July 8, 2016
Q: Gary, my teenager is somewhat secretive. How do I monitor their activity without violating trust?
Gary Chapman: I think teenagers being secretive often has to do with their whole move toward independence. This is a good shift because we want them to be independent by the time they’re 18 and moving on to college or joining the military. At the same time, if they’re being secretive about things that are detrimental to them, that’s a different matter. Even at the expense of their thinking you are violating their space, if you think something very negative is going on, you should violate their space. You should find out and confront them with it because you don’t want to let it get established as a habit in their lives.
January 14, 2015
Is technology bringing your family closer together, or is it driving your family apart? The average American child spends 53 hours a week with media and technology. It is easy for parents to use the screen to entertain their children and keep them happy (which normally means quiet).
Screen time that is not purposeful tends to be a waste of time and a negative influence. Children are like wet cement, and many children are being imprinted by screens not by parents. In my book: Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen Driven World, Arlene Pellicane and I seek to give parents practical help with screen management.
July 3, 2014
In order to feel loved, teenagers need to feel accepted. The opposite of acceptance is
rejection. Research indicates that almost all violent teenagers feel rejected by their
parents. But how do you communicate acceptance, when you don’t like their behavior?
God is our model. We are “accepted in Christ,” even though God is not always pleased
with our behavior. The message we seek to communicate is “I love you because you are
my child. I don’t always like what you do, but I will never reject you. I will always be
here doing what I believe is best for you. I will love you even if you don’t follow my
advice, but because I love you, I must give you my advice. I love you no matter what.”
July 1, 2014
We’ve heard a great deal about the importance of bonding between parent and infant. What we haven’t heard is that bonding is no less important for the teenager and his parents. Bonding requires time together spent in a positive atmosphere. The opposite of feeling connected is the feeling of abandonment. The teen who feels abandoned will have emotional struggles. Emotional connectedness requires communication. Where do you talk with your teenager? I’d like to suggest a radical thought. Have at least one meal a day with your family, and share what is happening in your lives. A second thought: Do something with your teenager at least once a week. Follow these suggestions and your teen will likely feel connected.