As parents it is so important that we be diligent in the way we treat, pray for, and raise our children. In this article I wanted to share some tips on how to diligently parent our children, including our teens. These tips I have learned while ministering to teens and reading about raising teens.
1. Allow choices whenever possible
It is so easy for us as parents to make decisions for our children, especially in the heat of the moment. However, the only way children are going to learn to make good choices is by making choices. If good choices lead to positive and more pleasant results, and bad choices lead to more painful results, your child is going to be more likely then to make good choices. When you let them make choices now as a teen, you are allowing them not only the freedom and practice of making choices, but also they are doing so while still under your full protection.
2. It’s ok to say NO
It’s part of a parent’s job, so don’t be timid! “Everybody” may be doing it, going to it, watching it, listening to it, drinking it, or using it, but, “In this home, we’re not!” Don’t just issue declarations, though. Keep working on the relationship and explain the reasons behind the boundaries.
3. Follow through with appropriate consequences – Be consistent
When you set boundaries with your children, also set the proper consequence and then follow through with that consequence. For example, you let your teen borrow the car to go to a movie and you tell them they have to be home by 7:15, and for every minute they are late is a minute earlier they have to have the car home next time. So if they are 15 minutes late coming home from the movie, then the next time they must bring the car home 15 minutes earlier. A child of any age will not respect the rules or boundaries if the consequences are not diligently and consistently enforced.
4. Re-evaluate your habits and parenting skills
It is important that as a parent we step back and ask how we are doing. It’s equally important that we also give ourselves credit where credit is due and thank God for what He has done, is doing, and is faithful to keep doing. But sometimes we have areas of our parenting that need some help. In these areas it’s nice to read a parenting book, ask for counsel from a friend, and create a simple step by step plan for improvement. I am often reminded in parenting that frequently more is caught then taught, so make sure you have good habits.
5. Be patient
Give yourself, and your teen, a break. Life is full of changes, and you may be going through a time of upheaval and delicate wire-walking. Allow yourself some slack when it comes to measuring progress.
6. Keep up with your teen’s world
I recently heard a clip from Kirk Cameron and he said something to this effect: We teach our kids to drive; we physically get in the car and show them how to drive, then hop in the passenger seat to coach and encourage them. Here’s the question: Why don’t we do the same thing with social media? As a parent I encourage you to use social media with your kids. Show them how to use it the right way and then coach them in it.
Even in the midst of chaos — or because of it — you need to know about the culture that’s pressuring and misinforming your son or daughter. Focus on the Family has a great resource for parents that I recommend all parents check out and Bookmark: PluggedIn.com.
7. Enjoy your teen
Being a parent to a teen is not all hard work. There can be a lot of fun, too. Teens are daring, willing to play and explore life; they’re often enthused, outrageous, crazy, insightful. I have heard of dads taking their daughters out to dinner to get to know them better and have quality one on one time together. This is a great way to not only enjoy and enrich the relationship with your teen, but also to further disciple them.
8. Make encouragement a habit
Teens have so many things going on in their lives: peer pressure, school work, friends, sports, and so much more. Some of these things at times can become very difficult or even depressing. As a parent it is very important for us to be real with our kids, but it is also important for us to remain positive and to be intentional about encouraging them. Even if it’s writing a bible verse on a sticky note and putting it on the bathroom mirror so they see it when they are getting ready for school. We all need to be encouraged, and as a parent it is a gift that we are able to encourage our children.
Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”