3 Things Teenagers Need to Hear from Adults

By Ashley Denton,

The best way to keep the communication lines wide open with teenagers is to consistently show them respect. Distance is what adolescents often feel from adults. They think adults don’t understand them, are vastly different from them, and don’t struggle with what they struggle with.

This could not be further from the truth. Here are three things that teenagers need to constantly hear from you through verbal and nonverbal vibes…


If you feel like the person across the table is vastly different from you, then distance and lack of connection will characterize the relationship. We need to do everything we can to remove distance in our relationships with adolescents. The Apostle Paul taught this concept that we are all more like one another than different than one another when he said:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

It is so important for parents of teenagers to have fun with their kids and to keep the lines of communication open with them. The same is true for youth workers. Although there is an age difference, any trustworthy adult can easily win the trust of teenagers by coming down to their level and relating with them. Parents and youth workers alike need to be real with their feelings and be appropriately transparent with their struggles.

The best way to bridge this gap and keep the communication lines wide open with teenagers is to consistently show them through your actions and your words that you are more like each another than different from each another. That will build strong connections that make teenagers feel more secure in their relationship with you.

RELATED: 30 Things Teenagers Want in a Relationship


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves… (Philippians 2:3)

One of the greatest needs of adolescents is to feel like others respect them. They know they are full of faults and defects. You don’t have to tell a teenager that they’ve got issues. They know it. They may cover it up with boasting or pride, but under that shell, they want to be loved and respected.

Respect is a two-edged sword. 1) You first need to have a high opinion of them and truly compliment them on the admirable qualities you see in them. And then 2) you need to speak politely to them, showing them respect in the way you display common courtesy.

Even if a teenager is behaving in such a way that makes you not respect them very much. The way to their heart is through respect. I encourage youth workers and parents alike to find anything and everything you respect about them and remind them often what it is you respect about them. And when they act out and behave anything but respectable, seek to understand them first in a respectful way, and you’ll see them grow through it rather than become enslaved by their emotions.

RELATED: Empowerment: 8 Ways You Can Increase Someone’s Potential


For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Confidence is something that most people struggle with. But in adolescence the storm of insecurity is at its height. They feel the tension of having to carry some adult responsibility, yet they often feel like adults don’t believe in them the way they think they deserve.

On top of that, their friends at times cut them down to size through criticism. Or even worse, they get ignored by some kids  and this can make them feel alone. This is all rooted in insecurity. So a vital role that parents and youth workers can serve is to encourage their teens that they have what it takes to make something of themselves and succeed in the world. This is not a feel-good cliché that I’m talking about. If you want a teenager to really believe that they have what it takes, you need to go beyond the customary pat on the back.  You must invest in them. Here are some examples of intentional investment in adolescents that help them believe they have what it takes:

  • Help them understand what good relationships look like.
  • Give them a very clear understanding of the Gospel so that they know God has done everything for them… it’s not all up to them.
  • Teach them life skills that they will need when they become responsible adults. Three basic life skills that teenagers need but won’t usually ask for are:
    • People skills
    • Study skills
    • Vocational skills
  • Provide experiences for them to get exposed to a diversity of people and circumstances so that they do not develop an aversion to change.

Do you have any specific examples how a parent or youth worker blessed you with one of these 3 statements?

Which of these 3 is one of the greatest needs of an adolescent in your life right now? What’s an action step you can take to meet that need?

Originally posted at: www.ashleydenton.com

Speaking to Our Kids About Sex

By Kevin Wolfe,

I love God's Word!  I love that as we teach verse by verse that we come to challenges topics.  I love that these challenging topics are so good for our soul.  This past weekend, Pastor Jason taught on Hebrews 13:4-5 painting a high view of marriage and a high view of His wonderful design of sexuality.  This topic presented a great opportunity to drill down deeper into my two older boys lives (ages 13 and 11) to have some great dialog....thank you Jason!!!

I wanted to share with you a rough outline of the conversation to encourage your hearts in how to talk to your children and encourage you to do the same.  The conversation was awkward at times, it was met by silence, and we were even distracted by NASCAR in the background of the restaurant.  However, I believe many conversations like this over the years will be well worth it!

Point One:  We are all made by God as sexual beings.  We can not deny this.  Therefore, as a result we will be curious, we will have desires, we will have pulls.  My goal was to normalize the desires that God has given us so that the door will be open for years to come and that realize these desires are even good and we need to talk about them.  Having desires, curiousity, and wondering about things is not bad, it is normal.  God made us sexual and God's design is beautiful and we can't ever improve by it.  I want them to see that God's highest standard in sexuality will be there greatest joy, not be afraid of it but look to Him and His design!

Point Two:  Everything God makes wonderful and beautiful (like sexuality), Satan will distort and pervert.  We talked through what are perversions to God's design.  We spoke about that natural curiosity that we have because we are sexual beings will be used by the evil one to draw us towards his perversion.  Therefore, we need to be on guard.  Satan will typically offer us the easy way out to try to fulfill our desires, yet this will never satisfy us in the way God made us for.  We want to follow His design.  We spoke about the foolishness of getting as close to the line as possible and why would we want to play with fire.  If we have desires, we don't want to get close to line because we can easily be pulled over the line.  Bottom line, stay as far away from the line as possible as we wait for God's best!  We spoke about the importance of learning about sex from God and His design, not from the world, TV, friends, etc.

Point Three:  How do we wait for God's best?  We spoke about our need for each other to help when we are tempted.  Satan wants to isolate, God wants us to help each other.  We committed to talking about things together, we would be open when struggling knowing we will all struggle at different times, and if and when we sin, that we would confess to each other and get help from others.  We spoke about Satan's plan to not only tempt us to sin but then when we do to isolate and feel guilty.  Answer - run to Jesus and run to each other.  Timothy says "flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness with those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart."

I hope this helps in getting you thinking about having conversations with your kids.  If we are not informing them with a Biblical worldview - I guarantee someone will be informing them with a view.  Let's love and shepherd our children and help them navigate these wonderful but shark infested waters!

Pastor Kevin