Raising a Teenager

The teen years can be turbulent times for many families.  Phrases like ‘Go away – Leave me alone – I don’t care what you say – Why do you ask so many questions’ etc. are just a few of the phrases that you may hear from the mouths of your teens.  The teen years lead to big communication struggles between parents and children (and it is not easy). As they are trying to become independent young adults, they are testing the waters and learning to swim.

Our job as parents is to raise and teach children to become independent, loving adults who will follow God’s path for them.  Of course, we need to set limits, boundaries, and rules, but we also need to build a strong relationship with our kids, especially during the teen years.  As our children evolve into teenagers, they want the freedom to be independent.  So many of their words are their way of claiming that freedom. When these words come out of their mouth, you probably turn into a monster and begin to retaliate by yelling back.  Shouting angrily only escalates the situation, rather than making it a teaching moment.  When experts say that we should choose our battles, they are right. We need to realize that our children are looking for their independence and sometimes they don’t want us hovering over them or telling them what to do. Choosing our battles, will help us win the War ‘on love’.

Every child is different; every child has their unique personality.  Some are pleasers, risk-takers, spirited, quiet, artistic, timid, powerful, and many other personality traits.  Our job as parents is to get to know our children and learn how to teach them based on their uniqueness. How do you do that?  First and foremost, ask God to show you the way.  During these crazy teen years, we need God more than ever.  Look to him for help; he will always guide you through it.

I like to implement the 10 second rule. My daughter would say “Shut My Door”, when I peeked in her room to say good morning. But rather than getting angry, I would give myself 10 seconds and then smile. It worked because I rarely find myself yelling. Now after months (wait!… years) of the “teen monster’ attitude, my daughter actually says “good morning” back to me. I’ve learned to enjoy every moment of these teen years, because our children are growing into young adults. They are learning to soar! Every morning, we should ask God to show us the way and he will be our guide.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

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