What Do Teens Need Most?
When your toddlers fell into a big mud puddle or intentionally filled their overalls with mud pies, how did you respond? Was there was a smile of disbelief or a look of horror as they climbed into your freshly cleaned van? No matter how hard it was to avoid the temptation of disowning them, under all that mud, there still was your tangled-hair, smiling, freckled, little kids.
As your teens mature, they will get dirty and muddy again. This world is a mess. In reality, they are facing things you did not face in high school. Whether they go to public school or are home educated, they will still have to interact with and learn how to operate in this messy world. I can guarantee you they will fall and get mud all over them. Whether it’s because they jumped in headfirst or someone slung it at them, they now have to deal with the fact that life isn’t as clean and clear as it was when they were younger.
Young people understand that rules need to be in place and adults need to be respected, but they also want to know that their parents won’t disown them because of their mud. Even if your child has been in willful sin for a long while, don’t stop loving them. This will mean the world to them later.
It is exhausting and so incredibly hard to go that extra mile; especially after a rough day and all you want to do is collapse on your bed. You don’t want one more person calling for you to fix their problems. How can you possibly help your confused teenager know that you love them if you don’t even have time or energy to read a book about love languages?
There are different ways to show love. Some of them you probably excel in, while others are harder for you to give. Allow me to help define love for you.
- Is patient and suffers long – This trying time will end…not only that, but it will end well.
- Is kind – Kindness can be friendly, generous, or considerate. Are you kinder to friends than a certain family member?
- Does not envy – Are you jealous of the relationship your child has with your spouse, their coach, or other parents? That’s a heavy burden to place on your child’s shoulders.
- Isn’t arrogant or self-seeking – Did your parents manipulate you to get what they wanted? Do you have any of these tendencies?
- Isn’t rude – Cutting off another’s sentence, speaking in anger, walking off, yelling, etc. are examples of being rude.
- Isn’t easily provoked – Do you have a short fuse?
- Thinks no evil – Do you jump to conclusions or give them the benefit of the doubt?
- Rejoices in truth and not failure – What are the topics you bring up the most when talking with your child?
- Bears all things – What burdens are your children bearing?
- Believes all things – Even if your children are lying to you, the truth will come to light. Nothing means more to a child than a parent who believes in them and their potential.
- Endures all things – Have you given up on someone or something?
Now, this is a really tough list. I understand, I have to apply it too. It can easily overwhelm you. But there’s good news: God wrote this list, and God equipped you become more loving. Read this list in the context of 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Pick one or two attributes from the list and make it your prayer for the month asking God to help you in those specific areas. Watch and see how this can change your family. In learning how to practically show love to your family, you will have a greater understanding of God’s love for you.