I was a teacher for 12 years and I can assure you that things actually happen at school from the time you drop off your teen until you pick them up. One of the struggles of parenting teens is communication. Many parents want to talk with their teens about what happened during their day, but they struggle with asking the right questions. Proverbs 12:25 (ESV) “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
Here are a couple of insights from a teacher to a parent.
- School is not home. Home for many teens is a safe place away from school pressures (not for all). Your teen just got home and may not want to relive the whole day right away. Give them time to mentally unwind.
- A lot happens during the day at school. Here are things that may happen in a normal day of school: couples begin dating, break up and get back together several times a day, words are spoken in jest and haste but continue to dwell in the heart, and worldviews are continually challenged and displayed by teachers as well as peers. Each period and between each period many words are spoken and emotions are displayed which affect a teen’s life. So, in one day a teen has experienced a roller coaster of emotions, and they need a listening ear to help them process issues with their still developing mindset.
- When your teen gets home, ask questions about specific aspects of the day. Who did you sit with at lunch? Did you get any graded assignments back? If your teen disappears into their room, a great way to get them to come to the kitchen and talk with you is by making a simple snack and talking with them while they eat. Take time to clear your schedule at some point in the evening. This is a treasured time in your child’s life. God has given them amazing minds for thinking, and parents to help them in the development of their thinking before releasing them out on their own. Proverbs 25:11 (ESV) “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
The best way to keep conversations going is to make the conversation simple and to the point. One important thing to remember when talking to a teen is that school drama for them is real life. As a parent, you need to help them walk through the drama in a God-honoring way and not get involved in the drama as a parent. II Timothy 2:16 (ESV) “But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,”
By T. Yorgey