Does parenting tweens have you question your sanity? Well guess what — it’s not us, it’s them! Hal and Melanie Young, award-winning authors, join Heidi today on the podcast to talk about parenting tweens and how to maneuver through this often challenging season of parenting.
Hal and Melanie Young would like to offer you all a freebie – Christ-Centered Christmas. To get access to this freebie, head on over to their site RaisingRealMen.com/GuiftGuide (just scroll down to the bottom of that page).
Hal and Melanie Young are publishers, writers, bloggers, and speakers known for their Christ-centered focus and practical real-life stories. Authors of the Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year, Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boys. They have also authored No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope and the Amazon bestseller Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality.
TRANSCRIBED PODCAST BELOW
Good morning everybody, this is Heidi St. John. Today is Friday, December the 14th.
Welcome to the Heidi St. John podcast, today is Meet-My-Friend-Friday and my friends Hal and Melanie Young are here today. We’re going to talk a little bit about the mystery of parenting pre-teens. Stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged!
So, for those of you who are keeping up with me over at MomStrong International we are just under 10,000 subscribers now. We’re trying to hit that goal by the end of the year. It’s not too late to jump into the Scripture Writing Challenge!
We are right in the middle of our study for the month of December, In Search of Joy, and you can invite your kids and your teens to join you. You can sign up today at MomStrongInternational.com.
All right. I want to encourage you guys this morning as we’re going to be talking a little bit about parenting teens. And I love my guests today – Hal and Melanie Young are on the podcast with me today.
They are the award-winning authors of Raising Real Men, No Longer Little and the Amazon bestseller Love, Honor, and virtue. They are publishers, writers, bloggers, and speakers known for their Christ-centered focus and practical real-life stories. They are also my friends – which I noticed didn’t make it into their biography – but I’ll forgive them :).
So we’re going to be talking a little bit about just the ups and downs of parenting teens. They sent me their book to preview several months ago and I love the description of it. Tell me if this doesn’t resonate with you guys all right?! This is the description for No Longer Little
No one tells you what to expect.
Right? We’re talking about tweens here.
Your 9-year-old that loves school suddenly takes 3 hours to get math done. Don’t even ask about everything else. The11-year-old that loves to run errands now can’t remember the one thing you told them to bring you long enough to get out of the room.
And the 13-year-old… EMOTIONAL TURMOIL. Change your shirt before you leave, you tell your son, but he explodes. You don’t care about me! This is my favorite shirt! You’re always criticizing me!
Oh my goodness – I can go on and on and on. The Young’sreally get parenting tweens and I’m so excited that they’re here today. Hal and Melanie, welcome to the podcast!
[Melanie Young] It is delightful to be here Heidi.
[Hal Young] Thanks for having us. We appreciate it.
[Heidi St. John] Well, we’re so glad that you’re here and I know that this is going to resonate with our audience because you guys have been around the parenting block a few times. Tell us a little bit about your family.
[Hal Young] Well we’ve got eight kids. We’ve got four of them grown, and we’ve got four still at home.
[Melanie Young] Six boys, in a row, and then two girls at the end.
[Heidi St. John] Six boys in a row – woo!
[Melanie Young] Yea, and it took us a while going through this tween stage to realize that it wasn’t us that was crazy. It was them!
[Heidi St. John] Right?! But you know what happens is – you don’t start off crazy but you end up there.
[Melanie Young] Isn’t that truth!
[Hal Young] Well that’s what Sam Levison said you know – insanity is hereditary. You catch it from your kids.
Well yeah! And that’s a really critical thing about this time period because when they lose their minds – you can’t. You can’t join them in that party. You’ve got to step off the rollercoaster.
[Melanie Young] Well somebody has got to be the adult around here and it’s not going to be them.
[Heidi St. John] That’s exactly right. My husband and I have a saying – we like to tell people that little kids wreck your house, but big kids wreck your mind. Do you agree?
[Melanie Young] Oh yeah!
[Hal Young] I think we can go with that, sure! Yeah.
[Melanie Young] This tween stage though, is one of the things that if you don’t handle it right it will wreck your mind and your life. Because we’ve just seen again and again that the challenges of this stage…
Many parent child relationships are broken during the tween stage. And if they are broken then the teens tend to get worse and worse. And that’s why the parenting advice is aimed at parents of teens – because so many people have blown it, and now they’re in this nightmare of disbond. But really, if you can get through the tween stage with your parent child relationship intact – then generally the teens get better and better.
[Heidi St. John] Yeah. I think it’s really true. I noticed that when, you know, our oldest daughter is 27 – so I remember very clearly when she went into the stage I was like – wait a second. We were getting along yesterday. What you know what’s different it really it kind of literally does happen overnight. Do you think so?
[Hal Young] Yeah, yeah. And you weren’t expecting it. Were you? I mean when this first happened with us, you know we’re thinking – OK the teenage years that all starts when their voices crack, when they develop a figure, whatever – you know boys a girl- whatever you’re dealing with. Nobody told us – no actually, that’s kind of at the end of that transitional gateway. That really, your turmoil is going to start a couple of years before you see the first whisker, before their voices change.
[Melanie Young] Yeah well, they still look like kids and that’s what’s so gob-smacking about it – because you’ve got this kid that looks like a kid and suddenly they’re acting like some kind of hormonal nut.
[Heidi St. John] Right.
[Melanie Young] If you look at their biology – did you know that kids can have up to 50 times the testosterone or estrogen they will as adults?
[Heidi St. John] That doesn’t even survivable.
[Hal Young] No. Let that sink in. I mean just register on that. I mean think the worst hormonal periods of your grown up life and then multiply it by dozens and think – how do how does anybody make it through that?
[Melanie Young] Yeah yeah. Is it any wonder she’s in a puddle? And is it any wonder he’s angry? It’s a wonder he’s not an ax murderer
[Hal Young] right
[Heidi St. John] Yeah, yeah. So when a parent comes to you – and I think it’s good to shoot this disclaimer. Because you guys are a homeschooling family and I obviously and the homeschooling mom — homeschooling does not protect you from puberty. It really doesn’t. And no doubt many parents they think – oh I just homeschool my kids -They’re never gonna talk back to me. We’re never going to have all these issues that everybody else’s kids have. But it just isn’t true. Right? Because hormones come to everybody.
[Hal Young] Somebody told me a long time ago – the decision to teach your kids home does not heal original sin. And I mean, you’re going to hit you’re going to hit puberty – and the thing of it is – if it’s happening at the big consolidated middle school somewhere miles across town — you may not see it hour after hour in every instance. But when you’re homeschooling – you get the front row seat, and you get to experience the whole thing. Which on the one hand you think – oh no. But on the other hand – that means you’re there and you can deal with it.
[Melanie Young] And you know that’s really.. I’m glad you said that about original sin, Hal – because the spiritual part of this is huge! They’ve got all these emotions going on – that are…
Their emotions are out of control, they’re insane. And then school. And their minds are going through a remodelling process where the part of their brain that governs executive functions is remodeling – so like they can’t focus. They can’t remember what they’re doing. School is much harder.
Well, the combination of the brain changes and the emotional changes bring about spiritual doubt. And it’s so common for kids to struggle spiritually during this time and we’ve got to be there for them.
[Hal Young] That was something that was something that really frightened us as Christian parents. Because – you know I think about our early…
Like our first child – we were going to do everything right. You know, we drilled him in scripture, in the Catechism, we taught hymns – I mean we did everything the Christian parenting was supposed to do. We checked all the boxes. And then at nine years old he suddenly announced – I think I’m an atheist!
[Melanie Young] I about drive off the road, by the way.
[Hal Young] And we just wanted to know – what went wrong? Well, it wasn’t really what went wrong in the matter. I mean the situation is – he reached this developmental stage where, you know – when they’re six years old and they’re like – mom and dad love Jesus and I want to love Jesus like mom and dad do.
And six-years-old – that’s a beautiful time.
And then when they get to be nine, ten, eleven – it’s like they get another page in their brain that says – there’s other opinions about this. How do I know that Mom and Dad are right?
And they start questioning things. And really – we need to – instead of doubling down saying “hey you know how can you dare question” –
We need to say.. this is like that parent in the scriptures who says – I believe. Help my unbelief, give me a reason to believe. Give me something to hang on to here.
[Melanie Young] Oh, it’s the perfect time for apologetics, for talking through those hard questions with your kids. For letting them see that, you know, they don’t need to be afraid to ask questions because our faith can handle it.
[Heidi St. John] So good, and so many parents – when your kids do that – especially because you’re used to this compliant child – right? And the one thing that you hold dear, that you’ve been praying for your whole life – they start to question things and a lot of parents will freak out. And what I hear you saying is – don’t do that, don’t freak out will you just.
[Hal Young] This is just such a critical, fertile time, in the life of your child and in your relationship as a parent with the child. You know this is a time when you are really going to get a lot of work done – if you recognize, and embrace, and it lean into.
[Melanie Young] Yeah, lean into it don’t freak out. Instead grab that opportunity to talk to them about these hard questions, to walk them through it. And the cool thing about it is they actually can develop an adult faith at this age. A faith that can carry them through the teen years, and college, and the young adult years – without the bumps in the road that we see in so many kids raised in Christian homes – that didn’t solidify their faith when they were pre-teens.
[Hal Young] And see when they get to this point, when they’re starting to gain an adult’s ability to reason – then when you’re explaining things, you’re not only rationalizing what you’re doing – but you’re helping them understand the process they need to go through as they start to manage their own lives more and more. As they start to make decisions about – how do I evaluate a situation? How do I deal with a troubled relationship? How do I? Guess what – how do I apologize and ask forgiveness when I’ve done something wrong? You know, we’re modeling that behavior sometimes.
[Melanie Young] And so it’s a change. It’s a change in your parenting. You’re not letting him get away with things, but you’re just changing how you do it so that you can build the kind of relationship that can last into their adult years. Does that make sense?
[Heidi St. John] It makes perfect sense and I think for the parent who’s listening to this, and I know I’m I’m as I’m listening to you talk – I’m replaying in my head conversations we’ve had with our teens over the years, with our pre-teens. And I remember – I can remember several – I would call them pre-teen fails.
Can you guys talk to the parents who are listening to this right now – and they’ve just had a heated argument with their child, and they’re feeling like they’re failing, and they’re not really sure how to pick it up and keep moving. Maybe it’s been a habit of getting drawn into the drama. Like we have we have a saying in our house – No Drama Mama! Just because you’re engaged in drama doesn’t mean I need to engage. But sometimes we do, sometimes they hurt us, sometimes they say things that trigger us and we’re just like – I cannot believe I just came out of my mouth.
Talk to the mom or the dad who’s who’s feeling pretty discouraged right now in their parenting.
[Melanie Young] You know what? God is full of grace. There is much grace – and when we’re His people, when we’ve repented of our sin, and trusted Him to save us – He already loves us. Already is pleased with us because He sees the righteousness of Christ. So go to the Father, and get on your knees, and say – I need help. I repent of how I handled this and Lord – I need you to help me to control my tone.
I have a hot temper, and I’m usually the one that loses it in our house. And so many times I’ve had to apologize to the Lord and then go apologize to the child. And then start again. The wonderful thing about relationships is they’re made in the moments, in the little things, in the walking up and putting your arm around a child, in listening when they interrupt you instead of going and going “mmhmm” and going on with what you were doing online, in being interested in them – and just showing genuine delight that they are your child. And you can do so much rebuilding in those moments.
And if you blow this moment get the next moment right.
[Heidi St. John] I love that. And I think what I’m hearing from you is it’s never too late. It’s never too late to get back in there, to show that affection, and really want to be involved in the life of a child.
You guys have lots of books that you’ve written, lots of resources for parenting – and this book in particular No Longer Little is available on Amazon right now and also at your website. Where can listeners find you so that they can download some of this information, and then I want to talk about a freebie that you guys have up for Christmas.
[Melanie Young] Okay. No Longer Little you can find it NoLongerLittle.com. Lots of reviews there. You can check out all of our books and resources from wholesome gifts to parenting books, and advice, is at RaisingRealMen.com. We have a podcast at HalAndMelanie.com/radio.
And we’ve got a freebie! We have a book called Christ Centered Christmas where we share a lot of our family’s heart about how to make Christmas really about Jesus. And yet to thoroughly enjoy it and celebrate it.
A couple came up to a conference recently and said that it just freed them up because they’d been told not to celebrate Christmas, that it was a pagan thing – and they read our book and they said we had the best Christmas ever.
So you can get it free at RaisingRealMen.com/GuiftGuide. That’s our gift guide for boys that we put out every year. If you scroll down to the bottom you can join our newsletter list and get Christ Centered Christmas free. It’s 72 pages of goodness.
[Heidi St. John] I love it. And for those of you who are driving right now, or in the shower – don’t stop what you’re doing, keep doing it. I will link back to all things Hal and Melanie Young in the show notes today. You guys thank you for coming on the show today. It is always such a pleasure to have you and I can’t wait for our listeners to get more acquainted with your ministry.
[Hal Young] Heidi, it’s been a blessing. Thank you so much.
[Melanie Young] And Heidi we just love your heart. You know, we’re about the same thing – we’re about Jesus. And just thank you so much for having us. It’s been a joy to talk to you.
[Heidi St. John] Thank you. if you guys want more information about Hal and Melanie Young go to HeidiStJohn/Podcast. Also – we have just started transcribing the podcast took me 700 episodes to get there. But hey – we’re doing it now. So if you want the show notes in a transcription format- they’re available for you! Just keep scrolling down past our normal notes and you’ll see the whole thing transcribed.
Hope you guys have a fantastic weekend! Thanks for listening today. Don’t forget to leave a review for this podcast at iTunes and I’ll see you back here on Monday!