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Tending to the Bridge

Often we want to have important conversations with our kids without tending to the invisible mechanics of input. Those are the emotional, structural parts of our relationships that we create with words, attitudes and actions. Though our children are a close knit part of our lives, they are separate entities. Our connection to them is determined by how we tend to the bridge between us. In order to carry something really heavy across the bridge, we need to invest in caring for the integrity of the bridge - first. When you need to talk with them about something BIG - remind yourself to work on the bridge before sending off the shipment.

When kids are little the conversations are lighter and the communication of love feels easy. Don’t let the complications of teen-life undo the simplicity of love. Even if you feel like you lost it along the way - find ways to rebuild the bridge. Be willing to apologize and convey your desire to grow respect and hope for the future - together. Convey belief - don’t just hope for the best - believe for the best - together.

Deal with your fears. Put fear in perspective. The Truth is - God is with you and He is good! He will not stop working until His goodness brings hope and peace into your life. Put your child’s heart above your fears. Not only does fear convey a lack of trust in God - our kids see it as a lack of belief in them. We end up conveying a lack of trust/faith in their ability to see, hear, and choose wisdom. Fear always undermines what Love intends. Simple truth: Love shreds fear. When you need to shred fear - focus on the immensity of God’s active, unstoppable, transforming love.

Model the transparency and hope you want to live in. Model it in your private life. Demonstrate it at family times. If you stopped – simply pick it back up again.

Pray together before having BIG conversations. Be intentional in between the now and when you can “talk” with your teen. For example - plan a “talk” night for a week or two down the road. Use the days ahead wisely. Make that margin meaningful. How can you show them love and respect between now and then? Tend to the bridge. Pray. Invite wisdom. Choose and outwardly express thankfulness for your son/daughter. These are little ways to build the bridge each day.

Sandy Ohlman

Allendale Center Director

Healthy conversations with your teen:

As a parent, you know the importance of having healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen. You know that healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen are vital to their emotional, physical, social and spiritual health.


The PROBLEM is knowing how to have those healthy and meaningful conversations is difficult and at times seems impossible. There are a lot of reasons to why you don't feel qualified or able to have these conversations. Maybe you struggle with knowing what is going on in your teen's life. Maybe you struggle with keeping up with technology. Maybe you weren't the best teen and now don't feel qualified to talk with your teen about making healthy choices.


We exist to guide you along this journey and to encourage you. From a biblical basis and our experience, we will give you tools and encouragement to have healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen.

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