Category Archives: Teenagers

Teens Grossly Unprepared for Life Beyond the Home by Gregory Bland


Today many children/teens will be returning home from school with report cards. Some will proudly present them to their parents. Others may be tempted to stuff them in a drawer and reluctantly pull them out in a weeks time when Mom or Dad ask, “Did you not get a report card last week?”

Parenting is no easy task, that’s true. There is so much for our children/teens to learn before they leave home. But they need much more than head knowledge. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic are good, however they need much more than this to thrive outside of our homes.

They need a solid foundation that will support and enable them to navigate the challenges of life beyond the shelter of our homes. This includes a life perspective that flows from their understanding of who God is and how He impacts their lives, solid character, and strong personal disciplines, the ability to develop and foster healthy relationships, creating boundaries around their lives and time, financial management, and more.

It can seem overwhelming at times when we consider this. There can also be a temptation to believe that the schools are caring for these things. But the reality is many schools are focused on the core subjects that satisfy college admission as opposed to teaching basic life skills for thriving in the ‘real world.’

That’s where our role as parents shine. We have an incredible opportunity to invest within our children and teens and prepare them for life beyond the home. What better place to begin experimenting with decisions, making mistakes, evaluating their experiences, and applying that learning to life than a loving home environment?

As report cards are carried home and you begin to review them with your children, could I encourage you to look at another report card. A Life Skills Report Card*. (Some of you have used this in the past, so this may serve as a simple reminder to continue assessing areas of growth for your children/teens.)

Linked in this email is a practical tool that will help turn your and your child/teens mind toward personal life skills development. It can be an incredible catalyst for conversation and determining growth goals for your child/teen as they look beyond the report card to life on their own.


Together we can create a legacy of relational health for generations to follow and prepare our children for life beyond the home.

Blessings today,
Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland

*Life Skills Report card based upon the work of Marlaine Paulsen Cover of Parenting 2.0

**photo credit 81314986

Want to Connect with Your Child/Teen? Part 4 by Gregory Bland

adversary-ally-gregory-bland-the-legacy-centreBefore we can interact openly with our teens we need to understand the answer to this question: Does my teen see me as an adversary or an ally?

Consider the metaphor of a door that guards the heart. This door leads to the pathway of your teen’s inner thoughts. When they feel trust, they readily open that door, leading to an exchange of thoughts, feelings, and desires. On the other hand if they do not trust you, the door is quickly slammed shut and sealed in an effort to defend themselves from hurt and/or rejection.

In light of this, how does your teen perceive you as their parent: an adversary or ally?

Their perception will greatly influence their openness to you as a parent.

I have witnessed the relational influence parents have on teens, they influence trust or distrust which greatly impacts their teens openness in conversation. Despite what many have been conditioned to believe, teens do desire to open up and share their thoughts, dreams, fears, and desires. They simply need to feel safe in doing so.

Listen as Sarah (15) shares her experience.

“I remember the first time I felt like I was truly being listened to. It was shocking for me because I expected to be cut off and given a lecture, but I wasn’t. They simply listened as I talked. It was like they truly wanted to know and understand who I really was and what made me tick. It made me happy and I felt like an adult not a little child. I found myself wanting to talk to this person more and more, especially when I was facing difficult times. I now have someone I can count on, knowing they will be there for me no matter what. That is why I never speak to my parents, because I never get that kind of response, and yet, they still wonder why I won’t open up to them.”

The reality is, if we do not make a practice of listening to our teens. They will find someone else who will.

listening-to-teens-gregory-blandMany parents think listening means solving their kids problems or coming up with answers. If that is your belief you will effectively shut the door to your teens heart. They are not necessarily looking for answers as much as they are support for what they are walking through. As a listener you put your own agenda on hold allowing them to share without interference.

Listening Tips

  1. When your teen begins opening up give them space to fully articulate what they are thinking, feeling, and desiring. Keep your impulse to interrupt or talk over them in check.
  2. Invite them to share their thoughts by asking for more, without defending or disagreeing.
  3. Clarify what you are hearing to ensure that you understand what they are intending to communicate.   This gives opportunity to correct understanding if necessary.
  4. Reserve your own response until later. On important or contentious issues, take some time to collect your emotions and thoughts and ask to reengage in conversation at a later time.

Listening in this way not only gives you more information about what your teen is thinking, feeling, and desiring, it serves to affirm their value and worth. Each of us longs to be known and understood. Listening honours our teens on a deeper level, opening up and giving opportunity to nurture their God-given gifts and talents.

Until next time, remember distrust is a road to no where.  Let’s seek to regain our teens trust by authentically listening.

Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching &
The Legacy Centre