In the Know – Being Available to Your Teen

Welcome back to the third week in our “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart” series. If you missed the first two weeks you can follow these links to get caught up. So far we have covered:

1. Be Informed

2. Be Approachable

Be Available

Last January, Proverbs 31 Ministries ran the devotion: “They Rise Up and Call Her Busy“:

“Mom, will you please tell me a story?“ my eight-year-old daughter asked me recently. It had been one of those insanely packed days, full of errands, chores and activities… and it wasn’t over yet. My mind strained to keep everything in order for the remaining events we had planned for the evening. I was coordinating our homeless outreach followed by plans to attend my husband’s softball game. Kids had to be fed, pottied, properly clothed, and in the right places at the right times. I had to remember to bring supplies, snacks, drinks and driving directions to our various destinations. There was no brain reserve left for creative stories.

“I’m sorry, honey. I can’t tell you a story right now. I just have too much on my mind.”

“That’s okay,” she said. “I’ll tell you a story. Once upon a time,” she began, “there was a very busy mom.”

Uh oh. This ought to be interesting…

“She woke up every day and she was tired. She made a big pot of coffee and went into her room to pray. She prayed and prayed and prayed…but nothing happened. She did the laundry and went to Target and to the grocery store where she spent lots of money. She made dinner and cleaned the house. She went to help the homeless children. At the end of the day, she was still tired so she went to bed. The end.”

Wow. I’m like a twisted version of the Proverbs 31 woman, we are encouraged to be. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” I Thessalonians 4:11&12 (NIV)

Slowing down is important; it’s the only way we can be there for our children. When we are spending time with our children, it allows us to observe. Each one of our children are uniquely created. That may mean that one of your different children may be more vulnerable or open at a different time then their sibling.

For children really open up at night. Now this is a real problem for me. You see I have a disclaimer in my life that I cannot be held responsible for anything I say, hear or do after 9:00 p.m. I just am not coherent! Because of this problem, I try to make myself available to my kids when they get home from school. Ideally, I like to have a time when they come home where I have a snack and we chat for a few minutes about their day before they head into doing their home work.

Making plans with just one child, one on one, is another way to speak volumes to their value. It says, “I care enough about you to carve out time for you”. Try going out for a snack or a walk. I have one child who likes me to take her shopping and another who likes to hike. Different children; same message of value.

Think over your life and your schedule. How can you arrange things so that you can be available to your child to hear about their world, their heart and the things they are going through in their minds? Be available.

Next week, we’ll cover #4: be vulnerable.

If you have found this post helpful, forward it to another who might as well. If you would like to have the article “Building a Bridge to Your Child’s Heart” in it’s entirity free of charge, just email me at [email protected].

Do you have some ideas for some one on one times? Let’s share what works.



  1. Anonymous says:

    If I pick up a book and sit by my teenage daughter when she is reading or doing her homework, conversation almost always gets started … by her.
    I found this out quite by accident and at first would become somewhat exasperated (on the inside), thinking to myself … "Wow…I finally find the time to sit down and read and I keep getting interrupted! Please just let me read my book!"
    Then, I realized what was happening. That she was taking this perfect opportunity to share, and I better take this perfect opportunity to listen! Now, I'm more sneaky about it. I could care less if I get a page read or not…I'll sit down next to her, with book in hand, and hope that I don't get the chance to get any reading done! It works almost every time! 🙂

  2. Dear Friend,

    Thank you SO much for this terrific tip! I have been struggling to connect lately with my 16 year old; the old methods weren't working. Tonight, I'm giving it a try!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don't feel like I have much that works lately. When we have one-on-one time, it's usually him doing something rude or disrespectful and me getting angry and lecturing or taking a privilege away. sigh sigh What am I going to do? I have another year before I have 2 teens. God help me!!!

    One thing I did notice last week is that we were visiting a friend in the hospital and started playing a card game. It did seem to bring out some of the talking. At home, it seems much harder to get conversation going.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Looking forward to hearing you speak this weekend in Roanoke Rapids. I look forward to going every year and have enjoyed several P31 Speakers.
    Nicole Flynn

  5. Nicole,
    I'm looking forward to meeting all of you in Roanoke Rapids too! It's going to be a great day!

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