Teenagers may feel powerfully invincible but they are vulnerable to human weaknesses just like us parents. Teens wear their growing independence on their sleeves and yearn to try on adult experiences. This is a dangerous combination when it comes to teens and the seven deadly sins because it may lead to abuse and harm.
Here are the seven deadly sins as related to teens and how parents may help:
Gluttony Certain things are legally off-limits to minors such as alcohol and smoking but that may only add to an almost adult’s curiosity. Parents may supplement school health classes by modeling healthy behaviors, establishing clear behavior standards, and being frank about the dangers of substance abuse. If you suspect a problem is developing, it is best to seek professional help ASAP.
Sloth Does sleeping until noon on weekends, hard to awaken on school days, forgetting chores, being surly and procrastinating describe your teen? If so, you are not alone. Many healthy teens need more sleep than they are getting and science tells us the optimum wake up time is later than most schools start classes. Parents may help by teaching organization and time management skills so busy teens may complete their to-do list without sacrificing needed rest.
Envy Peer pressure is huge and it is ironic that teens are most susceptible to it at the very time they are asserting their own independence. Although Groucho Marx joked, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member,” teens may feel jealous and resentful if they are rejected by their peers. Help your child recognize his valuable individuality by expanding his horizons beyond school boundaries with other clubs, activities and events filled with more opportunities to meet peers with corresponding interests.
Lust Teen hormones are often in high gear which may result in sexting, selfies and sex. Parents may reinforce that social media images are lasting and the ramifications of intimate relationships.
Greed Most teens love tech and all the pricey devices that use it from communication to gaming. This is a great time for teaching about finances and the difference between needs and wants.
Wrath Bullying is a terrifying behavior and should never be tolerated. There are many resources in and out of school that parents and teens may use. Wrath is difficult for adults to control (think road rage) so a teen bully or bullied teen should not be expected to handle the situation alone.
Pride Self-esteem is a big teen issue and too much or too little is equally problematic. There are many social and academic events during the teen years that impact a teen’s self-image such as the prom, school awards, applying and getting into college. Parents may be the voice of reason, balance and objectivity to put things into perspective for their children caught in the all or nothing teen drama.
Check out Suzanne’s blog When Just Saying “NO” Is Not Enough for what to do next.
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