Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Parenting Today's Adolescents - notes 2
Zones of adolescence
The Innocence Zone – Age ten through twelve
During this zone, parents need to seize the opportunity to do two things: First, mom and dad must secure the relationship with the child. Second, they need to aggressively begin to shape the childÂ’s convictions before adolescence hits in full force.
DonÂ’t make the mistake of many parents who severely underestimate the amount of convictions that can be transferred to a child in this zone.
The Danger Zone – Age thirteen through sixteen
We believe this zone to be the most dangerous phase of your child’s life. The junior high and early high school years are when most families lose a son or daughter, although the actual loss of the child may not become evident until later.
Many parents assume, incorrectly, that the children their sons and daughters have relationships with at church, school, and in the neighborhood have similar values to their own.
This is a very very dangerous assumption.
In the danger zone, however, the family values learned and lived out behind closed doors that may have seemed so similar are now exposed for what they really are – often a murky, bland adaptation of the world’s values or a startling absence of values altogether.
With the onset of the teenage years, when children are experience greater freedom, the peers who once were a good influence may now be banding together to test the limits of their parents.
The wise parent recognizes this danger zone and is careful to not give a child too much freedom too soon. Just because a child is beginning to look and act like an adult by making some 'right choices’ does not mean he is really ready for adult responsibilities and corresponding freedoms.
The Release Zone – Age seventeen to nineteen
Releasing a child does not mean you stop being the protector, provider and parent.

I've been getting a new perspective about the middle school/early high school years since starting to read this book recently. The Raineys make the point that those are some seriously important years, in terms of giving kids stability, convictions, teaching the truth. It makes me think of my experience with students, which is usually "middle schoolers are so hyper" or "freshmen small groups are so hard to corral", or the idea that you see the fruit of your labors when your students are juniors or seniors. Which all may be very true.
But it's got me thinking, to have kids develop a passion for missions, for them to see the world as God sees them, to have a drive to have people worship God, according to the Raineys, these kind of convictions and passions get started early, like ages 10-12. Wow. In theory, my SPACE crew is already gone... Ha.
I also think, in terms of youth ministry being a complement to the family, this really puts us in the mix for helping students. The idea that we are to assist the parents in 'securing the relationship' asaggressivelyggresively shaping convictions.'

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