Ten Truths for Parents about Raising Teens (Part 2)
Rejoice, young man during your childhood…
Remove vexation [rebellion] from your heart and put away pain from your body…
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth…
Ecclesiastes 11:9a, 10; 12:1
6. Discipline with consistency. Being consistent is our hardest job as a parent—because sometimes we’re just too tired to respond. Looking the other way, however, doesn’t help our kids. Contrary to the thought of the day: your job is NOT to be your child’s best friend. Your job is to be their parent. Discipline when necessary and make it stick. If you do, they may not always “like” you now, but the day will come when they will “love” you for loving them enough to confront and correct.
7. Talk to your teens about tough stuff. I asked a class of men this question: How many of you had dads who talked to you about sex? Two out of forty raised their hands. That’s tragic! Don’t get upset about sex education at school if you’re not educating at home! Dads, talk to your sons about how to treat girls. Moms, talk to your daughters about how she should expect to be treated. And talk about other life-stuff: how to handle money, stress, controlling anger, and how to make good decisions. Each of these can be life-equipping conversations. Pick your moments and give them truths upon which to build their life.
8. Keep a sense of humor. –An absolute must! Seeing the delightful side of life will counter-balance the difficult. Laugh with your kids (Prov.15:13a; 17:22).
9. Don’t let technology to rule. Teens and technology go together and while there are positive sides, there are some negatives. Have “tech-free zones” in your house. The family meal is one. Turn off everything that plugs in and turn on to each other. Talk. Do things that require interaction. Limit computer and phone use. Know your kids passwords and check their Facebook friends (and the photos of their friends). As long as your young people eat and sleep in your house—it’s your house (all of it).
10. Teach them how to treat you. People treat us as we allow them to treat us. As a parent, you deserve respect. This father-mother responsibility of training must begin very early in life.
Raising kids is like flying a kite—let out too much string too soon and it will crash to the ground. Hold it too tight and the kite never flies on its own. Our job is to give them roots and wings—roots that secure their faith and wings that enable them to soar.