There is a window of time when children are little and are dependent upon their parents, believe everything they say and want to please them. This season of innocence and trust passes so quickly This is the time to prepare their hearts to be ready for the years when they will naturally, designed by God, begin to seek independence of thought and convictions.
All teens, in order to grow into adulthood strong and ready to face life, must test what they have been taught and own what they really believe. It is the passage between childhood and adulthood. These years–be they preteen or teen, come far too quickly. Maneuvering this transition with wisdom and faith is essential to coming through at the other end with a relationship still intact.
Living by faith in our family meant an ever-growing understanding of His presence in the life of our children and in our home. We deeply loved and related to our children, and consequently, in their teen years, we found that our relationships were founded on trust after a lifetime of building it that way.
Sympathy goes a long way in teen years. Teens want to be affirmed, loved and accepted by others their age–it is a healthy part of straining towards adulthood to become independent and stand on their own two feet. And yet it is a growing process.
Use words of life and encourage, love and accept your children, even more intentionally than before.
Teens are having thoughts about sex, girls and boys, and mysterious developments in their bodies that sometimes make them feel overwhelmed and distracted. Make sure to remember this and to ask yourself what is going on inside, not just outside your children.
If you have talked to them about everything in the world before they become teens–developed a trust relationship where they can confide things–fears, thoughts, negative feelings, doubts about God, without you reacting in fear or giving them guilt, then they will probably want to talk to you about the mysterious issues of a teenage life and you will be their ally.
But if they think you will get mad, make fun of them, yell, not understand, then often they will seek the input of others–and those others may not have your values. So teen years are the time to deeply work on building that trust relationship–so that you will always know what is going on. Better yet, start working on it when they are tiny so they will naturally come to you.
Don’t ever say, “My children will never do such and such!” Beware–it is a very challenging world out there for teens and young adults, and pride goes before a fall! And they need you to walk beside them every step and to be very involved, to help protect them from unnecessary scars and to help them make wise decisions. All of us fail in some ways in our lives, so be sure to exhibit and express that your children can always come to you with anything and then prove to them that you can be trusted by listening, not reacting, and helping them with a gentle spirit.
Hormones throw preteens and teens into a slump of regressing, at times, because the hormones disrupt the familiar patterns of their body and brains! Moodiness, sleeping longer, emotional bouts over seemingly little things, are a norm with kids going through hormones. Not to mention all of the sexual changes, which are of incredible magnitude. Many times a mom is tempted to become exasperated and angry at the child, as though it is a willful choice. But since all of my four children went through this passage with such issues, though expressed in different ways, I could be more rational and not take it personally.
Many moms say that from one day to the next, their children change—Hormones!
And sometimes the passages feel a little like the toddler years. You are supposed to be the mature one who doesn’t yell and become emotional–but the humorous fact is that often when moms have teens, they are reversing in their own hormones and often have emotional and angry bouts themselves.
Grace, strong heartedness and love covers a multitude of sin!
Teen years are the making of the child into an adult and the humbling of the parent who realizes they never were in control of their children! But it also makes for forming great adult friendships that will give back to you the rest of their lives. Take heart and a deep breath and expect to see God’s grace and provision in new ways–and above all, don’t let it get you down. It is a normal process for all of history–the reason Solomon wrote Proverbs to teens, and the means through which many adults become more humble and compassionate for others.
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