Rick Horne provides an accurate view of our current situation and how parents and others who work with teens can address the issue of anger.
Both adults and teens are guilty of sinful actions and attitudes. Horne reminds us of this truth and throughout the book uses Scripture to support his suggestions. When talking with teens, we must remember that they are not the only ones who sin. We are not to ignore their sin, but by remembering our own tendencies we can open doors to reaching teens. By determining to glorify God in our interactions, we present a stance that will lead teens to open up and talk.
Horne uses many examples of interactions between adults and teens – some not so good examples and some better following his plan. Our author outlines and then suggests the following plan of action for the parent or others working with the angry teen:
- Listen Big
- Clarify Narrow
- Look Wide
- Plan Small
Listening big allows you to identify the “wise wants” that you can use to build a bridge with your teen. By pointing out to your teen that he has wise wants and has succeeded on at least one occasion, you encourage your teen to not give up. This requires you to be a reflective listener, verifying that you understand what your teen is saying. Part of this is watching your teen’s body language as well as using your own in a positive way. Alternatively, the teen will say things like, “You don’t understand.” Or “You never listen to me.”
“The purpose in a man’s heart like is deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Proverbs 20:5
Clarifying narrow requires the firm foundation of the bridge that you have built. Leading the teen to recognize her “wise wants” and that she has the power to choose either wisely or poorly leads helps in clarifying her situation. This process helps the teen to see the relationship of cause and effect in her choices. Obviously, her relationship with Christ will affect how she chooses and how you address her.
“Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.” Proverbs 13:15
Looking wide for your teen’s solutions means finding exceptions in previous behavior. In the past, he has chosen wisely and thus produced good results. This can provide a pattern and encouragement for future choices.
Paraphrase of Proverbs 30:24-28 “Use opportunities (as ants do), places of refuge (as conies do), ability to cooperate (as locusts do), and perseverance (as lizards do) that your creator has given you.” OR “look at the resources God has put in your past and present, and used them to create solutions to the challenges you face now.”
Horne gives wise counsel saying that we need to recognize that resistance on the part of our teen may mean we are pushing our own solution rather than allowing him to discover his own.
Planning small reminds us that we must not expect too much too soon. Setting an achievable goal sets the stage for long-term resetting of more achievable goals. These goals must also be specific so they can be measurable.
Once your teen has achieved one small step in the right direction, you need to keep the conversation going by guiding her to continue to make specific, measurable and achievable goals. Finally, in the last chapter, the author reminds us that the ultimate goal is to point our teen to the cross.
Solomon warned young people that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12
Rick Horne has done a great job of providing good information for parents and others as they work with angry teens. This book is a must read! Other books by Horne include: Get Offa My Case and Walking Through the College Planning Process All are available through http://www.amazon.com