Life as the parent of a teenager is a bit of whirl wind. Between school, sports and their social calendar, you may find yourself spinning or coughing on their dust as they buzz by you on a daily basis. All the more reason to make sure that your parenting is quick and to the point. Here are 5 quick parenting tips to make sure that you stay engaged in parenting and guiding your teens. Your job’s not done yet!
1. Understand that rebellion is normal. If you read through the book of Exodus, you will see that the Israelites rebelled on several occasions during their 40 year trek through the desert. Rebellion in adolescence comes in all shapes and sizes. As Christian parents, we need to get comfortable with the fact that we may not be able to prevent rebellion – no matter how hard we try. We need not despair, however, because there is One greater than us who can use all things for our teen’s good.
2. Give the right kind of consequences. When God gave consequences, His purpose was not to punish, but to turn the Israelites away from their path of destruction. In adolescence, curfews may need to be shortened or cell phones may need to be removed, but we need to communicate our motivation for doing so. It is not to “get back” at our teens but to lovingly lead them to a “path of righteousness.”
3. Encourage repentance. God repeatedly told His children to turn back to Him. And He always gave them a way out of their sin. As parents, we need to communicate the same truth to our teens. The silent treatment or a cold shoulder will do nothing to encourage repentance. Make sure that you really understand the fact that extending open and forgiving arms to your teen is not the same as condoning wrong behavior. In the teenage years, our kids need to know more than ever that we are their safety net.
4. Extend forgiveness. There is no sin too big that Jesus’ blood can’t cover. There is no distance too great that His arms can’t span. God was always willing to forgive – no strings attached. But complete forgiveness does not mean that all consequences are erased. Check out the story of the bronze snake in Numbers 21. Sometimes the consequence remains – but in the process we learn a valuable lesson on how to look to God for help. After repentance, our teens still need to be held accountable for what they did wrong.
5. Give yourself a break. Okay, this isn’t a directly Biblically based concept but it does speak to the fact that as believers there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. As imperfect people parenting imperfect teens, we always run the risk of saying yes to things we should have said no to and no to things we should have said yes to. It’s okay. You are not perfect. Give yourself permission to make a bad call. Use it as a opportunity to talk and connect to your teen and apologize if necessary.
And finally, don’t forget to pray -every day- for wisdom and discernment for you and your teen. You’re both going to need it.Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay