7 Tips for Parenting Teenagers
Mothers of young children are encouraged by older women to delight in their children--to recognize just how fast time passes and embrace the each season.
They reminisce and say, “Enjoy them while they are little because this is the easy part, just wait until they are older, that’s when parenting gets hard.”
Statements like these always felt defeating for me as a mom. I was in the midst of what I felt was going to be the most physically exhausting season of my life, and I couldn’t dare imagine it getting more tiring! I would think, “If it gets harder than this, I won’t make it!”
I mean here I was growing babies in my body, nursing babies from my body, carrying little people around on my body, up all hours of the day and night for years and years--literally. How could this possibly get harder?
Don’t get me wrong; I love being a mom and I love my kids, but I was tired!
Now that I am parenting teenagers, alongside babies, I get to experience both ends of the spectrum at the same time! And yes, I am exhausted, but it’s not as everyone warned me.
Yes, there are late nights were we are talking about serious life-changing decisions, and yes, these conversations can tend to get intense at times, BUT I am excited for them! It’s not really hard. It seems natural!
Four Things You Can Do that will Revolutionize Parenting Teenagers
- Teach them to be introspective, honest, and transparent with themselves first, then God, and then us, the parents.
- Help them to understand and take responsibility for their faith and their relationship with God.
- Proactively train your heart, as the mom, to let them grow up.
- Personally pursue God and grow your identity in Him alone, not in what you do, or what relationships you have.
I have witnessed moms struggle to let go of their children, and this inner battle within the relationship is what I believe makes parenting teens undesirable by so many.
I have also witnessed teens rebel regardless of their parent's good intentions and faithfulness to God. Each case has its reasons, but there are three things I feel compelled to warn you against doing as a mom that could lead to your child rebelling.
Three Things We Need to Be Careful Not to Do As Mom
- Don’t let your identity be wrapped up in your mothering
- Don’t make an idol out of family
- Don’t be over-controlling
Make sure your identity is in Christ alone
I have witnessed many fantastic moms, who just love being a mom, wind up struggling to let their child grow up because they have unknowingly and unintentionally allowed their identity to become all about who they are as a mom. Once their children are ready or should be ready to move out, whether to go to college, get married, or get a job, these moms find themselves struggling.
They are the moms that might be accused of being all up in their kid’s business all the time. They might even struggle with depression because they don’t know what to do with themselves anymore. They had identified themselves as MOM and forgot that they were a daughter of the King and that He has created them for good works in all seasons of their lives, both as parents and as a Titus 2 Woman of God!
We need to be careful not to make family an idol
God loves the family and being a wife and mother are our high callings as women! BUT it is my opinion that it is not healthy or natural for us to be so focused on our families that we don’t have other relationships, roles, or callings that we are fulfilling outside of these primary ones. Now, I am not saying that we should pile more responsibilities on our plates, I believe the opposite. What I am saying is, we need to find a harmony between all our callings and relationships and that when we do, they should make the others thrive!
How else do our children have friendships modeled if they never see us with our friends? How else do they learn how to manage and minister within work with family if we compartmentalize life to the point where the two are not ever intersecting?
Choose to Trust God with Your Kids
Many could take trusting God out of context to justify lifestyle choices, or even accuse others of NOT trusting God based upon their's. Listen, I am not pushing one agenda over another. I believe God is most concerned with our hearts. And regardless of what parenting decisions we make we can all sin in our hearts regarding trusting God. He desires us to know Him, love Him, and obey Him. I believe that when we are too controlling, our children sense it, and it adds a pressure on their hearts and minds to perform for our approval.
The point I want to highlight is that we need to recognize that our children are not OURS, they are God’s. He has chosen us to partner with Him in training, nurturing, and loving them. We just get the added benefit of experiencing part of our hearts beating outside our bodies. We get to experience and relate to part of God’s heart as we parent! As our Abba Father, He deeply loves us and is worthy of our trust.
Let's Pray for One Another
Lord, I pray for my sisters who are reading this message. If any of us are struggling with being controlling, or creating roadblocks, which are preventing our children or us from obeying You, would you humble our hearts and help us to surrender to You Lord Jesus? Our heart's desire is that our children know You, love You, and want to serve You. Help us to let them live their lives. Lord, I pray for my sister who has allowed herself to make an idol out of family, or who has allowed her identity to become wrapped up in her relationship with her child instead of You. Would you gently guide her to a whole and healing place of viewing herself the way You do, as a daughter of the King, who is beloved, unique, and whom there are great adventures to come in her journey with You. For us moms who have young ones at home, Oh Holy Spirit guide us and give us an extra measure of patience. Help us to be gentle in our parenting. Might our words reflect a deep love and care for our child’s heart and soul. And might we surrender our children back to you daily? Amen.
Your Sister in the Journey,
Angie Tolpin, The Courageous Mom
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