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November 9, 2019
#554 – Student Story: Samantha Thanks to technology, we have limitless knowledge at our fingertips. But deep down, teens are searching for wisdom—not information. This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston teaches parents how to transfer wisdom to their teens in order to help them navigate the world and live wisely.
November 5, 2019
#2121 Every day, hundreds of orphaned children find safety and love from parents who choose to adopt them. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. I believe that adopting a child is one of the most sacrificial and God-like things anyone can do. So in honor of National Adoption Month, I want to read from Romans chapter 8. Paul said that Christians “have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.”* Wow! When you adopt a child … you model God’s sacrificial love for His children. Today I want to applaud and thank those who have taken on the God-honoring role of adoptive parent. You are among today’s most brave and selfless heroes.
November 4, 2019
#2120 There’s rarely a good time to be faced with a crisis. And for parents with out-of-control teens … the day-to-day struggle can drain every ounce of emotional energy. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. If you’re dealing with a teen who’s caught in the spin cycle, let me give you a few tips for preventing emotional burnout. First, take a break. Spend some time away from the stress. Something as simple as lunch with a friend can leave you feeling energized and refreshed. Second, pull out some old photos or home videos … and remember the good ol’ days when things were innocent and fun. Let the memories restore you. And finally, even though you might feel alone … rest assured, you are not alone. God knows. And He’s not finished with your teen.
November 2, 2019
#553 – Student Story: Aubrey The teen years can be bumpy for any child. But sometimes, adopted teens need a little extra dose of love and patience. This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston shares the four essential tools in every adoptive parents’ toolbox and offers practical help for navigating the adolescent years.
November 1, 2019
#2119 Does your teenager feel valued and accepted at home? If not, they’ll go lookin’ somewhere else! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. As parents, we do a ton of stuff for our kids. We take care of their physical needs, cart them around to school events, and give them things our parents never did for us. But all these efforts fall short of giving our kids the thing they crave most. Value. Acceptance. Belonging. These are the virtues that build self-esteem. It gives them confidence to say “no” to temptation. And though they often find value from good grades or excelling at sports … the only place a teen can find true value is at home. So, I’ll ask you again … does your teen feel valued? Only you can provide the true sense of worth and acceptance they so desperately need.
October 31, 2019
#2118 Parents of rebellious teens often tell me that they feel like their house is falling apart. But no home is beyond repair! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. If your relationships at home are falling apart … here are three things you can do to help restore a sense of peace and order. First, try giving your teen more responsibility. You’ll be surprised by how he steps up to the plate when he has the freedom to grow up. Second, start listening more and talking less. Your teen is far more likely to respond to two-way conversations than relentless nagging and lectures. And finally, invest in your relationship. Maybe meet for lunch once a week … or find an activity you both enjoy.
October 30, 2019
#2117 To think that a teenager could become so hopeless that he would choose to end his life is almost too painful to imagine. But with the increasing rate of teen suicides, no parent can afford to ignore the possibility. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. For teens, suicide is a last-ditch effort to ease the pain, to make a statement, or to get revenge on someone who wronged them. They can’t see the bigger picture—they can only see the “here and now.” Shortsighted immaturity … mixed with feelings of despair … are a lethal combination. So if your son or daughter has been dropping subtle hints … like talking about death, or isolating themselves from others … don’t ignore the warning signs! Get your teen the help they need … before they become another statistic.
October 26, 2019
#552 – Student Story: Garret It’s only natural for children to want to push the boundaries. So, when your son or daughter crosses the line, how should you respond? This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teen, Mark Gregston explains how effective discipline can get a child where they want to go and keep them from where they don’t want to end up.
October 19, 2019
#551 – Student Story: Tiller When teens find themselves dealing with the consequences of a mistake, parents want to swoop in and save the day. But this act of heroism is usually more harmful than not. Today on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston helps parents recognize when their teen needs rescuing—and when to leave the superhero cape at home.
October 18, 2019
#2109 Today’s parents want a deeper relationship with their teen than they had with their own parents. It’s well-intentioned. But taken too far, the outcome will disappoint you. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. My dad, like yours, was focused on providing for his family. We always had food on the table and a roof over our head. But the relational side was more than lacking. Then the ‘60s and ‘70s came along. We swooned over lyrics like “All You Need Is Love” … and started applying them to our parenting styles. Neither extreme is good for our kids. So if you’ve allowed the pendulum too swing too far … it’s not too late to find a healthy balance between authority and relationship. Love your teen. But don’t cross that slippery boundary and become his friend alone. To hold his heart … you need to remain his parent.
October 17, 2019
#2107 Spoiler alert! Your teen craves boundaries! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Some parents cringe at the thought of doling out consequences, fearing it may harm a relationship with their teen. But I’ve found that young people actually want rules! For kids, the world makes more sense when they know what’s accepted and what’s not. They feel safer when they know where the boundaries are. And they find comfort in the consistency of parents who stick to their game plan. So the next time your teen steps out of line … no waffling on the consequences! Follow through … and show him that you mean what you say. Your teen won’t thank you now. But later, he’ll be grateful. My guess is that your son will build the same fences for his kids. And your grandkids will crave the boundaries, too!
October 17, 2019
#2108 Do you ever feel like your teen treats you like a walking, breathing, ATM machine? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Hardly a day goes by when a teenager doesn’t ask for something. But when parents continually cave in … they often fail to realize the long-term consequences. For example, you might view that new pair of shoes or that upgraded iPhone as a generous gift … but your teen sees it as a God-given right. There’s nothing wrong with parents (and grandparents) who want to give their children nice things. But when you hold back, you give your teen something much more valuable. Restrained desire is something all of us have to cope with. Mom, Dad, let your son or daughter know what it’s like to work for something they crave, and feel the reward of earning it.
October 16, 2019
#2107 Spoiler alert! Your teen craves boundaries! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Some parents cringe at the thought of doling out consequences, fearing it may harm a relationship with their teen. But I’ve found that young people actually want rules! For kids, the world makes more sense when they know what’s accepted and what’s not. They feel safer when they know where the boundaries are. And they find comfort in the consistency of parents who stick to their game plan. So the next time your teen steps out of line … no waffling on the consequences! Follow through … and show him that you mean what you say. Your teen won’t thank you now. But later, he’ll be grateful. My guess is that your son will build the same fences for his kids. And your grandkids will crave the boundaries, too!
October 15, 2019
#2105 Here’s a trick question. Would you rather go for a ride on a carousel? Or a roller coaster? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Okay … carousels have their redeeming features. They’re calm and pleasant … if a not little boring. But to me, a roller coast ride is so much better! One second, you’re right side up. The next second, you’re hangin’ on for dear life, screaming at the top of your lungs. Kinda like parenting teens, huh? Hey, raising teens can be unpredictable, heart-stopping, and terrifying at times. But in the end, you’ll realize it wasn’t so bad … even with all the ups, downs, twists, and turns. So don’t be surprised when the ride gets a little crazy. And by all means … don’t check out. Mom, Dad … stay with it. You’ll be glad you did!
October 15, 2019
#2106 Super heroes are great in movies and comic books. But in parenting, rescuing your teen every time he gets into trouble can create a disaster! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. In my experience, the most irresponsible teens come from the most responsible parents. I call them “super parents.” They don their cape and fly off to badger a teacher who gave their student a bad grade. They bend steel bars to get him out of jail. And in between, they pick up his room, wash his clothes, and rush him to school when he oversleeps. A more appropriate name for a “super parent” … is an “enabler.” Hey, the next time your teen runs into trouble … don’t swoop in to save the day! Instead, let him deal with the consequences. And be the real “super parent” he needs you to be!
October 14, 2019
#2105 Here’s a trick question. Would you rather go for a ride on a carousel? Or a roller coaster? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Okay … carousels have their redeeming features. They’re calm and pleasant … if a not little boring. But to me, a roller coast ride is so much better! One second, you’re right side up. The next second, you’re hangin’ on for dear life, screaming at the top of your lungs. Kinda like parenting teens, huh? Hey, raising teens can be unpredictable, heart-stopping, and terrifying at times. But in the end, you’ll realize it wasn’t so bad … even with all the ups, downs, twists, and turns. So don’t be surprised when the ride gets a little crazy. And by all means … don’t check out. Mom, Dad … stay with it. You’ll be glad you did!
October 12, 2019
#550 – Student Story: Sophia Teens go through all sorts of change in the adolescent years. But growth isn’t limited to physical, emotional, and intellectual changes. Teens grow spiritually too! This week on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston coaches moms and dads on how to nurture their child’s faith throughout the formative teen years.
October 11, 2019
#2103 Mom, Dad, it’s never too early to start planning for the teen years! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. When your child reaches the “tween” years, things are calm and easy … and you’re like, “Hey, I’m getting’ the hang of this parenting thing!” Hmm. Well, I hate to bust your bubble, but it’s likely “the calm before the storm”! Sure, things are flowing smoothly now … but when your teen starts craving independence, he’ll be spending more time away from home … with folks you might not know. So don’t get blindsided! Start updating your style now … to prepare for the changes coming ahead. The teen years can be bumpy. But they can be fantastic, too. So don’t fall asleep at the controls … because the storm clouds are looming. And your teen needs an alert pilot to navigate the turbulence ahead!
October 9, 2019
#2102 Mom, dad, find yourself gettin’ all twisted up and worried about your teen? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Billy Graham once said, “Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.” Wow, that’s a convicting statement. But let’s face it … as a parent, it’s really hard not to worry about your kids! We worry about what they’re doing, where they’re at, and who they’re with. We fret over the choices they make … and lie awake at night thinking about their future. So today, if you find yourself weary from worry and overwhelmed with fear … lay it all down at God’s feet. Put your hope and trust in Him. Why? Even in the midst of chaos, God is always in control.
October 8, 2019
#2101 Picture this: Your teen comes home two hours past curfew. You’ve been worried sick. Then he calmly waltzes in like nothing happened. Something snaps … and you start yelling. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Hey, we’ve all done it. But when your teen breaks the rules, he desperately needs an adult who can respond … not react. To respond is to remain calm and offer grace and support … while still seeking to correct the behavior. To react is to get angry and emotional … and lay on the judgment. Hey, knee-jerk reactions are counterproductive … and often sabotage what you truly want to achieve. So the next time your teen crosses the line, here’s an easy three-point game plan. Stop, think, act. That means stop your mouth, think about what needs to be done … and then, and only then, speak.
October 5, 2019
#549 – Student Story: Sarah You set out to raise “perfect” children and even planned their “perfect” futures. But what happens when your “perfect” teen doesn’t turn out the way you expected? This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston outlines the dangers of perfection and suggests creative ways to let your teen—and yourself—be imperfect.
October 4, 2019
#2099 Dishonesty may seem like a minor issue. But lying is actually a serious vice that parents should never ignore. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Ultimately, dishonesty is rooted in disrespect: disrespect for others, disrespect for authority, and disrespect for oneself. And the longer a parent waits to address the problem, the more entrenched and habitual it becomes. So if you see lies and falsehoods creeping into your teen’s conversations, texts, or Facebook posts … don’t stand by and watch! Confront it. Let your teen know that as his parent, it’s your job to keep an eye out for deception. Letting him get away with lying, cheating or stealing today … could lead to a lifetime of misery down the road. Proverbs 12:19 says, “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.”
October 3, 2019
#2098 Recently, I came across an interesting Time magazine cover. It pictured a child standing like a puppet, with his arms and legs attached to strings … presumably controlled by a parent above. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Well, it seems the world is finally catching on to the folly of over-parenting. I’m talking about the moms and dads who hover over their kids 24/7 … while bending over backwards to meet their every need. What these parents don’t realize, though, is that every little thing they do for their kid … is one more thing they may never learn to do for themselves. So if you’ve been guilty of over-parenting, or smother-mothering … now’s the time to cut the strings! Step back … let go … and give your teen the freedom he needs to become the adult he was meant to be.
October 2, 2019
#2097 Now don’t get me wrong. Having a strong relationship with your teen is critically important. But sometimes we take it to an unhealthy extreme. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Even though parents know the value of discipline, many of us have a hard time actually following through. We’re worried about retaliation. Or breaking our friendship. Proverbs 29:17 says, “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.” Think of it this way. Over his lifespan, 80% of your son’s life will be spent away from home. And he’s counting on you to prepare him for the demands of adulthood. Mom, Dad, your son doesn’t need another friend. Your son needs a parent. So do the hard thing. In the end, you’ll be pleased with the outcome. “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace.
October 1, 2019
#2096 According to a recent study, close to 60% of our kids quit going to church after age fifteen. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. So what’s the reason behind this mass exodus? Well, I’m sad to hear that many teens see the church as judgmental and irrelevant. To many, the church looks like an elite country club … and those who don’t fit the mold are denied acceptance. Furthermore, kids who struggle often feel alienated at church. And left with a deep sense of shame. Of course, we know these views are skewed. But before we rush to judgment, let’s make sure we have open conversations with our teens about the value of church. Together, as adults, let’s make sure that church remains a safe place for our kids to find acceptance, forgiveness, and love. They need it. And so do we!
September 30, 2019
#2095 How do you handle those inevitable moments when your teen begins to doubt?  Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens.  From her earliest days, you convince your little girl that she can accomplish anything.  Opportunities are limitless.  And the world is her oyster.  But as kids move from childhood to adolescence, they naturally become introspective and insecure.  And sometimes her private thoughts get a little dark, like … “Why am I here?  And what’s my purpose?” So if your teen starts posing these daunting life questions … don’t panic!  This search for meaning is one of the most empowering stages your teenager will ever go through.  Help her uncover her talents, strengths, and passions … as she embarks on a lifelong quest for purpose.  Self-confidence rarely comes without a season of self-doubt.  Mom, dad … don’t rescue your daughter.  Instead, help her through it.
September 28, 2019
#548 – Student Story: Matt Does every confrontation with your teen end in a yelling match? Do you feel like you’re living in a constant war zone? There are better ways to handle conflict! This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston teaches parents how to control their anger and resolve conflict in a healthy way.
September 27, 2019
#2094 We’re witnessing a generation of teens who’ve become addicted to their personal rights! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. More and more kids today believe they’re entitled to anything and everything. They want more, demand more, and expect more than any other generation. So how do you keep your teen from thinkin’ he rules the world? First, you need to quit feeding his world view! Stop doing everything for your teen. Quit jumping every time she says “frog.” Instead … tell him that it’s time to start doing things for himself. Let him wash his own laundry for a change. Or cook a meal for the whole family. Your teen may roll his eyes. Your daughter may throw a fit. But if you stick your guns … your child will slowly understand the world order. The universe does not spin under their control!
September 26, 2019
#2093 We’ve all grown wiser from our mistakes and failures over the years. But unfortunately, there’s no short cut for our kids. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Yep, in most cases … our teens cannot truly grow up until they feel the painful consequences of their own failures. We shouldn’t be so shocked when our kids made a dumb mistake. All of us are born with an infinite capacity to mess up. Gratefully, God has an infinite capacity to forgive! So the next time your teen blows it big time … and trust me, there will be a next time … continue to reach out in love. That doesn’t mean you sweep stuff under the carpet and ignore it. But while you’re cleanin’ up whatever mess they’ve caused, be sure your teen knows you’re ready to forgive.
September 25, 2019
#2092 When your teen messes up big time … what in the world do you say? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Well, Mark Twain said, choose your words carefully! He said, “The difference between the exact right words and the almost right words is like the difference between lightning bugs and lightning bolts.” Hey, it’s easy to love your teen when everything’s going well. But it’s a whole lot different when they bust your rules, trounce over your boundaries, and still have the audacity to ask you for cash. So the next time your teen makes a royal blunder, don’t say something that’ll jeopardize your relationship. Don’t resort to toxic remarks and judgment. Instead, tell your teen exactly what he needs to hear: “There’s nothing you can do to make me love you more, and nothing you can do to make me love you less.”
September 24, 2019
#2091 In 1988, I worked for a wonderful ministry in Branson, Missouri. I thought things were going great … until out of nowhere came these three words: “Mark, you’re fired!” Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Later that week, one of my dear friends said to me, “Mark, this is going to be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to you.” Now, that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me at the time. But today, I can look back and see the silver lining. If I never lost that job … I would have never founded Heartlight Ministries! So if you’re feeling defeated or lost or hopeless today, you may not understand why. But the struggle with your teen is part of God’s plan. This season of testing could be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to you.
September 23, 2019
#2090 The late Rodney Dangerfield’s “I don’t get no respect” jokes were pretty funny. But it’s no laughing matter when a teenager is disrespectful toward his parents. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. While it’s true that you can’t force your child to respect you … treating someone with respect is an entirely different matter. Showing respect is a conscious decision … regardless of whether you like someone or not. And expecting our teens to be respectful should have nothing to do with how they feel at the moment. So if your teen’s been showing signs of disrespect, let him know that things are gonna be different from now on. The longer you wait to address the problem, the worse it will become. Requiring respect now will teach your teen to apply civil behavior in all areas of life.
September 21, 2019
#547 – Student Story: Aiden Teenagers are known for being angst-filled and moody. But in some cases, a teen’s persistent negativity may be a sign of a bigger issue. This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston explains how to spot signs of depression in teens—and what moms and dads can do to help.
September 20, 2019
#2089 Years ago, I heard a man on the radio that I’ve been a fan of all my life. My good friend Chuck Swindoll said: “I want three simple words on my gravestone … ‘Dad was fun!’” Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. I gotta tell ya, I was a little surprised! I thought Swindoll would prefer something profound … like, “America’s beloved preacher.” Maybe a testament to his spiritual depth, or his amazing provision as a dad. And here’s one of the most godly men I’d ever known talking about how he wanted to be remembered for his playfulness. Since then, I’ve come to realize that laughter is another form of worship. So take a page out of Chuck Swindoll’s book. Have some fun. Loosen up a little. Tell a joke! Nothing will bring a quicker connection with your teen than sharing a good laugh!
September 19, 2019
#2088 While I applaud parents who put child locks on TV channels and safeguards on the Internet … the reality is that kids can and do access inappropriate content elsewhere. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. More than ever, parents and teens need to have frank discussions about things like drugs, sex and alcohol. Surprise your teen by cutting to the chase. You may think such topics are uncomfortable and inappropriate. But that won’t stop kids from the talking at school, texting each other, and posting things online. So stop trying to completely shelter your teen from worldly influences. Believe me when I say it doesn’t solve the long-term challenge! Rather, start training your child to guard his heart. The rewards will be rich as you watch him develop into a responsible, godly young man.
September 18, 2019
#2087 In grade school, it starts with kids making up wild stories while keeping their fingers crossed behind their backs. But as time goes on, many teens fall into a deeper pattern of lying, cheating, and intertwining the truth with fiction. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Kids lie for the same reasons as adults … to lift themselves up, to get ahead, or to protect themselves and avoid consequences. What they rarely realize is that this short-term solution … often leads to long-term problems. So if lying has become a way of life for your teen, don’t think it’ll just go away over time. Mom, Dad, confront fibbing while you still can! Don’t let them get away with bending the truth. Otherwise, you may be dealing with even bigger issues in the years to come.
September 17, 2019
#2086 Lying, aggression, anger, mood swings, new friends, changes in sleep patterns … all of these are red flags that your teen may be abusing drugs. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. When I was growing up, parents didn’t worry about drugs until their teens got to high school. But these days, kids are beginning to experiment at younger and younger ages. So, if you’ve got a hunch about your teen’s behavior, don’t be afraid to administer a drug test every few weeks, unannounced. Even if they squeal in protest! Your teen needs need to know how serious you are about keeping drugs out of their life … even if it means putting them in rehab or reporting them to the authorities. Better a few days behind bars than a lifetime in the grip of drugs.
September 16, 2019
#2085 What if every time you got pulled over for a speeding ticket … the cop just let you off the hook? Or whenever you missed a credit card payment … they never charged you any late fees? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Now, that might sound like a dream come true to you. But the fact is … rules and consequences become completely ineffective unless they’re carried out! So if you’re trying to curb your teen’s misbehavior, start by laying down some boundaries. Then, the next time he crosses the line … be a man or woman of your word … and follow through! Will your teen test you? Absolutely. So be prepared to stand your ground. He may grumble and complain now … but one day, he will thank you.
September 14, 2019
#546 – Student Story: Lindsey Have you noticed that kids today seem more worried than in past generations? It’s not just you! Today’s teens are struggling with a heightened level of stress and anxiety. And they need their parents’ help to deal with it. This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston advises parents on how to help their teens overcome anxiety.
September 13, 2019
#2084 Has your teen been spending more and more time with friends … and less and less time at home? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Often, parents feel hurt or slighted when their kids no longer want to do things with them … and hanging out with mom and dad stops being cool. But as painful as those moments may be, it’s actually a good thing! Kids naturally begin to move away from their parents as they grow up and mature. And their desire to spend less time at home is typically a sign of healthy independence. So be willing to loosen your grip as your teen begins to spread her wings. And continue to be a presence in her life … one that offers guidance and limitation when necessary, and grants freedom and responsibility when appropriate.
September 12, 2019
#2083 Mistakes are obviously best avoided. But part of growing up is understanding that nobody’s perfect … not even parents! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. It’s inevitable that everyone fails. The trick is knowing how to “fail forward.” It means learning from your mistakes … and keeping yourself from repeating them. So here are a few ways you can practice “failing forward” in your own life: First, admit when you’re wrong! Don’t make excuses. Second, apologize to those you hurt. And third, ask your teen what the consequences should be for your own failures … and carry through! Remember, your teen will blow it one day. But if you teach them how to “fail forward” … you’ll give them an invaluable tool for every stage of life.
September 11, 2019
#2082 Every teen faces identity issues at one point or another. But sometimes for adopted teens, the struggle escalates even higher. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. I’ve seen kids pull all kinds of stunts to get questions answered about their past. Some have even tracked down their birth parents online, contacted them unexpectedly, and secretly set up a time to meet! So if you’re an adoptive parent, don’t lose heart when your teen goes through a time of crisis. Their natural curiosity doesn’t mean they stopped loving you … or no longer appreciate everything you’ve done. They’re just a little confused about who they are. So on the good days and the bad, continue to parent your child with the same kind of love you’ve always had. And keep following God’s example of patience, goodness, understanding, forgiveness, and grace.
September 10, 2019
#2082 Every teen faces identity issues at one point or another. But sometimes for adopted teens, the struggle escalates even higher. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. I’ve seen kids pull all kinds of stunts to get questions answered about their past. Some have even tracked down their birth parents online, contacted them unexpectedly, and secretly set up a time to meet! So if you’re an adoptive parent, don’t lose heart when your teen goes through a time of crisis. Their natural curiosity doesn’t mean they stopped loving you … or no longer appreciate everything you’ve done. They’re just a little confused about who they are. So on the good days and the bad, continue to parent your child with the same kind of love you’ve always had. And keep following God’s example of patience, goodness, understanding, forgiveness, and grace.
September 9, 2019
#2080 Kids and adolescents are playin’ around with dangerous substances … even the junk they find in God-fearing homes! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Parents are facing a difficult task of raising kids in a culture that’s bent on creative inventions. Look … teens are hunting for any possible way to get high. They abuse prescription drugs and common household items. And some of these substances are even riskier to use than the better- known street drugs! The biggest danger, though, comes when parents refuse to believe that their child might be using in the first place. It’s called denial. So Mom, Dad … don’t stick your head in the sand and pretend that your teen knows better than to experiment! Stay alert … and remain the protective parent your child desperately needs.
September 7, 2019
#545 – Student Story: Jaclyn If parenting wasn’t hard enough already, parents now have to navigate the challenging world of cell phones. How old should kids be before they get a smart phone? And how can parents encourage healthy screen-time habits? This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston conducts a practical Q&A about kids and cell phones.
September 6, 2019
#2079 Most of us wish that the positive transformation of our teens would happen overnight. But that’s not the way it works! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. It’s easy to become so overwhelmed by the major problems with our teens’ behavior … that we fail to recognize progress. The key is to be patient … and celebrate the little victories. Now, progress doesn’t mean “problem solved.” Rather, it’s a steady trend toward improvement. If your child was screaming at you every day … and now only yells at you every other day … hey, that’s progress! If your child finishes some of his homework … when he previously did none … that’s progress, too! Remember, turnarounds rarely happen overnight. So make sure to applaud every step in the right direction … even the baby steps.
September 5, 2019
#2078 Are you the mother or father of a struggling son or daughter? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Most teenage problems are caused by hormones, immaturity, and brain development. So if your son or daughter is going through a rough time, here’s some good news: it’s just a phase! And it won’t last forever. In the midst of the turmoil, continue to reach toward your teen with love and grace … even when they don’t deserve it. And over time, your relationship will change for the better. Remember, God never gives up on us … even though we constantly blow it. Instead, He gives grace. As parents, we must be willing to do the same. Mom, Dad, make it crystal clear to your teen … “I will never, ever give up on you … no matter what!”
September 4, 2019
#2077 No parent wants to see a child bring home an ugly report card! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Okay, not every student will earn straight A’s! But if your teen is failing to follow through on basic responsibilities … like completing homework on time or showing up to class … it’s time to deliver some consequences. Let him know that from now on, he’ll lose privileges when he misses assignments or when his grades drop. A few weeks without a cell phone or videogames can go a long way in teaching responsibility. Hey, I know it’s hard to step back and let your teen face the outcome of his actions. But believe me when I say he’ll be thanking you later! Your son doesn’t need to be the valedictorian! But he needs to practice the basic disciplines of learning.
August 31, 2019
#544 – Student Story: N/A We live in a “what’s in it for me” kind of society. And it’s creating a generation of teens who thinks the world revolves around them. So, what can parents do to fight back against this toxic mentality? This weekend on Parenting of Teens, Mark Gregston shares five ways to create a culture of selflessness at home.
August 30, 2019
#2074 The scars we receive from bullies never fade … even as adults. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. I’m convinced that the escalating conflicts with bullies will never end … until parents step in and model what’s right. And right now, I’d like to pray for all of us … as we guide our teens. Father, show us how to help our kids. Teach us to intervene. Like You … allow us to become their great protector. We want to walk beside them if they’re being bullied … and we want to rebuke them if they dare offend others. Sarcasm and biting criticism are never part of Your character. It’s never Your will that we would willfully offend or hurt the innocent. So help us to become models of Your mercy, love and grace. Father, empower us to engage our kids as never before. In Your Son’s name we pray. Amen.
August 29, 2019
#2073 When disrespect in your teen rears its ugly head, it’s time to make sure everyone understands the rules for fighting fair. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Disagreements are a natural and important part of healthy relationships. But teens need to learn how to argue with respect. So if you’ve got a disrespectful teenager at home, here’s the kind of message you can deliver: “We love you, and that will never change. But we won’t allow you to talk to us that way anymore. We understand your need to argue your opinion, but there’s a better way to do it. So from now on, disrespectful words or actions will not be tolerated. And we’ll throw in some extra consequences to boot.” Make sure your teen clearly understands that you’re willing to listen … but you’re not a punching bag. Some day … he will thank you.
August 28, 2019
#2072 If the paint on the side of your house began to peel … or the roof started leaking … or your porch light burned out … would you just sit around and do nothing? Of course not! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. When things start to fall apart around the house, we instinctively grab a screwdriver, reach for a paintbrush, or do whatever it takes to get things back in order. And in like manner … our relationships need maintenance, too! Has your relationship with your teen become damaged by conflict, tension, or poor communication? Sounds like it’s time for a little home improvement! Take on this important do-it-yourself project … before it’s too late. Read a good book. Attend a helpful seminar. And above all … keep reaching out to your teen.
August 27, 2019
#2071 When every conversation with your teen about rules and boundaries turns into a battle of wills … it’s easy to feel like tossin’ in the towel. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Teens are known for testing boundaries. But it is possible to handle their moans and rolling eyes in a way that maintains relationship … without backing down. And one of my favorite ways to do that is with the word “nevertheless.” Here’s how it works. Instead of saying, “No, you can’t go see that movie.” Say, “Sweetheart, I’m aware your friends think it’s a great movie, and they may be right, nevertheless … our rule is that we don’t watch R-rated movies.” So the next time you get pushback from your teen over rules or curfew … try responding with “nevertheless.” You’ll be amazed how one simple word can turn the tide.
August 26, 2019
#2070 A stepparent’s job is never easy. And unfortunately, it only gets harder when your stepchild hits adolescence. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. No matter how much loving care you give … all too often stepparents experience rejection and anger from their stepchild. A stepparent becomes the target of the teen’s regret. It might come from her sense of loss. She might even believe—incorrectly—that her life would be much happier and problem-free if you’d never come along. So if tensions are high right now between you and your step-teen … take heart. Though you can’t force her to stop thinking the way she does … her feelings of loss won’t go on forever. And one day, she’ll understand the other side … and see you as her solution … not her problem.
August 24, 2019
#543 – Student Story: N/A Summer is nearly over and a new school year is just around the corner. So, what’s your game plan for making it the best school year yet? This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston offers five ways to develop a meaningful relationship with your teen over the upcoming school year.
August 23, 2019
#2069 Some families let arguments and fighting tear them apart. But in reality … conflict can pull a family together! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. When handled properly, conflict can actually improve relationships. People who stick together through thick and thin become closer by the end. In fact, some of the teens I recall most fondly are the ones who made me want to pull my hair out! Engaging, rather than avoiding, will teach your teen how to manage conflict well years down the road. Rest assured, the day will come when they have their first fight with a future roommate, employer, spouse … and child, too! So don’t shy away from conflict with your teen. When it’s time to get in there and fight for something you believe in … create a model for resolution they will never forget.
August 23, 2019
#2068 I can still remember the day I brought home all A’s on my report card—except for one B—and my dad wanted to know, “Why isn’t this one an A?” Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Man, my dad’s comment really took the wind out of my sails. Hey, it’s only natural for parents to want to see their child excel in academics. And there’s nothing wrong with encouraging them to do their best. But no one needs to feel like their grades are the ultimate measurement of their worth. Mom, Dad … make sure your teen knows she’ll always be loved … whether she brings home A’s and B’s … or C’s and D’s. Don’t belittle your son for missing the mark. Ten years from now, no one will ask to see your teen’s report card. But your teen will forever remember your love.
August 21, 2019
#2067 According to a recent study, nearly thirty percent of kids in middle and high school are bullied. But only fraction will ever report it. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. I’ve talked to students who were bullied for being adopted, for struggling in school … even for having a mom or dad pass away. There’s truly no wound too deep for a bully to avoid. They spot the pain … and go right for the target. Yet most kids rarely report getting bullied. Sometimes they’re too ashamed to admit it … or they’re afraid of looking weak. Other times, they fear retribution and ridicule. Parents and teachers should be on the lookout for bullies. We might never suspect what’s going on … unless we ask. Find your son or daughter clamming up? Going into isolation? Ask the question. It’s our role to protect our teen.
August 20, 2019
#2066 Are you getting tired of policing your teen … to make sure he gets his homework done? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Here’s something I tell the kids that live with me at Heartlight: “I don’t care about your academics. If you want to graduate on time, then graduate on time. And if you want my help, I’m happy to do anything I can.” Now, you and I know that I’m greatly concerned about their academic work. But I make it their responsibility to get it done. They know I’m willing to help them in the process … but I’m not gonna do the work for them! Mom, Dad, let your child take responsibility for his schoolwork … even if it means letting him fail. The lessons learned from a D or F today … will keep him from failing in the future.
August 19, 2019
#2065 How do you love an adult child who’s making terrible life choices? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Suppose you learn your adult child is having an affair … or she’s convicted of shoplifting. What if your son starts using drugs? Or your daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock? These scenarios might sound crazy to you right now … but moms and dads all over the country face these shocking surprises every day. I hope you never find yourself in their situation. But if you do … remember that God still calls us to embrace our sinful kids … and offer them love, guidance, and wisdom. Even when they’re adults. It’s your compassion, not your rejection, that will guide your adult kids back to Him. Mom, Dad, no matter your disappointment … point the way back home.
August 17, 2019
#542 – Student Story: Katie Are your platitudes and words of wisdom falling on deaf ears? Maybe you need to spend less time talking … and more time listening! This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston teaches parents how to open up the lines of communication with their teens by being better listeners.
August 16, 2019
#2063 The famous author Leo Tolstoy once wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world … but no one thinks of changing himself.” Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Parents usually come to see me when their family’s in a time of crisis. When relationships aren’t working out. And when things at home desperately need to change. Some parents assume that a few months at the Heartlight residential counseling program is all their teen needs to get back on track. But fairly quickly … they realize that change is a two way street … and parents have just as much work to do as their teens. Mom, Dad … do you wish things were a little different at your house? Before you try to change the world … before you begin to shake down your child … think of how to change yourself.
August 15, 2019
#2063 It doesn’t matter how good a parent you are. There are forces at work in today’s culture that can send your teen spinning out of control! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Maybe you’ve just gone through a shouting match with your teen … and you’re asking yourself, “What just happened?” Maybe you’ve just discovered something ugly on his computer. Or, maybe you caught your daughter lying to your face. To all of this, two simple words come to mind … When your family’s in chaos … don’t quit! When your teen says he hates you … don’t quit! When it’s 3:00 a.m. … and you have no idea where your teen is … don’t quit! Whatever your situation … remember … God hasn’t overlooked you. Rest in His presence. And never, never, never quit.
August 14, 2019
#2062 Parents need to spend a little less time nagging … and a little more time creating a peaceful harbor for their kids! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. When our teens get home from school, we’re like, “You need to do this … and you need to meet this expectation … and this is what we want from you.” And they’re just looking at us going, “Man, can I never get a break?” So here’s my challenge to you this week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday … go ahead and correct your teen. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday … don’t make any negative comments. And Sunday … give it a rest! Push too hard and you will live to regret it! Let your teen breathe! Assure him that under your roof … he will find a safe place to rest.
August 13, 2019
#2061 If your energetic little boy has become a terror … or your sweet little girl is teetering on the brink of disaster … it’s easy to lose hope. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. When you’re struggling with a wayward teen, it can feel like your world is turning upside down. Everything you’ve dreamed about has been dashed. It makes you feel like a failure. Well, over the past thirty years, my wife Jan and I have spent countless hours with teens and their parents. We’ve seen God do some incredibly amazing things. And what I’ve learned is this: God is faithful. In the darkness … there is hope. Listen … you may be feel like a complete failure today … but God still has a plan for your teen and your family … no matter how desperate the situation may seem
August 12, 2019
#2060 Mom, Dad, trying to empower your teen for a successful future? I’m gonna surprise you with one of the keys! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. One of the biggest mistakes I see parents making today is keeping their kids too busy with after-school activities. They’ve got no time left for a part-time job! And kids who get their first job after high school can hardly cope with the simple disciplines. Nothing will teach a teen about life and making a livelihood more than punching the clock for a few hours each week. Flippin’ burgers. Or scooping ice cream. An hourly wage will reinforce invaluable skills … like time-management, personal finance, and effective communication. It doesn’t matter whether they need the money or not. Mom, Dad … let your teen get a job!
August 10, 2019
#541 – Student Story: Lucas Do you struggle to get your teen to do his homework, help with chores, or get out of the house? You can’t know how to help him until you know what’s behind the behavior. This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston helps parents identify the reasons behind their teens’ lack of motivation and provides action steps for each type of scenario.
August 9, 2019
#2059 When your teen gets home from school, do you typically ask questions like, “Did you finish your homework?” Or “How was the test?” Chances are, you’re totally missing the point! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. When I was in high school, I didn’t do very well with grades. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit that I rarely cared about them at all! To most people, though, grades are important … and for a good reason. They’re considered a standard measure of progress … and indicate how a student will perform in the future. Hey, I know that every parent wants to see their kid succeed. But don’t make the mistake of confusing grades with personal value! Relax a little. Let academics take the back seat … and pour your attention into developing a meaningful relationship with your teen.
August 8, 2019
#2058 Back in my day, bullies were confined to name-calling at lunchtime … taunts on the playground … or fights behind the gym after school. But today, bullies have way more tools of torment at their disposal. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. You know, there’s probably nothing that makes me any more angry than when I see kids goin’ at each other in a slug fest. But these days, cyber bullies are far more prevalent. Teens post insults on message boards … send threats through text messages … spread rumors via Facebook. To cut someone down, all a bully needs is an Internet connection and a little imagination. So Mom, Dad … keep tabs on your teen … not only to protect him … but to make sure you don’t have a bully right under your roof!
August 7, 2019
#2057 Getting a shot at the doctor’s office or having blood drawn for a test might hurt … but it’s for your own good! Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Most parents believe that pain and discomfort should be avoided at all costs. However, pain is often the perfect remedy for a misbehaving teen. See, teens will continue making poor choices and bad decisions … until the resulting pain is greater than the pleasure derived from their behavior. And by preventing your child from feeling the pain of their mistakes, you might just be enabling them to continue down that destructive path. Are you trying to shelter your teen from pain and discomfort? Mom, Dad … let them experience the consequences of their actions. It’s for their own good!
August 6, 2019
#2056 The single, most common question parents ask me is, “What is the most important thing I can do as a parent to help my kids?” Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Parents always seem surprised when I tell them that the most important thing they can do is join a small group. But here’s the simple truth: parents need support! As a mom or dad, you’re going to face challenges that will test your patience, endurance, and faith. There will be days when you feel like stepping down as a parent and looking for another job with less stress and better pay. That’s why we need people around us who can offer help when we’re struggling, celebrate when things are going well, and listen when life is spiraling out of control. Parenting is a daunting assignment … so make things a little easier for yourself. And don’t go it alone!
August 5, 2019
#2055 As a parent, how do you know exactly the right time to extend grace? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. I recently worked with a teen who rarely received grace at home. He spewed anger on everyone and everything around him … including the side of my van. But instead of having him arrested for bashing my vehicle with a baseball bat … I told him that he was forgiven, that he wouldn’t be arrested, and that we were going to work things out differently from now on. As we talked, I saw tears come to his eyes. He had never experienced that kind of forgiveness. And giving him grace at just the right moment went a long way to change the direction he was headed. Remember … giving grace is most often needed the moment when it’s least deserved.
August 3, 2019
#540 – Student Story: Jake Are you experiencing helplessness, hopelessness, or fear regarding your teen? You don’t have to do this alone. It’s okay to ask for help! This weekend on Parenting Today’s Teens, Mark Gregston encourages parents to take action when their family is in crisis and outlines a three-step plan for intervention.
August 2, 2019
#2054 Recently, I read a fascinating story about a mom who never left her son’s side. Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Travis loved to jump from the swings at the playground. And that was fine, ‘cause his mom was always there to catch him before he hit the ground. Then came the first day of kindergarten. And when it was time for recess, Travis climbed onto the swing set, got up as high as he could, and took a big leap into the air. Only this time, mommy wasn’t around … so he fell and broke his arm. When Travis’s mom got the phone call, she was absolutely furious, and shouted, “This whole thing happened because I wasn’t there!” His teacher replied, “No, it happened because you were always there.” Mom, Dad … don’t shield your teen from the consequences of their actions! The later they learn, the more painful the lesson will be.
August 1, 2019
#2053 Have you ever fallen off a horse? Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. I work with teens at a residential counseling facility in Texas … so forgive me for using horses to teach life lessons. But when kids get on a horse for the first time, chances are they’re going to fall off. And when they do, we don’t criticize their skills … we encourage them to get back on. If they fall off again … we encourage some more. And we praise their bravery for getting back in the saddle. During this process, the horse doesn’t change … but the rider learns to overcome his awkwardness and fear. So when your teen falls off track in life, help him to get back on. Your encouragement—and not your criticism—will make all the difference!
July 31, 2019
#2052 President Theodore Roosevelt said, “I can be President of the United States, or I can control my daughter, Alice. I cannot do both.” Hi, I’m Mark Gregston … with Parenting Today’s Teens. Parents of strong-willed kids understand that raising them requires a lot of time, attention, and effort. It’s not easy to harness their energy and put it to good use. These kids will always put boundaries to the test … and challenge the system. So, if you have a strong-willed teen at home, remember these few keys… · Get on the same page discipline-wise with your spouse. · Communicate your boundaries clearly … · And make sure consequences are explained well in advance! It may take extra time and energy … but there are ways to make the most of your interactions with a strong-willed teen. Soon, he’ll become a strong, principled young adult!
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