Preventing the Yo-Yo Effect

Have you ever watched a person proficient with a yo-yo? The plastic disc travels quickly in a series of multiple directions all the while hanging by a thread. This image, at times, can remind me of an adolescent. One little push can quickly set their thoughts in a multitude of directions, while at the same time it can appear that their emotions are hanging by a thread. I often refer to this as “the yo-you effect”. Sound familiar? Take heart; there are proactive steps parents can take in preventing this reaction.

Diagnose the Source

Although a child can experience unique thoughts and emotions during adolescence, it can be beneficial to assist your young person in determining the initial source of reactive responses. Is the information based on fact or mere speculation?

Train your adolescent to recognize that if the source reflects Christ’s character and His Word, the result will be peace and rest rather than anxiety and turmoil.

Divide out Truth from Speculative Thought

The enemy’s greatest weapon is deceit. If he can successfully tempt your child to believe in lies, he or she can become mentally and emotionally distracted from believing and trusting in truth. Help your young person to recognize the schemes of the enemy. Train them to divide out those thoughts that reflect known truth from those that do not.

Walk Confidently in Truth

Show your child that investing in speculative thought can lead to disappointment, anxiety, fear, and doubt. Instead, God teaches us to invest in truth because His promises never fail.

The Bible provides us with an example of “the yo-yo effect”. In Genesis, Chapter 37, we read about a loving relationship between Joseph and his father, Jacob. Joseph was his father’s favorite son and, as a result, was hated by his brothers. After plotting to kill Joseph, his brothers sold him into slavery and then fabricated a story to tell their father.

According to Genesis 37:31-32, they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.”

As a result of ill motive, Jacob’s sons asked him to examine the robe to determine whether or not it was Joseph’s. Because Jacob walked with the Lord, he could have asked Him for wisdom during the examination of the robe. But he did not. Verse 33 tells us that Jacob recognized the robe and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.” Note, no one said Joseph was dead or made mention of any animal.

One speculative thought in Jacob’s mind began to blossom into a trail of deeper personal deception. Verses 34 and 35 record that Jacob mourned for his son and, sadly, refused to be comforted.

Investing in deceptive thinking can lead to headache and heartache. Training your adolescent to be aware of the enemy’s schemes can prepare them to avoid being mentally distracted or emotionally derailed from fulfilling their purpose in Christ Jesus.