Walking on eggshells with the teens in your house? Creating an atmosphere of encouragement

Walking on eggshells with the teens in your house?

Creating an atmosphere of encouragement

Hope Moms of Teens discussion on “And Then I Had Teenagers” by S. Yates ~ Chapter 3

Special guest, Molly Ruff,  from Hope’s Young Adult Ministry joined us. She shared some of her story of the atmosphere in her home when she was a teen and the impact of keeping a gratitude journal.image 

It was a great encouragement to hear how making a habit of writing down a few things that you experienced THAT day and are grateful for or wanted to praise God for can completely alter the outlook of a teenager.  I can change any of us but Molly was a teenager and we are parenting teenagers so that is what really impacted me. I first heard Molly talk about this at a Women’s Christmas dinner 7 or 8 years ago before I had teenagers. I filed it away as something to remember.  I have tried to inspire my teens to journal but no success yet. 

I was quite thrilled when I texted with Angie Wed. evening and she said that she and her daughter were just about to start their first entries in their journals. Then Thurs., Cheryl posted this on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 10.53.53 AM

Has anyone else started?  We could start a teen gratitude movement! Thanks Molly, for inspiring us today.


I also realized that I think I take so many photos because I like to capture images of things or moments that bring me joy and gratitude. And guess what?? There is even an app for that!  But just know that you ladies bring me so much joy and I can’t help myself from trying to remember you.  Some of you have some new resistance plans but it didn’t work. You make me smile! (My teens have a secret technique to get me to delete photos but I’m not sharing) …. 


This week’s focus questions:

Meditate on Colossians 3.

Colossians 3  (NIV)

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Instructions for Christian Households
18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

1. Consider the home in which you were raised. What would you like to carry over into the atmosphere of your own home? Is there anything you’d like to leave out? What other homes have had a positive impact on your life? What would you like to duplicate from these homes?

We answered this question as our ice breaker in class. We had a lot of laughs and a few tears. Some of us have carried on holiday or meal traditions or atmospheres of fun (silliness and practical jokes) or forgiveness from our families. Some have changed things that were not so positive, such as judgement, not verbalizing love or keeping conflict a secret.  And some of us were challenged to not have an “it’s too late to implement attitude” about positive memories that we don’t see in our current environment. One example I remember is an atmosphere of respect.   As Susan Yates said on p. 67:

“But it’s never too late to change. And we have the Spirit of a loving Father to guide us as we take positive steps.”

2. As you read Colossians 3, list traits that we must leave out of our homes and traits that we wish to have characterize our homes.

I did this exercise last week and it was very impactful. God has given us specific guidelines about the atmosphere in our homes. How awesome is that!!


I began with verse 2:       Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.


I must say, that if I start with a mindset each day of aiming to bring glory to God and follow His lead,  my day is full of joy. Even in the midst of hardships.  It is a daily, if not hourly,  choice on where to set out minds.

Verse 15 ends with:    “And be thankful.” 

If we can begin our day with “setting our mind” and end it by “being thankful” … the atmosphere in our home is bound to be more in line with the guidelines in Colossians 3 and we can “put on love”. 

3. Is verbal disrespect or even verbal abuse a problem in your home? What steps will you take to alleviate this problem? Consider writing up a specific plan and asking a friend to pray for you.

4. Is your teen under stress? How can you empathize with her? Do you feel you should intervene or simply encourage?

5. Study your teen. Ask God to make you sensitive to positive steps of growth this week. Praise your teen for her growth in specific areas. Resist the urge to say, “But you can still make progress . . .”

6. What will you do this week to instill a sense of fun into your family life?

Meditate on Philippians 1:9–12. Insert the names of your family members into these verses, making it a prayer for your family.

Philippians 1:9-12New International Version (NIV)

9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.


A screensaver from last year.



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