Advice From Dr, James Dobson
From Adolescent Rebellion by Dr. James Dobson:
The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health surveyed 11,572 teenagers to determine which factors were most helpful in preventing harmful behavior, such as violence, suicide, substance abuse, early sexual behavior and teen pregnancy. Here’s what the researchers found: The presence of parents is beneficial at four key times of the day — early morning, after school, dinnertime and bedtime.Emphasis added.
When that regular contact is combined with other shared activities between parents and kids, the most positive outcome is achieved. The researchers also observed that adolescents who felt a sense of connection with their parents (feelings of warmth, love and caring) were least likely to engage in harmful behavior.
You might be asking: “How can I be with my teenagers morning, noon and night? I have too much work to do.” You simply have to decide what is most important to you at this time. It won’t matter as much a few years down the road, but your availability right now could make the difference for your child between surviving or plunging off the cliff.
My father and mother were faced with the same difficult choice when I was 16 years old. Dad was an evangelist who was gone most of the time, while my mother was home with me. During the adolescent years, I began to get testy with my mother. I never went into total rebellion, but I was definitely flirting with the possibility. I’ll never forget the night my mom called my dad on the phone. I was listening as she said, “I need you.” To my surprise, my dad immediately cancelled a four-year slate of meetings, sold our home and moved 700 miles south to take a pastorate so he could be with me until I finished high school.
It was an enormous sacrifice for him to make. He never fully recovered professionally from it. But he and Mom felt my welfare was more important than their immediate responsibilities. Dad was home with me during those two volatile years when I could have gotten into serious trouble. When I speak with reverence about my parents today, as I often do, one of the reasons is because they gave priority to me when I was sliding close to the brink.
You may not be called upon to make such a radical change in your lifestyle. But if you are, the investment in your teen’s life is worth it. We can’t put a price tag on our child’s life...
Parental involvement is the key to getting kids through the storms of adolescence.