As diligent parents we want to lead our teenagers in developing good character traits as they continue to develop into adulthood. But discipline can lead to confrontation which may make for less discipline and more confrontation when emotions are running high. It’s a difficult problem for parents. Utilizing resources such as family audiobooks can take the confrontation out of the equation while still helping teens to see the need for good character building.
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3 Ideas for Non-confrontational Character Training
There are times when no matter what tone of voice you use or even what you are asking of your teen that the response is less than ideal. Emotional responses can range from anger to confusion and self-doubt to frustration. They simply have an overload of emotions during this phase of life and need to develop self-control to their emotional response to any given situation.
These emotional responses can lead to conflict between parent and child.
Often however, allowing them to see these type of situations from an outsiders perspective gives them insight on their own attitudes.
▬ Visual Scriptural Reminders
Recently, I was blessed to spend about 24 hours in the home of complete strangers. They were so gracious to provide a resting place for me when my van broke down in a small town while I was traveling. I reached out to the local congregation in that town to ask for prayers and this family graciously invited me to stay with them until I could continue on my journey.
I say this to tell you that I was struck by how many scripture visuals this sweet mama had decorated her home with. She had painted bits of wood and hand written scripture on the wood and placed those decoratively about her home. Or, she had printed and framed lovely scripture printables hanging in unexpected places such as beside the bathroom mirror, or on a bed stand next to a bed. They literally filled her home.
I asked her about this and she said that the passage from Deuteronomy 6:9 really spoke to her heart about “writing them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” So she made the decision that she would write such passages upon the doorposts, walls, and surfaces of her home and so both nest her home and train up her children in the word by the visuals they see on a daily basis.
I thought… what a fantastic idea!
▬ Set Good Examples and Engage Teens in Positive Ways
When I first became a mom some dear women offered a parent training class at our church. In that course they taught the principle of Ages in Stages. For each age of a child’s life they go through stages. They taught that as parents we must learn to adapt with the child to teach and train for the stage they are in. Don’t get ahead of them by setting expectations they aren’t ready for while at the same time don’t hold them back and treat them like a baby when they are clearly ready for more. Rather, train them using the ages in stages philosophy.
The teen stage is no exception. During this stage, especially the early teen years, they are learning to find themselves. A teen may feel unsure of who they are. They may feel overwhelmed by life. Or, they may struggle with self-doubt.
Thus, when you offer parenting advice they may feel as if you are attacking WHO they are instead of training a specific behavior. This is where we must use caution so as to “not provoke your children to wrath,” Ephesians 6:4.
Seek to engage your teen in positive ways. When you witness them using good character, commend them for their good works. Schedule time to do something fun, just the two of you.
Model the behaviors you want them to exhibit without a word of correction when those behaviors aren’t being displayed.
That being said, their will be times when you will need to direct properly. Don’t disciple them in front of their friends or others because your goal isn’t to embarrass but rather to teach. Having a private conversation about a behavior will go a long way in helping them to feel secure in the training rather than embarrassed by the correction if it’s in a public setting.
▬ Use Character Training Stories to Guide Character Principles
Let’s face it, sometimes parents are not the best teacher when it comes to teaching character training during the teen years. Those foundations should have been laid in the earlier years by parents. But, during the teen years, often, teens don’t necessarily want to admit that a parent may know best. That’s when it’s good to utilize outside influences.
One of the ways that you can do that is through family audiobooks which utilize storytelling as a way to show perspective. When a teen hears the reactions of others through a dramatic story they can begin to reflect upon their own thoughts and reactions in similar situations as those being portrayed in the story. It can help them to see an outside perspective of themselves without any pressure from mom and dad.
That’s exactly what Focus on the Family’s newest Adventures in Odyssey #63, Up in the Air, does. Through storytelling they’ve set the scene on several adventures that portrays the variety of emotional responses often seen in young teens.
Adventures in Odyssey Family Audiobooks
Adventures in Odyssey are original audio stories brought to life by actors through dramatic readings. These stories come to life while you listen making you feel like you become a part of the adventures. These audio dramas from Focus on the Family can be used by children of all ages. The newest addition to the their line-up is Up in the Air, 6 Stories on True Friendship & Reconciliation just released October 11.
Because the adventures are affordable at less than $10 each you’ll be thrilled to add wholesome family entertainment for everyone.
The episodes included on Up in the Air are:
- Find a Penny, Parts 1 and 2, with a theme of Finding What is Lost
Penny & Wooten are recently married. But while on honeymoon, Wooten loses both his new wife and his memory. You get to follow along on the adventure to find Penny as Wooten has to work with friends to discover the secrets hidden in his mind. While this is a fun adventure the character training shares lessons from the parables of the lost items found in Luke 15.
- Friend or Foe with a theme of True Friendship
Jules Kendall lives with her adult sister who serves as her guardian, despite warnings, Jules befriends a girl, Valerie, who has one goal in life… to use others to get ahead in life. Jules gets caught up in being manipulated by Valerie because she is feeling lonely, different, and isolated in her new hometown. But she soon learns that sometimes friends are really foes. While sometimes the opposite is true as well. This story has a real to life feel to it because often teens feel like they don’t fit in, and will end up getting used by would-be friends.
- Have a Heart with a theme of God Changes Hearts
When school bully Dion returns after a long absence things seem to have changed for him, it’s as if he’s a whole new person. When Buddy isn’t convinced that he’s changed from choice but imagines something mystical has happened. This story explores how a person can choose to have a change of heart and make different choices because of life experiences. With these scriptural principles are being explored, you can utilize this story to prompt a discussion about what it is inside a man that can change. You can allow the story to serve as a prompt for exploring faith, and Godly righteousness. Let it help to teach how we each have freewill to make changes in our own lives and work with your child to understand God’s role, and use scripture to teach what God expects for them in their own lives.
- B-TV: Revenge with a theme of (you guessed it) Revenge
These dramatic readings are based upon “news” reports in the town of Odyssey. The local news cast and crew explore the idea of revenge and why it’s wrong through a series of Bible lessons that explore the what ifs of choices that are made. For example, what if Esau had chosen to take revenge upon Jacob after he tricked Isaac (their father) to give him the blessing instead of Esau. This series of stories allows teens to see that while it can be a knee-jerk reaction to seek revenge for wrongs done, the reality is we should trust God to work all things for good, and that ultimately He provides true justice.
- Crash Course with a theme of Facing Your Problems
Jules and Buck are learning to drive. But when they both make a poor decision together they both must face consequences. Sometimes consequences are natural resulting in the outcome of one’s own decisions and other times those consequences result in having others teach us a measure of discipline.
Conversation Starters for the Whole Family
You can utilize all of the stories as prompts for family conversations about the what ifs of emotional responses, about each person’s own responsibility towards their Creator God, and the consequences of the choices we each make on a daily basis. But being able to discuss these ideals and principles based upon a character’s responses within the context of a story helps parents to take the pressure off the teen while still allowing them to learn about their own need for self-control.
5 Ways to Incorporate Family Audiobooks for Your Family
▬ Because Adventures in Odyssey #63, Up in the Air provides over 2 hours of listening these adventures can make long trips in the car seem short. You can pop into your car’s cd player as you begin your journey and your kids will be entertained until you arrive.
▬ At the same time, because there are several short stories you can listen to just one or two for shorter trips.
▬ While playing video games they can also listen to family audiobooks. My son enjoys listening while he plays Minecraft.
▬ Family night audiobooks. Instead of watching a movie together why not listen to an audiobook? This gives you opportunity to discuss the scenarios and back up what they are learning by discussing your own family ideals, scriptures that may be of aid to the lessons taught and realistic role playing for how to deal with various scenarios.
▬ As a school assignment. Because the adventures are short you can assign 1 or 2 a week as part of your ongoing reading and language arts assignments.
Adventures in Odyssey #63 Up in the Air Family Audiobooks Giveaway
How cool is this? Focus On The Family is giving away 30 CDs only to US residents. Add your details using the giveaway widget below.
Character Training for Teens
Character training doesn’t have to be cumbersome even in the teen years. Setting good examples and engaging your teen in a positive way, placing scripture visuals in their path, and introducing them to character building stories such as, Adventures in Odyssey family audiobooks from Focus on the family are all non-confrontational character building solutions for teens whose emotions may run high at times.
What other solutions do you have for teaching character to your teens? Share your ideas in the comments below.
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