Parent & Teen Conference 2018: “Limited Opportunity”

Raising teenagers can be challenging. Parents get frustrated when their child’s behavior turns from sweet obedience to turbulent rebellion. Likewise, teenagers get frustrated with their parents. Barbara Greenberg of the HuffPost writes that teenagers get angry when parents make misinformed judgments about them[1].  Misunderstanding through miscommunication is common in parent-teen relationships.

Because Sekolah Pelita Harapan recognizes the importance of cultivating positive relationships between parents and their teenagers, we hold an annual Parent & Teen Conference. This year’s conference, held on Saturday, March 10, 2018, was titled “Limited Opportunity”.  The time parents have together with their children is limited. There comes a time when children no longer live with their parents, nor do they feel obligated to obey their parents or heed their advice. It is crucial to cultivate basic life values and to create a strong bond with our children as early as possible.

(Left to right: Johanis Putratama Kamuri, Charlotte Priatna, and Rizal Badudu)

The four main conference speakers were Sutjipto Subeno, Johanis Putratama Kamuri, Charlotte Priatna and Rizal Badudu. Participants divided into a parents and teens group in the morning, and later parents split into two groups of fathers and mothers. Charlotte Priatna, who spoke to the mothers, highlighted on how to win children’s heart and build an intimate relationship with them.

“I told the mothers that they need to keep their personal integrity and piety before her husbands and children. Because children will not trust their mothers without integrity. Action speaks louder than words. Secondly, mothers should have a gentle spirit and calm heart in facing every kind of situation that occurs in family life. Thirdly and lastly, mothers should only depend on God because the most important thing is that God wins children’s heart at the first place,” she said.

She also added on how technology has changed the lives of many families.

“Communication technology has a tremendous impact on our relationships in the family. It is lessening the quality time and diminishing relationship. We end up seeing many shallow relationships. Parents must prioritize their relationship with their children and maintain a healthy communication that is not thwarted by communication technology,” she added.

The role of fathers is even more important in family and this is emphasized by Rizal Badudu. He spoke about how fathers could bring God’s presence at home.

“Normally, fathers are usually more ‘attracted’ to career life outside the home. But biblically, God commands fathers to teach God’s word repeatedly to their children. Fathers are God’s representative and they are responsible to bring God’s presence at home. With today’s growing challenges, our children need parents – especially fathers – who are more engaged and involved than ever. Our teenagers need strong father-figure and godly fathers,” he stated.

There were several talk shows and workshops which kept people engaged. And at the end of the conference, parents and their teens exchanged letters and had the opportunity to reconcile. There were beautiful moments as parents and teens spoke heart-to-heart. Many parents felt so blessed by this conference.

We thank God for giving us this opportunity and we hope the impact of the conference will last.

Our prayer is that SPH continues to contribute to the building of healthy, Christ-centered families.

[1] 20 Reasons Why Your Teens Get Mad at You