Teenagers! It’s a word I have often heard spoken with dread and emphasis, like it is a
time to be feared. When my first children were still very young and cute, I was told things like, “Just wait until they are teenagers!” or “They step on your toes now; but just wait until they are teenagers, they’ll step on your heart!”
Amid all this promotion of fear, I have a wise Aunt Lois who told me, “It doesn’t have to
be that way. When our children were teenagers, (she had 6 children) that was the best years of our life!” She encouraged me to have a mindset different than what the world would put into us as young parents; to cultivate a Godly mindset towards my children and their growing up years. Did she experience perfect teenagers? NO! No one does-especially when you raise six of them, but she had a Godly mindset, and it made all the difference in their family.
The Bible is full of scriptures on raising children, far too many to address here, but let’s
look at probably the most quoted verse. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This is a wonderful promise, but it takes work on the part of a parent to see the fruit of the promise. Having a great teenager starts when a baby is born. It takes years to train up a child. If you are late to the game, know that NOTHING is impossible with God and His grace is sufficient to the task. Ask Him for wisdom and grace and be willing to do what He shows you.
It is important to remember that children often live up to our expectations of them.
Starting young with their training is ideal, but if you have reached the teen years and find some training is lacking, don’t despair! Even the most diligent parent has gaps and flaws in their parenting. It is important during this time that the parents present a united front to the children. If you disagree with each other, do it behind closed doors, come to an agreement, and stand united before your teenager. Sometimes being right isn’t the most important thing. It’s possible to be completely “right” and end up with the “wrong” result. Remember, a house divided against itself, cannot stand. (Mark 3:25)
As our children move into the teen years it is important to work hard to keep the lines of
communication open. Be that one that your teen can come and talk to without fear of a knee-jerk reaction. Earn their confidence, that you are there for their best interest. As they move into their teen years, this might mean some late-night talks!! Teens like to stay up at night and some of the deepest conversations with them will happen long after you wish the lights had been turned off.
When our children are very young, they basically have no say in family matters. As they
grow, their opinions are allowed to be heard more often. The teenage years is a time for
increasingly allowing them to make choices and figure out the consequences of those choices but go easy on the rules. I was once asked what time we had set as a curfew for our children. I know it was an innocent question of another parent trying to navigate this issue, but we never set a curfew. If you set a rule, be prepared to back it up! If our kids had a reason to be out after midnight (maybe they were at a youth function at church), then fine-as long as we knew when they were to be expected home. On the other hand, we felt there is no reason for our teens to be out cruising around just because they were waiting for the clock to reach “curfew” and they had to be home. Go easy on the rules and instead try to build your life on principles to live by that make “rules” unnecessary. Make your home a place where your kids enjoy being-not a
place to escape. A place where their friends love to come and hang out. It goes a long way to having that great relationship with your young people and gives you the opportunity to influence other youth in the ways of the Lord as well.
Finally, seek God’s guidance. No matter how diligent you are, how young you start, or
how positive your mindset, there will be times when you simply do not know which choice to make or what direction to turn when dealing with issues. It is at these most trying times that God shows us the way. Ask Him for wisdom and knowledge, Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowled
ge and understanding.” James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally.” I have found that once I pray and ask God for help with a situation, He often opens a door I didn’t know was there to knock on, he shows me a direction I hadn’t considered, or he sends someone my way that has the answers I needed. When you reach the “other side” of those teen years, prayerfully you
will be able to look back and see the struggles fade to good times, positive memories, and a young adult who loves God with all their heart.
All children are our future so, we cannot wait until they are in their 20's to recognize that they exist. Making them part of your life, your home, and your plans will give them the wind in their sails to navigate the difficult waters they will all certainly face. Be a safe harbor for them to turn into in times of need.
God Bless You!
This article was submitted by a loving and caring mother who has a desire to see our children succeed. Please take a moment to pray for our Young Worshippers today!