Raising teens - the Christian way
All parents will agree that while parenting is a tough job, parenting teens is even harder. But as a Christian parent, you face possibly the toughest challenge of all: raising a child with solid morals in a world filled with temptation.
Fact: even Christian teens rebel
Being a teenager is about self-discovery and pushing boundaries. No matter what you do, your child is going to rebel in some way. As a Christian parent, it’s your responsibility to guide your teenager through growing up in a sometimes troubling world. You want your teen to develop a relationship with God, to have a good moral compass, and to follow Jesus’ example in every way.
Teens, as unreasonable as they might sometimes seem, respond to reason. A child who knows that his or her parents forbid underage drinking, for example, respond better to positive reasons as to why this type of behaviour is forbidden than to a simple and definitive ‘You may not do this’. Teens will respond to respect with respect, so hear them out, and explain why you have certain expectations regarding their behaviour.
Lend an ear
One of the most important tips for parenting teens is really quite simple: listen to them. If your teen is going through an uncommunicative phase, let him or her lead the family in prayer at dinner time. Tuning in on what your child is asking God for help with will help you understand what they are going through at school, at church, and at home. This will help you pick up on their concerns and worries, and let you address them before problems crop up.
Christ is cool
All teens want to fit in. But the ‘coolest’ kids at school may not be setting the best example for your teens, so it’s important to let them know that being Christian is cool. They don’t have to miss out on the fun things about being a teenager just because they are Christian. Encourage your teens to listen to Christian rock (or even metal, if they’re that way inclined!), buy them Christian video games, and encourage fun, family worship.
The most important thing you can do for your teen is help them develop a strong sense of self-respect and self-confidence. You want them to have enough faith in themselves to be able to stand firm in their beliefs, even if it means standing out from the crowd.