I am sure you’ve never been out in public with young children and been embarrassed by their behavior. Never, not you. Not your kids. But just…
No doubt, raising young children is exhausting. However, I’ve spent enough time with teens, and moms of teens, to know raising hormonal, almost-adult human beings, takes exhausting to a whole new level!
Parenting teenagers is often a rollercoaster-like experience. It can be difficult, heart-wrenching, exciting, tiring, fun, draining, fruitful, scary, and extremely “weighty”. Needless to say, raising teens is serious business. And it is my guess that us “young moms” would benefit by doing what we can to prepare now!
Of course, no amount of good parenting will control how our children turn out. Ultimately, they will make their own choices. But, like the familiar proverb reminds us, we should work to, “train up a child in the way he should go…” (Proverbs 22:6). And while our efforts won’t ensure saved godly teens emerge from our homes, the more we can set them up for spiritual success, the better.
The #1 Goal
It’s dangerous to boil any massive endeavor (such as parenting teens!) down to one goal. But it’s safe to say, raising our children according to God’s word is the aim. Biblical parenting is a broad, safe, and fairly obvious ambition.
This means we teach our children to obey (Colossians 3:20). It means we correct and train them when they do not (Ephesians 6:1-4, Proverbs 13:24).We are to love them biblically (Titus 2:5) and we should instruct them from the truth in God’s word (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). We ought to show our kids how to fear the Lord and seek wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). (Just to name a few relevant biblical exhortations.) And much of our parenting success will come from the fruit of those efforts.
When we are faithful to biblically raise our children, they’re given the chance to know God’s truths. They can begin to taste the goodness of his ways. They learn what it means to fear God, flee sin, and submit to authority. In other words, focusing on the basics is preparing for the teen years! (That’s encouraging, right?!)
So stick with it! Keep your standard high. Don’t let exhaustion slow you down. Be faithful. As you remain steadfast, know you are not only making an immediate difference, but you are setting yourself up to parent teens who are light-years ahead of where they’d be otherwise.
Moving Beyond the Obvious
The “basics” really are the most important thing to focus on! Nevertheless, culture is constantly changing and new issues are arising; meaning, what it looks like to “train up a child in the way he should go” has different aspects each generation should consider.
We are currently wading through new issues like social media, the prevalence of technology, and technology’s many temptations. Not to mention age-old problems in new packages, like the latest immodest trends, or easily accessible worldly entertainment. Culture is also becoming more anti-Christian, anti-church, and anti-rules — all of which will impact our future teenagers.
Clearly, many battles await us in the teen years! The question is: Can we do anything now (on top of the basics) to set our teens up for more success?
I believe we can.
For part 2, click here.