Saturday, July 30, 2016

7 Ways to Parent Your Teen


Our teens a facing a different world from the one their parents lived. Teen suicide, cyberbullying, easy access internet porn, a violent culture which has their peers going on shooting sprees, and addictive video games. Add to that depressive disorders (11% of teens affected), and drug and alcohol use. 

When Emily was a preteen we vacationed in Colorado. She grew up on Whit's End Corner, and was excited to see what she had spent hours listening to. During our tour at Focus on the Family, a man asked if he could interview her for an upcoming article. One of the questions was, "When was the last time you had alcohol?" When Emily said she had never had any, he grinned and said, "Forget that your parents are sitting here, and answer the question." He could not believe a child her age had never tried alcohol. She did get a great "behind the scenes" tour of the Odyssey broadcast rooms, but I'm not sure he ever believed her.

Even with all that faces our teens, it is possible to let them live in the world, with a heart for God. Here's 7 ways to help your kids through the minefield we call the teen years.



1. Monitor Friendships: We wanted our daughters to be friendly with all, yet their soul friends should love God, too. We encouraged friendships with parents who had our values. That way we didn't need to worry when they were together. Encourage your children to pray for good friends. Emily's best friend prayed that God would send her a friend. From the first time they met, a friendship was born that continues to this day. I never had to worry when they were together. 

2. Saturate them with God's Word: When they have questions, find the answers in the Word of God. The girls were learning verses when they were barely talking. They may not have understood the depth of the content, but there it was, hidden in their hearts, ready to be used when temptations were whispered by the enemy.  



3. Keep them talking: One of my mentors told me the most important thing I could do is get the girls used to telling me -- when they were little -- all about their day, what they were thinking, and their hopes for the future. Then, when they are teenagers, it's automatic. When Melanie was a teenager, she was with a youth group and was being urged to do something wrong. "Come on, your mom will never know." Her response? "Yes, she would, because I would tell her." 

4. Expect much: Too often we set our kids up for failure. Don't nag your kids about their homework. Expect them to do it. I never asked the girls if they needed homework slips signed. They brought them to me. They packed their own backpacks and gym bags. Chores were accomplished on their own. Although my girls tell me (now) that when the tablecloth was dirty, they often turned it over. That makes me laugh. I can't believe I never noticed. 

5. Model the joy of service: Whatever we were doing, our children were involved. They took part in our ministries, learning to encourage others. Instead of taking part in bullying, they will find ways to encourage fellow students, even in spite of social standing or the cliques they are or are not a part of.

6. Be the parent: You often have to do the hard thing and set boundaries, say no, and punish misbehavior. Know where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with. Our girls didn't "cruise the downtown square," or roam the mall without supervision. Everybody may be doing it, but we're not.  
7. Encourage each other's teens: Do you know of a teen who is struggling? Reach out with a note, small gift, a gift card to Starbucks or iTunes. Praise their talents, attend their games, recitals, and school dramas. I was so blessed with my girls to have others who encouraged them. Mom can brag on them, but "you say that because you're my mom." However, when someone else brags on them, the words seem to hold more validity. Pray consistently consistently for them, too. I always knew Eleanor was praying for Emily as much as I prayed for her girls. 



I wasn't the perfect mother. I've yet to see a mother who is. Yet God honors our efforts. And when the enemy pulls our children the wrong way, intercede in prayer, and fill them up with love. It's natural to want to show a constant disapproval, but model God's love for us, "In that when were were still sinners, Christ died for us." 

Make 2016-2017 a good school year for your teens. And if your children are grown, pick one to encourage. You'll be surprised what a blessing these teens will be to you.





26 comments:

J said...

This is perfect, beautiful advice! Everyone should read and reflect on each of these points! I see you were wise enough to parent in a way that resulted in your daughter's "she'll know because I would tell her" comment!
I tried to observe these rules as well, with varying degrees of success. I would slightly modify #1 however. I knew and encouraged good friends. However, we did not turn away an occasional child who needed the warmth of our happy home. Two of these, one male and one female, still today (at age 36) mention how high school time spent being fed and encouraged on homework with us was the respite from a neglectful home that they needed to stay out of trouble. "Your mom was the mom I didn't have at home," they tell my daughters. And that is one of the best compliments I have ever received!

Shoregirl said...

Excellent advice!! As the mother of young teen I look back and am grateful I started many things from Day #1 -- it makes it so much easier now!! (Like being a friend and talking about everything!) We have our ups and downs, arguments, and moments of clashing, but it makes my heart swell when my daughter tells people I'm her best friend - I feel the same about her!

Middle-aged Diva (Carol) said...

I have to admit that I'm glad that I am not parenting a teen in this world of ours. my hat is off to parents who really focus on these rules.

Mom Knows Best said...

The praying part is very important. My teen is a good kid but I know the dangers of temptation.

Coffee, Cake, Kids Blog said...

My little boys are a long way from being teens. Some good advice here to bear in mind.

Michelle Gwynn Jones said...

I think that it is very important to encourage the children around you even if they aren't yours. And you are so right, it seems to mean more when the words aren't coming from your own parent.

Melanie Smith said...

These tips are awesome! I will keep this in my mind for the future.

Ashley @Irishred02 said...

I'm not there yet with my kids but this will be helpful. Thanks for sharing your tips!

Amy Jones said...

The "saturating" part looks a bit odd since that's not generally a positive word but these are great advices nonetheless!

Karlyn Bishop said...

This is a great read. I believe that good parenting can lead into a bright future.

ana de jesus said...

Noone is perfect but as you said you don't have to be to be a good mother. Parenting is practice.

Mai C. said...

That's the best way to put it. It's all about keeping a close relationship with them as they grow up. I'm definitely keeping this as a reference, thank you so much. My girls are 5 and although I have a long way to go, it's good to have something like this!

Liz Mays said...

A lot of people make that mistake of trying to be their friends, rather than their parents. That doesn't do them any favors.

Christine Tatum said...

Great advice! I especially love the expect them to do it part! I knew what was expected of me, and I didn't have to be told to do it. You shouldn't have to be told over and over. That leads to an adult having to be micro managed at work because they don't do what is expected of them! Thanks for the post!

Becca Wilson said...

Monitoring the kids friendships is definitely number on! You never know who your kids are associating with and until you do you want be able to help them know what choices to make and be able to talk openly about what may be going on in their lives.

Cheap Is The *New* Classy said...

I tried to raise my daughter right and be the parent that I thought I needed to be. I really hope that it takes. Right now she is having a tough time, but I am hoping that soon she will see what I was trying to do and come back to me and say,"You were right, Mom."

Jess Holmes said...

Thankfully I don't have to think about this for a long while but I'm sure its very useful to those with teens!

Azlin Bloor said...

Great post, the world is ever changing and and throwing up some tough curveballs for our kids. I'm not too impressed with the chap who didn't believe your daughter though! My oldest is 15 and has never touched alcohol or smoked, and long may that continue!

mail4rosey said...

'Everyone' may be doing it but we're not. Oh how my daughter hates those words right now. She'll appreciate them though, when she's older and sees why. :)

ConciergeLibrarian said...

I agree with you that teens face all kinds of challenges these days. We have to make sure that our homes are safe havens where they learn the things that will help them out there in the big bad world

Spark of Southern Moms said...

Teens and well, children in general, have a lot more difficulties to face than what we did as kids. Times changes and times are or seem to be getting harder. You have to do the best you can to raise them with morals, good work ethics and just to be a good person all the way around.

Spark of Southern Moms said...

Teens and well, children in general, have a lot more difficulties to face than what we did as kids. Times changes and times are or seem to be getting harder. You have to do the best you can to raise them with morals, good work ethics and just to be a good person all the way around.

Kathy Kenny Ngo said...

I agree with your tips. I have a son, and I always make sure that we have time for each other. Communication is a great tool to know how is it going for your kid.

Ayesha Heart said...

Perfect! Moms are God's blessings. I super agree with your powerful tips! Kids nowadays need more of our advice, guidance and the like. Thanks for sharing this. Moms with teens will appreciate this very much.

Ckrusch said...

These tips are great! I will keep this in my mind, because in a year or two, I will be needing it!

berlin domingo said...

Being a parent to a teen can be real hard. I have two teens now and sometimes, i would wanti to shout and cry out of disappointment. Nontheless, i am happy the husband is helping me with disciplining the boys.

 
>