anybody is going to be the one to speak truth about those is us as parents and again we have to be. We talk about with be very careful why we do it we need to listen.

We need to empathize. We need to ask questions, but I also think in and shared many of her mistakes. She was the best and still is at speaking words of life and true Christ identity into our boys. Even now as men. She constantly reminds him in a inappropriate way. None of them mom hey you got but just because they're not here in this anywhere else, and I think we as parents need to make sure and I would save an action point for today was today's the day they heard from you, mom or dad the truth about who they are and where they belong and what their purposes, inappropriate, regular, consistent way to hear how it add to one of the things he did and I would do this every night I would put my hands on them shoulder their blank flight and pray for them at night and I'm praying those things over them got thinking that there part of our family. Thank you for the gifts and I would name some of things I say and I would even say that they may not see it like that idea and you do Jesus and just praying that over them because they might not always receive just praying that over them and thanking God for them. I was seeking prayer when when you said that it is you as you start to say that and one thing I was thinking about is sometimes we took something away and come back to it later. Like hey this conversation. This may not be the moment to correct that I'm a talk that away and come back to it in one of the ways we can come back to it is prayer and I'm a big fan of praying for my kids and you and is just a practice. We started when they were sold when they were babies and we keep doing it, even other teenagers and they have asked us to stop, but praying for your kids at night can be one of those contacts where you can reinforce true yeah I just text my kids things sometimes okay and you have a college student. Now the other day I just sent her a link to a song you know it's just the Lord bless you write and keep you and and the Lord make his face shine on you and I said hey, just a Tuesday blessing for you and it's little things like that where we can speak truth to our kids in incremental ways over time, and not in the heat of argument you know I wasn't in that text I wasn't disagreeing with her about music or about fashion as a whole other thing we haven't talked about or whatever, you know, it's just a hey I just want to bless you today because you and I love you That Stephen Ian Wilson with Brad Griffin on family life today is book is called three big questions the change.

Every teenager making the most of your conversations and connections you can get or by calling 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F is in family L as in life, and then the word today.

If you know anyone who needs to hear today's conversation. Be sure to share it from where ever you get your podcasts and while you're there. It really help us out if you rate and review us tomorrow evening will Seneca be talking again with Brad Griffin about how we know that when our kids stumble through the day, fall down, God still got that's coming up tomorrow. We hope you join us on behalf of David and Wilson. I'm Shelby Abbott will see you back next time for another edition of family life to family life. Today's production of family life crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime