My third child of five teeters on the edge of turning the BIG 1-3. Thirteen.
Actually, her birthday is still months away. But to hear her talk about the plans, the party, and the anticipated hoopla, one would think it is next week.
With two sisters ahead of her, this Mama is no longer phased by the endless chatter of plans surrounding this very important-to-her date.
I’ve learned hearing her out is the bigger deal. The theme of her birthday party will change a dozen times before February.
On this mothering of teens road, I am also learning so much more. Each child brings their own uniqueness to the journey. Even though we may want a guaranteed road map of success, there really is no such thing (bummer, right?).
If I could offer ONE piece of encouragement about the parent-child relationship in these years, it would be this:
Give more tools instead of rules.
In the younger years, it’s fairly important to help children learn to listen and follow instructions -- to obey. There are plenty of godly ways to accomplish this, so please don’t stress about which parenting method to follow!
Pray and ask for God’s wisdom to guide you.
As our children age and bump into their tweens and teens, I think it’s important for them to not simply understand what to do in a situation, but how to figure out what to do.
We can take following directions another step further and teach them an important tool for life -- discernment. A big word for the powerfully small concept of understanding what to do in a given situation.
As parents, we cannot teach our children a ‘rule’ for everything, it’s impossible. We have no clue what all their future will hold, true?
As Mamas steeped in the word of God, we can share with our children tools for how to approach the future -- and their future decisions. We can teach them the important tool of discernment.
Honestly, this teaching is not always the easiest and thankfully, Scripture provides us with plenty of direction.
Start with Proverbs
One idea is to begin reading the book of Proverbs with your tweens and teens. Read one per day (though that is a fast pace) or choose certain portions to focus on regularly.
Proverbs is chock-full of great tools on how to think about friendships, work, relationships with parents and mentors, facing tough times, how to view themselves, making big decisions, and MUCH more! All things our teens have on their minds or will face in their near future.
Most definitely, my children will process many more important decisions than birthday party themes and who to invite. So will yours.
As they mature and age, let’s continue to point them to the word of God and teach our tweens and teens how to seek direction from this place and through prayer.
Let’s teach them discernment.