Ah, the joy. I don’t know which was worse for my parents: parenting me when I was little or parenting me when I was a teenager. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to be a parent, but I hope I apply some of these truths now.
Session 3 – Teenagers
Who are teenagers are: insecure, vulnerable, unstable, apprehensive, tend to resist authority.
Common mistakes parents of teens make: spy, disengage, authoritarian vs influence, reckless words, majoring on minors. Do I want to be a person of influence in my teenagers life or do I want to be just seen as an authority figure. There is a difference. Reckless words wound like a sword… Words can be so destructive. The tongue of the wise brings healing.
Goals of teenagers: internalize the gospel, You are parents want your teenagers to embrace God’s truth as their own living faith. They are actually believing, living, acting on the beliefs of the gospel. Even if you walked away from the faith, they would continue to live on the Word of God. Use Scriptures in the life of your teenagers. God’s Word is invaluable, sufficient, God-breathed. The Spirit of God works through the Word of God in the teenager’s heart. Bring objective truth of the Scripture to your parenting of teenagers. God wrote those words. If your kids have a problem with it – they have a problem with God, not with you. You want to shepherd and nurturing your teens interaction with the truth of the Word of God. There is wisdom and vitality in the words of God.
Who is wise among you? James 3. Let them see it by your actions.
There will be periods of doubt in your teenagers. They will doubt. They will wrestle with issues of the faith. Do I believe this because I believe it or that I’ve always been taught this by my parents? They need to internalize their faith. They need to make the transference. You do not need to be surprised by this doubt, but work with your child through this, pray with your teenagers through this. Engage with them, interact with them, study, pursue them,
Ultimately, you want to develop relationships that leads to mutuality of adults under God. There is a difference how you will relate to your teenager once he is an adult. Proverbs 1:
1. The Fear of God. Show the greatness and excellence of God. Proverbs 1.7. He is more than our friend. He is God. We emphasize the familiarity of God and deemphasize his God-ness.
2. Do not forsake your parents teaching. Remind them that no one loves them as you do. Proverbs 1:8-9, Deut 6:4-9. Corrective disciplines are ways of life. Don’t see teenage rebellion is inevitable. Plead with your kids to not walk away. It is far too frequent, but not inevitable. The importance of maintaining this relationship is crucial. Parents and adults should not irrelevant in your youth ministry, churches, or your teenager’s relationships. Give your kids permission to tell you when you have hurt them. Be open with them. BE mindful of the gospel with them.
3. Disassociation from the wicked. The attraction of association with the wicked is camaraderie with a sense of belonging. Make home a great place to belong. Proverbs 1:10-19. Unless you are living in a cocoon some place, this will happen. There will be influences who are pulling on your kids heart – to lure them away from the gospel of God. Sin is so pretty. We need to help our children know how to pull away from those situations. Why would our kids be drawn to sin? US. Us is a key point of Prov 1. (I think of a recent Criminal Minds episode here). Attraction of belonging. We are dealing with desperate, sensitive, unstable teenagers. Any place they belong will be great. Make sure they belong and are welcome at home. You must engage them. They are looking to belong. Welcome their friends. Talk with their friends. Open your home. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to engage teenagers. They crave belonging. It matters more than your carpet and your china. They will spill cokes and they will break your dishes. Which is more important? Your child’s heart or your dinnerware? It’s just stuff!