to realizing if
your child is at-risk,
self-destructive behaviors, and
your help and intervention.
Learn more how
Total Transformation, an at-home program for parents, can help your
troubled or struggling teen and heal your family
How can I help my
harder for my child?
How can I deal with the
in our family?
Is my teen's
just normal teenage rebellion?
My teen is cutting. What do I need to know about
What is 'normal' teen
and what is cause for concern?
What makes a
Father's Critical Role
by Mark Gregston, founder of
What Makes A Family Strong? -
I Love You Just the Way You Are
Simple Actions to Connect with
Your Child - Parenting
fooled into thinking that dads aren’t all that important.
dads to validate their self-worth.
problems can come to a family and to future relationships for the
children when a dad is absent or not as involved with his kids as
they need him to be.
Not only does an
absent dad make it hard on the mom – who then has to play both roles
– but it is also confusing to the children.
Mom the nurturer becomes mom the authoritarian, and the kids begin
to feel a void in their life that can create relational minefields
in their future.
What about a dad who is there,
but he remains disengaged? This
too can be a problem; maybe an even bigger problem than an absent
dad. It can lead to a loss in a child’s self-worth and
identity. Children begin thinking that they are not important or not
worthy of dad’s attention, or worse yet, they’re a burden to him.
As a result, they can develop insecurities and anxieties and may
never feel they measure up or are good enough – not to anyone.
Each parent has a
separate role when it comes to building a child’s self-esteem.
Moms instill value in
her children and dads validate it. If mom is doing her job,
but dad is not right behind her doing the validating, a son may
enter into inappropriate relationships to do that for him, or a
daughter may go out to find a boy or even an older man who will do
the same. They want someone to validate their self worth; but
they can only get that from dad.
But what is
validation? It’s kind of like a stamp of approval. It tells
them that they are loved and accepted for who they are, regardless.
It validates that they are a valued and important part of the family
and that they are a beautiful person worthy of the adoration of a
father. Can’t you just tell a child that? Of course you can, and
you should! But actions speak louder than words. Validation comes
from showing you are interested in the child and not only willing to
spend time with them, but that you cannot wait for the next time you
two can spend together. It’s a very special and important part of
What if the Father is Absent?
If your child does not
have a father, or someone to fill that role in his or her life; it
is important to ask your pastor or youth minister, or other family
members to fill that void in a positive way for your child.
I knew a man who was
slowly passing away from terminal cancer. Before he passed, he
asked six different men to look after his children when he was gone.
Now that is dedication. This man understood the importance of
the role of the father. He wanted at least six men to be
looking out for his children, to be sure they would have the support
and validation they so desperately need, especially after the loss
of a father they loved so much.
My Teen Doesn’t Want to Spend
Time with Me
Not every dad knows
how to be a good father, because they didn’t have a good example in
their own life. That could be why there is a rift in your
relationship. A shift in your parenting to become a validator will
allow you to experience something you may never have had before in a
Perhaps you are
struggling with your teen and sometimes just want to cut off the
relationship and say “Enough is enough!” So maybe you’ve
gotten overly involved in projects, sports or work and avoid your
child. But even unruly children want their dad to offer them the
same amount attention and dedication. They may not say it. They may
even deny it with all their might.
But no matter how nasty
they’ve become, they still need their dad.
These dads may now have
to work extra hard to validate their teen. And after they have
broken the ice, they should continue to make sure they are doing a
good job by asking, “Am I around you enough?” Or, “Do I
support you like you need?” “Who do you know you can always
count on…is it me?” Who is the second?” “Third?”
kids cannot explain their needs, but dad’s desire to talk to them
shows that he cares, especially if he listens to them and takes them
at their word. For all the dads out there that have “blown
it” or parents that feel they have lost all connection with their
kids, showing how you desire time and interaction with them now will
still make a difference. Be persistent, and it will pay off.
Steps Toward Validation
Dads should make an
effort to get together with their son or daughter once a week, no
For daughters, make it a date. Go to
dinner or a coffee shop and just sit and open your ears, look at
her, and ask some good questions. Show her that you will go
out of your way to talk to her about what matters most to her.
For sons, you’ll do a
better job of validating by doing something active together, rather
than sitting face to face.
Work on a project,
golf, hunt, fish, or attend a game together. You may need to go out
of your way to find an interest you both have in common.
through mutual participation in an activity (especially an activity
you may not personally be that fond of ) gives your teenager the
impression that you care. Strengthen that feeling by
find some way to encourage and praise them,
even if it is hard to find something praiseworthy.
Every child yearns
for attention from the adults in their life.
They might be on guard or may not trust you at first because in the
past they have not felt so important to you. Make it clear to
them that it is your desire now to spend time with them on a regular
basis, and then be consistent. Both of you will benefit, but
your teen will feel validated because they begin to feel that you
really want to be with them and to nourish the relationship.
Kids need their mom’s
and dad’s presence and attention to their needs.
If not, they will
look for value and validation somewhere else – usually from all the
wrong places — but they will never truly find it.
AUTHOR: Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, national
radio host, and the founder of the Heartlight
therapeutic boarding school, a
residential counseling opportunity for struggling adolescents, which
houses 50 teenagers. For more information, call 903-668-2173.
Tell Mark what you think on Facebook: www.facebook.com/parentingteens
All my life I’ve been going out of my way to get my father’s
approval. And he’s never been impressed. -- Madonna
Read All The
When Your Teen Is Struggling: Real Hope and Practical Help for
The founder of
Heartlight Ministries, offers vital help to
parents of teens who exhibit destructive or
unhealthy behaviors and actions. Parents will learn
how to look beyond behavior to the heart of a teen,
recognize how kids stuff the void God wants to fill,
have proper expectations for themselves and the
teen, create a belief system and effective rules in
the home, and set boundaries and nurture a sense of
security. An ever–increasing number of
families face these life storms. With expertise and
compassion, Mark offers them the knowledge and
understanding they need for their journey from
struggling to success.
The Way of the Wild Heart: A Map for the Masculine Journey
by John Eldredge
This is a book about how a boy -- and a
man -- becomes a man. We live in a time where most men and boys are
essentially fatherless. Whatever their circumstances, they have no
man actually taking them through the many adventures, trials, battles
and experiences they need to shape a masculine heart within them.
They find themselves on their own to figure life out, and that is a
lonely place to be. Their fears,
anger, boredom and their many
addictions all come out of this fatherless place within them, a
fundamental uncertainty in the core of their being.
Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery
by John Eldredge and Stasi Eldredge
This book shows
readers the glorious design of women before the fall, describes how the
feminine heart can be restored, and casts a vision for the power,
freedom, and beauty of a woman released to be all she was meant to be. John and Stasi Eldredge invite women to recover their feminine hearts,
created in the image of an intimate and passionate God. And more,
they help parents to lead their daughters to become the strong and
beautiful women they were created to be.