The teen years are an amazing adventure that can be filled with joyful exuberance one minute and angst the next.
So much is going on in the heart, mind, and life of a teen.
While there can be challenging moments, parenting teens is awesome! We can enjoy a deep friendship with our beloved sons and daughters while we pass the baton of faith to the next generation.
Let’s explore the teen years so we can understand and enjoy our teenagers.
A Time of Fluctuating Emotions
One minute John is happy; the next he is yelling at his mom. “You think I’m a failure! I’m sick of being treated like I don’t belong!”
Mom is baffled. She continues to lavish all her children, including John, with love. She secretly wonders if John has gone psycho.
No. He is just emotional, the result of hormones that are raging in his body. Eventually, the levels will level off and he will once again be the John she knows and loves.
In the meantime, John feels everything intensely, even if he doesn’t share it. Sometimes, he wakes up filled with anger (testosterone!) and doesn’t know why he is angry.
Parents and siblings need to give teens extra love and compassion during these rocky emotional times.
A Time of Transition
Sadie wants to plan her own classes for the coming year and they will all be music electives. She has decided she doesn’t need math or science or history. When Mom vetoes her plan, she is furious.
“How dare you!” her glare implies though she is careful to stay silent.
The teenage years are a time of transition between childhood and adulthood. Sometimes, teens want the freedom of an adult with the responsibilities of a child.
But, that isn’t the way real life works. We gain freedom as we demonstrate the responsibility to be trusted.
The opposite of freedom with no responsibility is the best way to go! Increase responsibilities and when the teen demonstrates faithfulness in these new responsibilities, you can give more freedom.
“Can you make a list of books you would like to read in literature this year?” Mom asks Sadie, giving her some responsibility. As she is faithful in little things, she will gain more freedom.
Set Apart for God's Service
“I saw some homeless people by the freeway every day this week. Can we help them, Dad?”
Dad double-gulps! Before he can say no, the Holy Spirit prompts him to sit down and make a plan with his son. With them working together, Dad can keep it practical and the whole family can share the love of Jesus.
What a wonderful gift these years are as an opportunity to grow in the Lord and serve Him with all of their passionate hearts. Teens are full of energy and enthusiasm (when they are not tired and gloomy), so give them a cause to fight for—the Kingdom of God.
Teens can accomplish mighty exploits for God! The single years (including the teen years) are a special gift for living a life of undivided devotion to the Lord.
Lead your teen on adventures to extend Christ’s rule and reign, His love and mercy. Serve the poor and needy. Reach out to the lost. Build up the Body of Christ. Go on a mission trip. Share the Gospel. Share his or her testimony. Mentor a younger Christian.
Friendship with Other Teens on Fire for God
“The guys I work with are having a party. Can I go?” Megan asks her Dad.
“Will there be alcohol there?” Dad asks.
“What does it matter? I won’t drink,” Megan declares.
“Honey, those are not the kind of people I want you hanging out with,” Daddy admits ruefully.
When she starts to protest, Dad pulls out his Bible and read II Timothy 2: 20-26. “I want you to be a crystal vase not a trashcan,” he says when he finishes reading the passage. They discuss the kind of friends that God wants for Megan.
You see, Paul told Timothy to flee the evil desires of youth and to pursue the things of God.
However, Paul also commanded Timothy to pursue the things of God with others who were calling on God out of a pure heart.
Teens need to run after God with a passion! They need to run alongside other passionate Christians!
Some of these passionate Christians will be you and your other family members.
Some will be teens who love Jesus too!
Don't take your teen to a youth group where the other children are not on fire for the Lord. I have seen teenagers destroyed under these conditions. Search for other teens in your church, homeschool support group, or other places where Christians congregate. Your teens don't need TONS of friends, just a few. A few good teens on fire for God, is better than a group filled with mediocre Christians.
Teens Need Their Family
More than any time in their lives, teens need the love and stability of a family.
Friendship with Mom and Dad is so important. Don’t let their "squirrely-ness" keep you from spending lots of time with these wonderful young men and women. Now is the time to enjoy what you have sown into their lives. And if there are relational problems, it is not too late to rebuild.
Rules without relationship breeds rebellion, so take time to invest in your relationship with your teen. That way your young adult knows that you are for him/her and want only what is best. He/she can trust you to protect and guide them because you want them to have a joyful, successful life.
Go out to lunch together, go on walks, play sports together, work on home projects together, and laugh together. Let your home be a place where your teens feels loved and appreciated.
Home is also the best place for a teen to be educated! In the family, there is the security of love and acceptance.
We offer Bible studies, discipleship materials, and life skills classes to help teens grow in the Lord and enjoy joyful and successful lives in the future. Check out Real Men and God's Girls. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you set time aside to mentor your teen and lavish him/her with love.
Teen are testing their wings! Make sure that you are there to cheer them on and send them soaring.