Counseling With Teenagers

by Jack Hyles

A teenager is more adult than child.  We do not realize it.  The greatest mistake we make is treating them like children.

Teenagers misunderstand this and withdraw, because as Christians, they have no recourse.

1.  Do not become a teenager when counseling.  Let them become an adult.

2.  Let him tell his side; he has no hearing at home.

3.  Hear him out, but have him remain respectful.

4.  Take him seriously.  Don’t make light, or categorize him.

5.  Tell him things that identify you with him; listen, don’t preach.

6.  Ask his advice about the problem.  (What advice would you give someone in your situation?)

7.  Show him the logic behind your counsel.

8.  Let him win at least one point; don’t let it be a shut out.  The teenager needs dignity.

9.  Never preach or raise your voice.  Tell them you think they are a good kid.  If you take their side in some way they will come around and “hang themselves.”

10. Do not take sides.  He is expected to be ganged up on.

11. Do not have your mind made up before he gets in.  If he knows you are his friend,  that may be all he needs to straighten up; someone who’ll listen to him.

12. Always give a teenager a choice when advising him, between good things.

13. Do not oppose his idea, build on it.

14. Understand his problem and it’s cause.  Let him know you feel for him.

15. Only expect progress.  Express positive feelings over a little change.

16. Ask his advice about some other problem or question, so he feels like he helped you, and you have confidence in him.

17. Do not make his relationship with you hinge on his taking your advice.

18. In the case of premature marriage plans, don’t try to block it, try to postpone it.  If you want 6-8 months delay, ask for 18 and take 9.

19. Do not arrange for many orders to be given; it is better to give responsibilities and duties.

20. Do not scold or punish immediately when he does not do his work.  Talk about what he’s done wrong once a week or so.

21. Do not scold or punish immediately upon the infraction. (Not true with small child.)

22. Do not interrupt or disagree with him while he talks.

23. Do not despair, but if you do don’t let him know it.

24. Don’t be too spiritual or too carnal.

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