Happy Wednesday! I hope you’re having a good week. We’ve got chilly morning temps, but nice bright sunshine today!
January’s not typically my favorite month. I feel like it drags by some years, but not in 2022. I think it’s because our girls are still home from college on break. By the time they head down to Florida this weekend, there’ll only be a week left in the month. Time does fly, as they say!
I’m taking a break from our Bible study in Psalm 145 today for a quick post about parenting teenagers. I have less than a year left now as the mom of a teenager! Looking back, I can say it’s been the most challenging period of parenting so far, but also the most rewarding. Like other stages of parenting, I had some preconceived notions that didn’t prove to be true. And that’s not only on the bad side but also the good!
As I see other parents currently raising teenagers, I have much empathy. Once you’ve walked that road, especially with more than one child and her unique personality, you understand the struggles (and the joys :)) that come with the territory.
Here are five basic steps that I hope are helpful for all of us as we seek to parent teenagers well.
1. It starts with prayer.
Parenting children of any age can be challenging. But as we seek to train these almost-adults, we see more than ever our need for God’s wisdom and direction. So we claim the promise in James 1:5 and ask God to give us the wisdom we need.
God has given us the responsibility of training our children, but only He can change their hearts. We can pray that God will keep their hearts tender, open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
2. Be aware.
I’m reminded here of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. In verse 27, it says, “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” I read this as she knows what’s going on with her family members. She’s involved in their lives and making sure their needs – physical, emotional, spiritual – are being met.
Now your teens may or may not be super communicative about what’s happening with them! Offer to take them out to eat with their friends or invite their friends over to your house. At church or school activities, watch how they’re interacting with other kids and adults. Notice if they seem to be struggling or hurting in some way.
3. Act on what you observe.
If you see an area where your teen needs help, be willing to address it with them. And here’s where I would throw in that timing is everything. In the car on the way to school in the morning is probably not the best time to have a heavy conversation. You know your teen and can figure out a time when they’re more open to talking and listening. And don’t go into the conversation like a bulldozer! Be gentle but direct.
4. Make sure your motive for what you say and do is love for your teenager.
Whether directing or correcting your teen, make sure it doesn’t become about you or your reputation or what other people think. It should be about your teenager and their heart.
One of the many great things about my dad was that I never doubted that he was acting out of love for me. I knew that he only wanted what he truly believed was in my best interest. Even if I didn’t agree with him, I never doubted his motive.
5. Find a way to have fun with them.
It’s easier to have those hard conversations with our teens when we’re in the habit of taking time to just enjoy being with them. Figure out what they like to do and do it together. Shoot jump shots in the driveway, shop at their favorite store, go fishing, watch a movie, try rock climbing or some activity neither of you has done before. You’ll make some great memories and build trust in your relationship.
If you’ve guided your children through the teen years I’d love to hear any advice you have for other parents. I’m certainly excited about this next stage of parenting young adults – I’m sure I have a lot to learn!
- 10 Tips for Communicating with Teenagers
- 4 Bible Verses to Hold on to as We Parent Teenagers
- 8 Truths to Teach Our Teenagers from Proverbs 13