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Helping your teen “MAKE FRIENDS WITH LONELINESS”

29 Jan

If a student knows the Lord and goes to a public (or even a private) High School then the following is probably true: They will be under tremendous pressure to conform to the image of the crowd. That crowd typically does not value a passionate relationship with Jesus…(duh!)  Any High School will likely have it’s share of good kids, promiscuous kids, angry kids, drunk kids, church kids, gang members, druggies, jocks, musicians etc…. most of whom will pressure each other to “conform” to whatever “image” they see fit.

MY POINT: If we can get our teens to “make friends with loneliness” instead of fear it, they will be much more able to resist the pressure to “conform” to the image of the school they attend and more likely to conform to the image of our Lord. (Romans 8:29, 12:2)

Helping our children (17, 15, 11) “make friends with loneliness” has become one of the guiding principle in our parenting. Not because we want our kids to be “loners” or that we want them to lack the social skills needed to find and maintain healthy relationships…I simply mean that they (and we) must get to a point where the fear of loneliness does not have a grip on them. Every bad decision I remember making, and many I don’t, was driven by the need to “be accepted”. The opposite (in my mind) of acceptance is loneliness. (or maybe better said the result of not being accepted is often loneliness)

SO HOW? I’m glad you asked:

  1. Help em see that it is PART OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH to be alone. I know many kids (adults too) that feel slighted and forgotten by God because they have listened to some  “knuckle-headed, health/wealth” preacher who promised that God is here for our comfort. So if we are “uncomfortable” (lonely) then we must not be in God’s will. Nothing could be further from the truth. (2 Timothy 4:9-10, Phil.3:8)
  2. Help em EXPECT IT! When we stand for anything we alienate a certain group of people. It can be an innocuous as choosing a favorite sports team. Somebody will not be happy and you may actually end up with a strained relationship. (I speak as a Yankee Fan with some experience in this area) or as serious as standing for your faith when no one else does. If you do not follow the crowd you will very likely experience times when you are lonely.
  3. Help em see that GOD OFTEN WORKS MOST FREELY in our lives when we are lonely! He has our attention when we are hurting. He will also change our need for others into a desire for Himself. When we realize the reality of an all-sufficient God and the closeness we can have with Him.
  4. GIVE EM A PLACE TO COME HOME TO where they are not alone. I mean make your home a place where they can be with you. If you are like us things are “crazy busy”. Especially when our kids hit the teenage years we were all going in different directions! I am haunted by my son’s words after what was a rare dinner all together…”I really like it when we are all together”. Later when I tucked him in I asked him about it. He said…” yea, I just don’t feel as alone when we are all together”.  OUCH!
  5. TAKE ABOUT IT… A LOT … Empathize, console and encourage your teenager if they are lonely but assure them that they are not alone!
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2 responses to “Helping your teen “MAKE FRIENDS WITH LONELINESS”

  1. Jeannette

    January 30, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Having these same conversations at our house… Sometimes, Standing up for what we believe can mean standing alone. Loneliness is a reasonable expectation for a teenaged Christ follower. I heard a great story about a darling Christian gal from wf, who, upon being crowned “queen of deb” (a pretty big deal in wf) 🙂 thanked her mom for not changing her rules/expectations “especially during the lonely years” when it must have been hard as a parent not to just say, “ok you can go there. Just don’t do the things they DO…”

     
    • Jeannette

      January 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

      Parents can even feel pressure to conform to social norms and allow their children to go places they know in their hearts are not in their children’s best interest because we hurt for our children when they are lonely. Thanks for this post Hixon. Your family and your ministry is much appreciated in wf… And even here in Lubbock! 🙂

       

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