How to Prepare for Terrific Teen Years
All at the same time. And, yes, they’re all ours. With no sets of twins.
It’s probably a good thing I didn’t figure this out when they were younger. I guess I was too busy in those early years to do the math. If I had, I think I might have panicked.
No, I take that back, I definitely would have panicked.
I’d heard quite a bit about how challenging teenagers could be. In fact, I’d even been one myself. And I don’t think I would have much looked forward to having a handful of my own. Not five at one time.
But you want to know something? I LOVE having teens in our home. I never would have guessed it would be such a blessing to have them around (not always easy, but certainly a blessing).
So what would I say goes into preparing for some terrific teenage years?
Here are 5 Tips Helping You Prepare for Terrific Teen Years!
Teach your children to enjoy serving others. Don’t just teach them to serve – help them get to the place where they enjoy it. The more a young person is looking after the interests of others, the less room there is for self-focus and other potential pitfalls of those teen years.
Make sure you are respected. Because you’re their parent and because God says to. While I’d never thump my kids with it, I’d gently – and firmly – remind them that I’m to be respected. Always. Not because I’m perfect, but because I’m the parent God gave them.
Communicate openly on just about everything. While it might start out with talking about frogs and fears and hurt feelings, those discussions have grown over time into deep and pivotal conversations. Our long and loving talks have become invaluable as we’re working through the challenges of becoming an adult.
Lighten up on the rules and lay down strong principles. Increasingly over the years, we lessened the “rules” and impressed upon our young people the principles behind what we believe in. We’ve pointed them to Scripture so that they could see – and believe – for themselves.
Pursue their hearts closely. Even at a young age, seek to understand what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling. Yes, it can be quite time-consuming, but that big investment more than pays off when they’re growing through their teen years. Those close heart-ties can help carry you through the hard times.
So why not start preparing now? It’s not like children suddenly become teenagers – even though that’s how it can feel – and there’s so much a parent can do to pave the way to some wonderful teen years.
I know. Because I’m sure enjoying them.
A whole handful of them.
So how are you preparing for the teens years? Your tips? Your concerns?
In His grace,
Followed the link at Club 31 Women.
I have two teenagers, both boys, ages 15 and 16. They are truly gifts from God. The only “issue” that comes to mind right now is their choice of words they use in expressing themselves – sometimes. When my oldest comes up and says “There’s really no other way to say this….”, what usually follows is at least one word I have told him I do not care to hear. I’ve also explained that there is always another way to express himself and that what words we use are a choice. (My husband, while not objecting to coarse language, does not encourage it.) Lastly, I explain that I hope he will use uplifting language, and that he will make that choice for himself when he is out of my earshot. When I can hear him, I expect him to respect my wish and my right /not/ to hear those words.
We still have wonderful discussions and he will come up, of his own volition, and hug his mother in public … so I must be doing something right eh? :O)
With the way you describe it, it sounds like his language-choice falls in the category of respecting you. There’s nothing wrong with asking him to speak respectfully in your hearing! And, yes, it’s terrific that y’all are still enjoying good discussions – and even hugs. A real blessing!
Love this, Lisa. I think one of the most powerful things my mother did for my sisters and I when we were teenagers was communicate how much she loved us and how much she loved the teenage years. It is amazing the comments people will make, right in front of someone’s children. She would ALWAYS and with great confidence declare that she loved this stage best of all when people would comment on having 3 teenage daughters.
We loved her for this and believed wholeheartedly that she loved this stage. Sure there were moments when three hormonal teenage girls were challenging and she was certainly far from perfect. But her love and unconditional support made such a difference.
As a result, I’m looking forward to the quick approach of the teenage years. While I’m heading into virgin territory with my 3 boys (not even thinking teens yet with my toddler daughter), I’m looking forward to this season of discipleship and camaraderie as we prepare to launch these sons of ours out into the world to make kingdom impact.
I’m so encouraged to hear your own testimony, Heather! Yes, it’s not without its challenges, but I do want them to know that I wouldn’t trade this time for anything else in the world (it’s so good to hear you say that made an impact on you too). Blessings on those boys of yours!
Lighten up on the rules and lay down strong principles. I love that advice. It’s the one thing in that list I’ll need to work on most in our own home as my daughters get older. Of course, they are 8 and almost 5 right now so we do have a lot of rules, but I’m even noticing with my 8 year old that as she gets older I have to pick my battles and give her a little more freedom here and there. We read scripture together and talk about how to apply it to our everyday living but it’s rarely pointed to in the midst of a debate over whether or not we’ll allow her to do something she’s asking to do. Then again, that’s probably not the time to point to scripture. If it’s the foundation of our family and our lifestyle then those principles should be there on their own over the course of time. Right? (she asks with uncertainty…) Lol!
Right! 🙂 Reading Scripture and talking about it together is a wonderful way to lay down the foundation. Oodles of love and conversation go a long way too!
I have 8 year old twins one with disability and one very healthy. My mom chose to be more of a friend than a mom however I love her all the same. My problem is finding the fine line between mom and friend. I crave for my kids and I to talk. I want them to know I’m mom first. Not sure of Scripture to help me. Could you point me in the right direction? We read the bible and pray every night but they tell me it takes too long. How can I make binle studying for them? Thank you
Bible studying for them fun?
Yes, I agree that it’s important to be the mom first, and then the friendship can grow as they get older. As for Bible study, I’m a fan of “short and sweet” – especially at the younger ages. 🙂 I might only pick out a verse or two and then tell a story (from my childhood or a made-up one) that illustrates the point further. You might also want to try a resource like The Dig For Kids by Pat and Ruth Schwenk? Hope this helps!
We love parenting our two teen boys and I KNOW we wouldn’t be in the joyful position we’re in if it weren’t for Grace. I love the tip “Pursue their hearts closely”. This has been the key to our success. Our teens aren’t perfect, but they’re loving, sweet, kind boys who KNOW when they’ve made a mistake and they work on correcting actively.
Lisa, I love the teen years too! Great post, friend!
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