Your tweens and teens have been through a lot of change. They need you to help them cope with these changes. Society at large says that they will be fine because they can handle more than their parents think they can handle, but can they? While kids are resilient, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have wounds from what happens to them. What they really need is a parent. Their parent. They need a parent who will stand up to culture and do the unpopular hard work of real parenting. How can you be the parent your child needs?
Nowadays, parents are being ganged up on by educators, government leaders, changing cultural norms, and their peers. There is a blatant attack on morals, values, and character. You are told to accept what’s happening. So basically: “Shut up, Mom and Dad. We know what’s best for your children.” Yikes!
Drinking. Casual sex. Experimental drug use. Gang activity. It’s all on the rise. But, don’t be discouraged. You can still be the parent your child needs so that they enter adulthood with strong convictions, reasoning skills, and relationships.
We can’t go back to what might seem like simpler times. Technology dominates our lives and we probably can’t reverse that. So, what can you do?
It’s time to push back! Some of you will feel called to speak up and speak out. I know that some of you will not in the same public way. But, all of you will have to fight for your family in ways you didn’t have to before now. You have to put boundaries around you and your children. You have to decide which battles to get involved in for your family.
When the government officials and education union leaders are no longer hiding their agenda, you know they believe they are big enough to defeat you. It’s a battle of David vs Goliath. But, God is on your side!
How to Be the Best Parent for Your Child
These issues come back to who you are as a parent and what you’re willing to do. I have a few starting suggestions.
Learn About Growth and Development
Learn what you can about growth and development in adolescent children. You need to understand what they’re facing. I know you don’t have time to read every resource out there. Find a few trusted sources of information (like the Equipped To Be show!) to help you focus on what’s most important for your kids. Understanding how your children think and process the world around them will give you a greater understanding of their point of view.
Help Your Child Develop Their Identity
Help your child develop a healthy sense of self and identity. Both of these help a child learn how to become an adult. Teach them that their identity is first found in Christ. It’s also important for them to know where they belong. They have a place in your family.
“We are designed for and defined by our relationships.”Connie Albers
Set Limits. Teach Manners and Morals.
Be an assertive parent by setting limits and by teaching your children manners and morals. Don’t be surprised when your children get angry and protest the limits and boundaries you’ve placed for your family or lessons you’re trying to teach them. But, also, don’t allow their protesting to make you believe you’re parenting poorly! On the contrary, it’s an excellent opportunity for you to communicate your family goals and vision. And like I say in Parenting Beyond the Rules, it’s an opportunity for you to “paint pictures of possibilities” for your children. They will ultimately appreciate knowing that you care about them even if they don’t show that gratitude right now.
“Your children are a masterpiece! … They’re a masterpiece and every masterpiece is unique. You do not use the same color scheme. You do not use the same brush strokes. It’s unique. Your child is unique and God has called you to help create the masterpiece.”Connie Albers
Focus on the Why
When you can tell your children the why behind your instruction and why they might not like it initially, they will come to respect you for being willing to be the parent. Don’t make it about a set of rules but instead focus on the principle behind the rules. Don’t be afraid to adjust if you learn new information you would like to consider and implement. That is part of your children learning what it takes to be an adult. It’s a process.
Focus on the Goal
Now that my children are grown, it seems like the years of teaching and training were just a short season in my life. When things get tense in your home, try to remind yourself the season of parenting littles, tweens, or teens, is but a few years. This type of thinking helped me stay focused when tension and stress entered our home. Interestingly, I actually find that I am just as involved in the lives of my children now as adults as I was when they were kids.
Parenting tweens and teens is a comparatively short season in your life. Be the parent your child needs. Don’t be afraid to be the parent that God has asked you to be. If you know the Lord, the One who created your child, then you have what you need to raise that child!
“Parenting is an opportunity for you to paint pictures of possibilities for your child and for your family.”Connie Albers
References and Links
The following may contain affiliate links.
- Raising Tech-Savvy Kids – ETB #80
- How to Fight for Your Family: 3 Tips for Picking Your Battles – ETB #83
- Teach the Principle Behind the Rules – ETB #88
- The Importance of Family Traditions – ETB #91
- The Sexualization of America’s Children with Dr. Chris Hughes – ETB #92
- Citizens for America with Dr. Chris Hughes – ETB #93
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