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August 23, 2022 6:00 am
Dr. Ken Wilgus encourages parents to deliberately work their way out of the parenting role by the time their child is 18, and instructs them to see their teenagers as young adults, not large children. He offers tips on how to progressively give your teen more responsibility, along with examples of how to have difficult conversations on a range of topics, from music choices to dating. (Part 1 of 2)
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My calling plan emancipation plan emancipation is you taking the reins and marshaling an orderly retreat out of your teenagers lives. If you've got teens or preteens. Stay tuned because we will plan for successful parenting that you won't want to miss your host is focused president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller will judge you, and I survived the teen years with our kids.
And although it's a tumultuous time. It's also a great time to be training them for adult life and all of the responsibilities that come with it in today's guest, Dr. Kim logos offers a very firm yet friendly strategy that I think our listeners are going to want to embrace Dr. Ken is a psychologist, author and speaker who specializes in adolescent behavior and he has a private practice in Dallas, Texas. His book is called feeding the mouth that bites you, and he's been in the studio with us a couple of times in the past and this is gonna be a little bit different than those times were sharing a presentation from Dr. Ken that he gave to a big crowded appearance event sponsored by Christ's Church of the Valley in Phoenix Arizona with that and I was Dr. Ken Lucas on Focus on the Family so here's what were going to do is that there's kind of two parts. The first thing is that I want to talk to you about what is close to a magic thing that you need to know there is a thing that if you and it'll take about 1520 minutes for you to be enlightened and if you know this thing.
It is the closest thing to a key to unlock and do be more effective with your teenage I'm not getting so it's important that I really want you to think about this because the parents that notice. The teachers of the teacher training the teachers that notice can be much more impactful and those that don't just it's just a struggle.
So then after I do that Dustin's gonna come up and organize can ask a bunch questions so that we get to specifics, but the first thing is for you to understand something about your teenager and it was the thing that I first understood when I must've been the first day in adolescent psychology class when the teacher said now of course you know that modern adolescence was created about 100 years ago and the term teenager was invented around 1942 and the class just sat there and I was like what what is talking about is something that is critical for you to know when you think about teenager with the things we joke about surly argumentative emotional of rebellious all those things that we think about 150 years ago, no one would know what you're talking about a 13 and 14-year-old boy was out working with the men a 14-year-old girl was very likely married and pregnant. This is a new thing and it's important that you know that this was created and what's been created and there's many books about this but the clearest example is that or statement is that we have artificially extended childhood to very very long never ending stage you are living in a culture that does not know how to translate its children into adults and it's gotten worse over the years and this is been going on. It was there with your parents and your grandparents. But it's gotten worse and worse. It went from what we do in America is you have thing you can't fix. You make a movie.
So we had rebel without a cause and then it becomes failure to launch it just gets harder and harder. So here's the thing that you need to know, and I am not kidding. The thing that was known all around the world for all of time and it is this childhood comes to its natural end by about the age of 13 that is virtually when it is over. It does not mean your job is over, but this is the part that I cannot emphasize enough your job changes because teenagers are not old children. They are very young adults. Now don't panic their very young, very poor adults.
They own nothing. You know, and they're very inexperienced but they are, and they have crossed over into adulthood. Your job will change from teaching to training and the most common mistake the parents make is using childhood parenting techniques with adolescents when he was seven or would not 10. He never liked cleaning his room and would say, you know, not Justin. I mean, you need to get in a clean room and he would finally go in there now he's 15 and I think there's a hearing issue. I don't know, but he we have to scream it and even then he says I just a minute. What what is this a cognitive thing. He has changed from possibly a strong-willed child to an adult that really is really wanting the answer to one question and I want you to think about this question somewhere in every teenagers soul is the question hey, I'm beginning to look and think and act more like an adult. When will you say that I am completely an adult the same as you know want you to take a minute don't compare your answers.
But think about when would you say that this child of yours is at your point at your level and adult got your answer, fix an answer because I want to tell you there's three answers in his room usually almost always one is an age 1820 want usually a dad is like cleans easy whatever guy, but that's not most of you most of you then will throw the other one which is the what I call the under my roof theory was always on hand for thinning eyes. They can answer to me with it right and then there's many of you, the more sensitive ones.
That's the know it when I see it when she shows us that she's got to cook the responsibilities. Whatever your thing is and that's virtually always what we answer, but you'll notice we don't all have the same answer because we live in a culture that doesn't give a clear answer to a very good question. There are problems. By the way you think the age thing is dopey. It's not as dumb as you think, for the ones that are the under my roof category. You know the boomerang or is okay, those are young adults that have left home and then for divorce or whatever they come back home and their living and hope in their under my roof and you know were still never cooperative because they're not doing anything and maybe a little job you know and is that an adult because under that theory.
No, they're still not yet there. An adult that 30-year-old at home is an adult. I think that's right the know it when I see it right. Whatever your thing is, don't you have uncle someone so that's like 50 and he never learned that C's not that either what you're doing is you run into the problem of I am waiting for my teenager to show me when they're done like the very old kung fu show that the guy would say you'll know you're ready to leave the temple when you can snatch the pebble out of my head. What is there not even trying to snatch the pebble out of your head. Seriously, give it a shot out. I won't even look, it's a problem or we wait for them and what is needs to happen is that instead like all of history you can make your household work against that confusion, you can put in place in your house and orderly retreat from control and instilling the message that in this house you will grow up. You do not have to get away and one of the things that is interesting. When I talk mostly very often to Christian families is that Christians tend to have a high percentage of families that are the ones that you just have to get away because of fear, and some sense of what God is requiring of me. Whatever. And I don't know if you've noticed, but our faith is looking more and more ridiculous to the world. It's getting darker out there and we cannot afford to be producing kind of obedient, weak willed adults who don't know what they think and have never really practiced.
They need to be ready. Don't you think for the kind of assault that they are given and this is critical that Christians do this.
So, do you understand now that your teenager is not an old child. He and she are a young they are a young adult, you should think of a teenager as an adult in training and your task is to move them on and how do you do that so that's number one. You're now enlightened got it you will you will be the one to instead of them trying control out of your cold dead hands. You will instead give it over and orderly pace that makes sense to the you'll know. So how do you do that. I call it planned emancipation, planned emancipation is you taking the reins and marshaling and orderly retreat out of your teenagers lives. It is sort of like, and I don't mean giving more privilege with responsibility. That's good with children like the there's a whole series of parenting with love and logic, Jim five very good series that some people go was the same thing no what you're doing is that you have put in us essence a clock on the wall that is now taking down to the end of your job 18 isn't actually the end, the end is when they finish high school. That's when they need to be ready, even if they stay at your house. They need to be ready so planned emancipation is essentially it's like think about it this way your teenager feels like an occupied country so picture a nation with your kids name on it, you know, Brandon.
Whatever this is, you know my kids and in its divided up into states little air territories called friends close school money. These are different areas.
Discrete areas of control and management. You understand that's the map. Now I want you to mark and kinda scribble in each state where you are still in control of it.
This is where your troops are occupying their territory.
That's how teenagers feel they don't get rebellious they actually feel like you don't need to be in this business.
This is not your business, did you know teenagers this'll stun you if you asked many teenagers did you finish your homework they'll say yes. But here's the thing they did, then they will lie to you and it's not uncommon they don't even feel guilty about Dr. Lopez and I think it's a social is a psychopath.
How can I know there is actually normal lying.
Normal lying is essentially a passive war against you, and I'll tell teenagers I'm like dude, you don't need to be line you get the guts to tell your mom what you think, which is, I don't think this should be your business and I don't want to tell you the truth and you can't really find out that's what teenagers you are occupying army in their territory. Does that make sense. So what you do is that you announce at the beginning of adolescents you announce that we are going to be retreating out of your life. One state at a time and we will be gone and you want to keep right letting them know that you will grow up here. The answer to most all of your questions is never know it is not yet. So if you want to be able to do this and that. Not yet. It will come to this point and the more that you give over freedom.
Freedom is not, I will give you a chance to do it will see how it goes. Freedom is. This is no longer our business. This is up to you and God. And we are out of it, and you pull your way out so that eventually that map they are in control of all. Does that make sense.
I'll give you some examples and just you know that's my wife, Sally, stand up, wife Sally 40 years we've entered. Thank you and that poor woman had to put up with all of this stuff with this mad scientist husband that we did all this stuff. So for example when our kids turned 13, among whatever present they got you no longer have to keep your room clean stay with me. I had mothers bring a photo going you mean this and no don't bring up asthma.
Either they're not gonna die. Don't do that. You don't need to keep your room clean anymore with freedom always comes responsibility. That's you know where the washer and the dryer are you'll be doing your own laundry. You don't want us going and messing with your stuff. It's now up to you all and you can keep food in there if you can afford an exterminator. But since you cannot, I'll probably charge you $0.50 or a buck for a plate. Whatever left back there almost like a landlord.
But here's the thing number one you may know that you know how much conflict and chest strain goes on just to try to get the room clean and then you work your head off.
Have you been to any freshman dorm in this country boys dorm there all raised in Barnes apparently you know for them. It's their first root. So what. But again, listen to me this is not you giving up. I would recommend you that if you understand if you pay attention, it will increase your effectiveness with this teenager because now you will not be's shielding them from the natural consequences of a dirty room the first time he comes out and goes quick I got have this iron for the concert today. You sit with your coffee and go, that's a bummer, and nothing in you, you know you like. Do you remember when we yeah we did. I'm not going to rest that's worth 10. Cleanliness is next to godliness speeches.
It's just the real thing. And that's an example of training and yet we did that early.
The room is an easy one that starts early 13. There's other things.
I'll tell you one that you should start whether you like it or not, your kid needs to be told your teenager that what you listen to music is up to you. You know why you need to give that freedom because they are listening to whatever they want to, unless it is any Amish families here. If not, then you're just looking silly with your you can't use explicit lyrics thing that happens in my office all the time. 15-year-old girl parents going. Oh no, we don't let her listen to that kind music and I look at her and she looks at me and were both going to basically you gonna tell YouTube has every single song ever put out, you cannot control that.
So instead because this is oxygen for your teenager when will you say things are up to me you wrap it up and make it a gift no longer. It's now up to you between you and God and obey all other things as well that you orderly give over every six months every year until you're done. Last one will be curfew the day after they graduate. You need to let them know you have to come in at any specific time at our house because that's given, but everything else you think about choice of friends, how you dress. You can divide that into style of dress, but for our girls very often we still control modesty and so forth. But then, at a point you let go that how they manage their money all kinds of school I will not micromanage school but that's what planned emancipation looks like. But here's the thing you need to know that for many parents.
You'll think what I just said is just get him an apartment in their car and just do whatever they want. That is not what I'm saying. That is a false dichotomy that thinks that parenting is control in teaching and there are tons of parents that think that's basically what I'm here for, that God is given me this child and step back and crossed his big fingers and hope that I don't screw it up. That is not our faith. You're not with your teenager right now. But Jesus is the spirit is there is not really needing your help you get to participate in this and how you do it and the fear that comes with it says a lot about your own sanctification.
Your progress in the faith.
So here's the thing you need to know when you're doing this. That is the thing. This need for individuation. Your teenager needs to individuation is the answer that question I need to know when I am free of your control and I am an adult and there is no other need that is equal to that that is the primary and what you see, what we call normal teenage behavior is teenagers when were stepping on their air hose of any kind of respect and of freedom and their pushing back and Jen were going looking flopping around there what's up bro step get off the air hose give them some freedom, some respect. And here's the effect that it has and this is important to areas communication and discipline. The first one because it's more important is that when you're stepping out of their life when you are announcing. Oh yeah I forgot that's up to you that your friend I wouldn't be friends with that guy. But hey, that's your call. When you're regularly doing that then it changes your communication in ways that many of you have named thought about, you realize that when you stop pretending to be controlling their music. For example, you are then free to go hiking. I look at your let your playlist and you can talk about if they're defensive. You Artie told that's up to you. I just want to see what you're what you're looking and then you can stalk openly. Jesus it bug you to listen to Kendrick Lamar on the way to church or is that okay with you done it and you can really talk through things that some of you have never had that you may never had it with your own parents, but that kind of communication is important and it effects their behavior more than control communication is critical. It's more important first and discipline because it's communication that will take you into adulthood. Many of you know that even now you can barely talk to your parents. Sometimes parents still try to control well into adulthood. Some of your parents are telling you how to parent right now and not respecting what you're doing. You've seen all this that's pretty common.
We been confused for a long time, but you can instead communicate with your teenagers when you're pulling out it very often opens up the floodgates of communication.
Teenagers want to communicate with you, but there's pretty common problems.
If you haven't guessed already the most common communication problem you have is a control battle you can't make me talk and don't tell me you haven't tried right you done that thing where it's like were not leaving this room until you tell me what is going on. You can't make that happen, because it is always by invitation and the key is you don't have to make that happen. By being free with this it makes it much easier for them to talk to you so make sure they know that you know that I'm not trying to make you talk to me about stuff. I just miss you and I wanted to find out what's going on. See LDL give you a psychology secret when kids, teenagers come to my office I always do the same thing always going talk to them first as parents always like sorry but you introduce yourself and they'll still say that you come into my office and I say so when you find that you are coming here 10 minutes ago asked what I thought your parents were affrighted to anyway and so I know that the parents leave and I tell the kid therefore rules in my office.
Rule one, you don't have to talk to me about anything unless you want to talk about you just tell me. I want to talk about the that's a rule will that's just obvious. Like I can't make but I want this kid to know that I know that I'm not going to be making you talk second. You can talk about anything in here you can't bring up something is going to shock me. It's been a long time.
Third, whatever you tell me whatever we talk about will stay in this room and forth. There's a couple of exceptions to rule three. If you tell me and Achille Geyer hurt yourself or about but I'm I'm outlined and and they just talk.
It's that simple. But what I outlined was a couple of important things.
One, I am not in a battle with you about this and you can do that same thing.
I understand that if you don't want to talk to me. I cannot make you talk to and the other is you can trust me that I will not tell people that you do not want me to tell and that's important as well and then communication is is much easier.
I will also tell you that speechmaking is not communication and don't tell me you haven't made your speeches. Some of you are really good at you. Love to Connie like an opera coin machine that you put in. You know, politics, and you'll start if you know piloting and you go in and they just glaze over because you want to tell them what you and you really feel like that's what I'm doing the right job, as is apparent by teaching and it's normal that they look like they're not paying attention.
Why have news for you. They're really not paying attention. Parents will tell me parents loved to tell me their speech. So, so she came in at 1230. So here I later have I said there's a break that goes on in me and it just just lays it out and then I'll go.
I'll interrupt them and held up well. He wants to finish telling me the speech right and then I always ask at the end of the speech so what was your kids reaction and is my favorite like he didn't say anything, but you could tell he was really thinking really, really, because that kid will come into my office and 30 minutes and I'll go hey you dad tell me, let let you have it Friday Friday yeah you number oh yeah anyway I got to talk about some of nothing, not there at all.
Speeches are not communication that's not what were talking about been hearing some really great strategies for parenting teenagers from Dr. Ken will just today on Focus on the Family and continue this presentation, which includes some questions from the audience as well. Next time we will John and that content gets very practical and speaking a practical. I know you're gonna want to get a copy of Dr. Kim's book called feeding them out the bite you a complete guide to parenting adolescents and launching them into the world. It's based on Ken's 30 years of work with children and their families and contains many more details and tactics then will be able to get to on this broadcast.
Let me encourage you to get a copy from us here Focus on the Family where the proceeds go right back in the ministry and not into shareholders pockets.
Join us as we continue to provide help and hope for parents who need that guidance parents like Andrew who said this. I love the Focus on the Family app is a father for I appreciate the insights that help me navigate the challenges of today's culture.
You help me understand what my kids are facing and how I can adapt to their constantly changing moods. Thanks.
Focus great as it is I love those kind comments and let me out a thank you to the donor community who made it possible for us to launch our app a few years ago. We couldn't have done it without your support and if you're not a donor. Let me ask you to pray about that the best way to help us and help so many other families is with the monthly pledge that really evens out the budget over the course of the year and when you make a monthly pledge of any amount will send you a copy of feeding them out the bite you and if you can't make a monthly pledge. Right now we get it we can send the book for one-time gift of any amount we just want to make sure you get a copy. That's right, and were phone call away our numbers 800 K and the word family donate when you call 800-232-6459 or stop by the show notes to make your donation to request Dr. Kim's book and I will have a free audio download of his entire presentation and don't forget when you're online to look for our free seven traits of effective parenting assessment will help you identify your strengths and weakness are two in your parenting. Along with offering some tremendous follow-up resources. It's free and it's called the seven traits of effective parenting assessment and will link over to it in the show notes next time.
Dr. Ken Lucas shares from his heart. My biggest concern for your teenagers is isolation. I cannot believe in 30 years how what's happened to social relationships on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for listening today to this Focus on the Family podcast take a moment and we were waiting for us in your podcast app and share this episode with a friend. What you I'm John Fuller inviting you back next time. Once again, you and your family thrive in Christ, I'm here asking people how they could both give and I don't know.
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