Oh no, teens are coming! Preparing to conquer with grace!


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.

Take Heart! :)

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    • Tracy Selle says

      I always enjoy reading your blog, but it was especially nice to read about teenagers! I would love for you to write on this topic more. I have a 12-year-old son. Thanks!

  1. says

    Thanks so much for such an insightful post. And very timely, as I’ve been thinking a lot about what the teen years have in store for us. Our oldest is 11, and she has grown as tall as me now… and looking more and more like a young lady everyday. I pray that I will give her grace everyday as she grows and experiences the world around her. Thank you!

  2. Bobbi says

    “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.”

    Oh my, this is where I am. Some days are so hard with my 14yo, my 12yo, (both girls) and I all going in and out of teary times and impatient times. Thanks so much for your reminder of grace, love, and strong heartedness. I should paint those words on the wall.

  3. Elizabeth W. says

    This post gives me courage and hope! I have been loving the tween years with two girls in that stage, and doing all I know to do to use them to prepare for the teenage years right around the corner. I guess with girls it is in my favor that they love to talk so much, and talk we have! I have used lots of things I’ve learned from you to make these past few years count in our relationships and am curious to see how good the teen years can be. Thankyou for the realistic, yet positive perspective you gave! My relationship with my oldest already feels different and I’m depending on God in new ways as I walk cautiously into new phases. She is delightful and opinionated and determined and I know she will stretch this soft-hearted, third-born mother a lot in the years to come. My comfort is that we love eachother a lot and love to be together! I admire her so much already for the many ways she is different than me.

  4. Laura says

    Thanks so much for this! My oldest two are 13 and 11 yo boys, and we are right in the middle of this stuff. I so appreciate you sharing your wisdom.

  5. Keri says

    Thank you for these words of wisdom from one who is speaking from experience. My children are only 4, 6 and 8, and I’m doing my best to treasure this stage of their childhood, as I’ve been told (over and over again) that it will pass by too quickly and I’ll wish it back again. (I don’t doubt those words, because I’m already wishing back the crazy toddler years, which I NEVER thought I’d miss! :-) )

    My oldest child and I are two peas in a pod, and for that reason, our relationship has had the most conflict up to this point — not a lot, but definitely more than the other two children. But when I’m tempted to lash out at her and let my emotions get the better of me, I try to remember how very, very important it is that I create a solid, loving relationship with her now, as a deterrent to a tumultuous relationship through her teens. I’m praying diligently about my relationship with all 3 kids, but especially for God to give me extra grace with my oldest, so that when the teen years arrive, our relationship will be grounded in love and complete trust…and forgiveness. Thank you for this reminder of how important these years are in leading up to the years in the future!

  6. Rachel says

    As always, I love your thoughts within the post. I am, though, a bit disheartened by the title. I don’t believe our children are to be “conquered” ~ and phrases such as this perpetuate the parents vs. children mentality, as if we are in some kind of war against them instead of advocates and disciples.

  7. Deb Weakly says

    What wise words! You are so right and I am so very thankful for all of the ways that you encourage us Mamma’s!

  8. Marsha Eichelberger says

    Thank you Sally! Good Words! Perhaps your next book could be about the transition from Teens to Adults—and how to do that well!

  9. says

    thank you for writing about teens! we have a 2 yr old and a 17 yr old in the house, and they are very much alike! I find myself in prayer ALOT! :)


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