Category: Communication

How to Influence your Teen

If I had one message to give to the parents of teenagers it would be this:  Please remember that you still have the greatest influence on your son or daughter.  We have heard so much about peer pressure, that many parents have given up on trying to influence their teen.  All of the research indicates that parents have far more influence on the behavior of teens than do their peers.  Your own behavior is your greatest influence.  If you are a person of honesty, loyalty, and commitment, you are greatly influencing your teen.  If you give them a model of a loving marriage you are creating for them emotional security.  Teens respect parents of integrity.  They want you to be their hero.

The World our Teens Are Growing Up in

In my book, The Five Love Languages of Teenagers, I try to help parents understand contemporary teens.  Their world is vastly different from the world in which we grew up.  Think of these five areas:

Technology – They are bombarded with sights and sounds.

Knowledge and exposure to violence – It is daily and they are keenly aware of it.

The fragmented family – One teen said, “I’m the only student in my class living with my real mother and father.”

Knowledge of an exposure to sexuality – Overtly sexual messages bombard our teenagers daily.

Neutral moral and religious values – They are told that there are no moral absolutes.

Do you understand why I am so concerned that parents learn to love teens effectively?

Q&A: When Love Languages are not Being Reciprocated

Q: What if I’m speaking all of my wife’s love languages but she’s not speaking mine in return?

Gary Chapman: Well, if you truly are speaking her love language and if she genuinely feels your love. then you can make requests of her. You can say, “Honey, you know something that I’d like for you to do…” and tell her something that’s in keeping with your love language. And because she is feeling your love, she’s more likely to do it. Don’t sit there hoping that sooner or later she’s just going to reach out and speak your language. It’s alright to make requests of her. Essentially, you’re teaching her how to speak your love language by making specific requests. Chances are, she’s going to respond.

Loving “Argumentative” Teens

Adolescence is the age of reason. Teenagers are beginning to think logically. We say, they are argumentative. Many parents have said through the years, “I think my teenager is going to be an attorney, he is so good at arguments.” In reality, the teen is developing his mental skills. If parents don’t realize this, they can create an adversarial relationship where the teen does not feel free to flex his intellectual muscles. How do we create a positive atmosphere where we can have meaningful dialogue with our budding philosopher? In one word – love. When the teen feels loved, he still may not agree with parents, but he will respect them; and be influenced by their opinions.

Differences with Your Teenager

Do you ever get frustrated with your teenager? The teenager has a strong pull toward independence and is going through radical physical and emotional changes. They are greatly influenced by their peers. In fact, we often speak of ‘teenage culture’. That culture focuses on music, dress, language, and behavior. This has often created a great divide between teens and parents. So, at a time when the teen most needs moral and spiritual guidance, parents are often rejected. Don’t allow your differences to keep you from loving your teen. Love keeps the door open for your positive influence. Learn your teens’ love language and speak it daily. They never outgrow their need for love.

Q&A: How to Get Your Spouse to Talk

Q: How do I get my husband to talk more?

Gary Chapman: There are two kinds of people when it comes to talking: Dead Seas and Babbling Brooks. Dead Seas by nature don’t talk very much. They can receive, they can listen, but they don’t have much to say. Babbling Brooks are sharing everything that comes into their mind. Usually these two types of people are married to each other. So part of the disconnect is personality differences; he will never speak as much as you would like for him to speak. However, if you can ask specific questions he’s far more likely to answer. And when he does answer, don’t clobber his answer because that causes him not to speak the next time. Receive what he says and give a specific follow-up question. You’ll begin to see little by little that when he understands he can talk without being condemned, he’s far more likely to continue talking.

Q&A: When a Spouse Doesn’t Seem to be Responding to Their Love Language

Q: I think my wife’s love language is Acts of Service. But she always complains that I don’t do a good enough job at the things I do for her. Why is this?

Gary Chapman: Here’s a clue: In whatever project she would like for you to do, whether it be vacuuming floors, washing dishes, or cleaning the car, say to her, “I would love to help you with this. Tell me what’s important to you when I do this.” This way, you’re really trying to not only do it, but you’re also trying to do it her way. That will speak volumes to her. I know you feel discouraged when you spend an hour doing a chore and don’t get positive feedback, but if you ask her beforehand what she would like you to do and how she would like you to do it, you’re far more likely to find the affirmation that you’re looking for.

Turn Them Over

Must I continue to forgive when a person hurts me again and again? Jesus once said, “If a person sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17:4) The important word is the word repent not the word seven. Peter later asked Jesus, “seven times in a day?” And Jesus said, “70 times 7”. It’s not the number that’s important it is the repentance. We forgive as often as people repent. If they don’t repent, we turn them over to God. God will bring punishment to the unbeliever, and discipline to the believer. It is not our place to seek vengeance. We release our hurt and anger to God and we put the person in His hands.

Q&A: How to Respond to a Spouse’s Disrespect

Q: My husband disrespects me. How do I deal with this?

Gary Chapman: All of us need to feel loved and appreciated. When we don’t feel appreciated or respected, being put down again and again by our spouse makes us feel that they think we’re inferior. It’s difficult to live like that. There’s two approaches. One is to argue—to tell them you can’t take this anymore and lash out at them. The other is the biblical way, and that is to love the unlovely spouse. Find out their love language, speak it loudly and clearly and regularly over a period of three months and see what happens. Typically, when they begin to feel your love they begin to treat you differently. It doesn’t always work out that way, but loving an unlovely spouse is the most powerful thing you can do.

Why it’s Hard to Forgive

Why is it so hard for us to forgive? I think it is because we are made in God’s image and we have a deep concern for justice. Forgiveness did not come easy with God. That is what the cross of Christ is all about. Because Christ paid the penalty, then God can forgive us and still be just. How do we experience God’s forgiveness? We confess our sins and accept what Christ did for us. So, when others sin against us, forgiveness is not easy. Our sense of justice demands that they pay for their sin. We want to be reconciled, but we do not want to ignore wrongdoing. However, when they confess, we remember that God forgave us when we confessed, and we choose to forgive others. Love is always ready to forgive.

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