Is Your Teen a “None”? | May 15, 2020
Three Things This Week
1. Failure to Launch
What it is: In a new interview on The Art of Manliness podcast, family clinical psychologist Mark McConville offers perspective from his years of practice on how to help adolescents successfully transition to adulthood.
Why it’s timely: As “graduations” occur all across the country, parents everywhere are looking ahead to the fall when their teenagers begin college and their college graduates theoretically set off on their own. How do I help them make good decisions? Have I prepared them to handle their new responsibilities well? What if they don’t take initiative? These are all great questions to be asking, and this summer is the perfect time to really make sure they have the tools and skills needed to make the transition. Take 50 minutes to listen to the episode, then ask your graduate what about their newfound independence they’re looking forward to and what makes them apprehensive.
2. Remaking Religion?
What it is: In recently published research and commentary, Stanford University’s iGen Project has found that Gen Z is the least religious generation and that they are “remaking religion to suit their values.”
Why it’s reflective: We’ve known for awhile, thanks to Pew Research, that “nones”—those who don’t identify with any religion—are on the rise in the U.S. But as iGen notes, many of the Gen Z nones “still believe in God, or say they are open to spirituality.” So why are they choosing not to identify with any religious tradition? The research team says their response to religion is partially due to “the values [they] associate with organized worship. Some mention intolerance or dogmatism; others raise sexism and homophobia.” If this is what they associate with religion, then how are we, as parents, educators, pastors, volunteers, and youth workers, daily showing our Gen Zers that that perception is wrong?
3. Talking about Ahmaud Arbery
What it is: The death of Ahmaud Arbery(language) is sparking outrage, grief, and even more political division all over the country, and as our friends at Family Life point out, this is not the time to be silent.
Why teens need us to talk about it: If our Gen Zers have phones or friends with phones or access to the Internet in any way, odds are they’ve heard about the incident. And how we do or do not react speaks volumes to them. They need us to help them process everything, including and especially all the outrage and new details that keep coming to light. They need us to show them how to weep with those who weep while still seeking justice and defending the oppressed. They need us to model the heart of God by caring about all people, even those who have done wrong. Our world is broken and messy, and we will tremendously help our kids by having a nuanced approach to a horrible situation.
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You Deserve a Break Today
Depending on where you live, school is either permanently closed or you only have a few more weeks of homeschooling to go. Regardless, the last two months of working from home, teaching your kids, and relearning how to do algebra have almost every parent on edge! If your home looks anything like ours, stress levels are up, arguments have increased, and everyone is in need of a little social distancing from each other. We all need a summer break, but with travel restrictions and a struggling economy, that family vacation is probably out of the question. Now what?
To help navigate a long and uncertain summer, here are a few tips to maintain your family’s mental health. First, keep a structure, but make it flexible. It might help to make a schedule each week that builds in chore time, dinner time, screen time, playtime, exercise, bedtime, and “leave me alone” time. Setting aside time for each activity signals that it’s ok to do each thing, but keeping it flexible makes it clear that each person’s individual needs will be taken into account.
Second, get out that old board game and strike up a friendly family competition. This will not only bring your family together, but it will also scratch that competitive itch your kids might not have been able to scratch by playing their favorite sport. Third, limit exposure to the news. Constantly tuning in to your favorite pundit will only further exacerbate everyone’s anxiety levels.
Finally, if you are married, carve out time for you and your spouse to be alone together. With everyone confined in the house at all times, it’s hard to break away and pour into your marriage. Schedule a stay-at-home date night for just you and your spouse. And if you are a single parent, don’t feel guilty about creating time for yourself. Everyone needs some solitude right now, especially if you are the sole breadwinner, school teacher, and peanut butter and jelly maker. Take a walk, run a bath, or just close your door and breathe.
We’re all running on fumes, and this summer promises to be unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before, possibly taking even more of a toll. Take care of yourself and your family by practicing these simple suggestions. And remember, this too shall pass.
Keep the Faith!
The Axis Team
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