We are teaching and training our children to leave and it’s not easy. Most teenagers believe they know all there is to know – and what they don’t know isn’t worth knowing. This is intensified by the fact that hormones and chemicals are charging through their brains and bodies, often rendering them incapable of reasoning as rational adults. And, it’s only natural that the older children get, the less your voice has an influence. That is why it is so important to partner with the church and have your teen plugged into age-appropriate ministries that will give them the opportunity to hear from people who will point them back to Christ and teach them the values that will equip them to succeed in life.
Here Are Three Things You Can Do To Prepare Them:
Let God Guide Your Life
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Children learn by what they observe from us much more than what we say to them, so being a good example is very important. Model the behavior that you are asking of them and show them what it looks like to follow Christ each day.
*Make church a priority; your children will follow your lead. They are more likely to make God a priority if He is a priority to you.
Give Your Teen What They Need – Even If They Don’t Want It
In Matthew 7:9-10, Jesus said, "You parents - if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!" As parents our role is to give our children what they need, whether they ask for it or not. Teenagers want what they want, when they want it – and often don’t realize that what they are asking for will hurt them. It is our job, as parents, to keep our children safe from themselves as they negotiate this challenging time of life.
*We have the most amazing youth movement, The Mix! Nothing comes close to equipping and empowering young people!
*You don’t give your child a choice on going to school. Do the same when it comes to The Mix and weekend worship experiences. Being surrounded by other like-minded students is healthy for their future!
Discipline is an Expression of Love
Many parents are tempted to try and be their child’s friend, but it’s one of the worst things we can do as a parent. Our role is to lead our children – and correct them, when needed. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) Our students need boundaries, so it’s important to lay down rules and enforce them. When children know that what they are doing is wrong, some sort of consequence should follow, but it should be appropriate for the "infraction." When we allow our kids to experience the consequences of their decisions, they grow. And when they grow, the are one step closer to being the leaders God created them to be.
*Clearly set the ground rules and consequences ahead of time.
You pay for the phone, the mortgage, and the car insurance. It is crucial that you set clear expectations for their friendships, dating ground rules, and curfews. Regarding the phone, nothing is off limits when securing your child's safety with their online choices, social media, phone texting, etc. It belongs to you, and you are responsible for helping protect the heart and mind of your youth. Several things are crucial to thriving as we raise our teenagers: commitment to God's way, reliance on His wisdom, partnering with the church, great friend choices, a sense of humor, plenty of snacks and prayer, prayer, prayer! As we model these things, we show our teens how to parent their children someday.