It might sound surprising to say, considering families in the US are more affluent than ever, but many teens in this country are living a life that has never been tougher. Social pressures are greater than ever, coupled with the fact they are always in touch on social media making an escape from those pressures (through tweets, videos, and images) difficult. Many parents feel pretty helpless over what they can do when it comes to raising their teens. It is important to not take over their lives, but rather, give them the tools or equipment to deal with what life is throwing at them thus enabling them to steer clear of harmful relationships, behaviors, and attitudes.
If you’re raising teens in a Christian household, then it can be even more tricky, as there may be some expectations or guidelines that you have in the home. After all, we want to encourage our children to be who God wants them to be. They need to figure out who they want to be at the same time too, which is where some of the difficulties lie. So if this sounds like you, and you’re raising teens in a Christian way, here are some ideas to help.
We can tell our children how much they are loved, that they are not alone, and that God loves them, until we are blue in the face. Our teens will truly believe it when they have come to that conclusion themselves. We need to be able to provide plenty of chances for them to discover who they are on their own. It could be through travel, Christian youth retreats, or even devotionals at home. Allow them to experience a wide range of activities, so that they can learn more about themselves, and what they do or don’t enjoy.
Create a Motto
Having a motto to live by as a family can be a fun, sometimes funny, way to be. Each time you leave, it could be to say bye, love you, and the motto. From things like ‘we’re not quitters’ to ‘make good choices’ or ‘return with honor’ there are little mottos that will suit your whole family. It will stick with them when they’re out and about. We like to remind each other to be people of integrity always or worship is a verb. It’s just a tangible way to put Christ in the forefront of our interactions.
Praise Spiritual Gifts
We all have different spiritual gifts. Often we, and our teens, forget that these gifts are just that, spiritual. When you have the chance to discuss them, praise them for the gifts that they are demonstrating consistently . Do they show mercy to people that have wronged them? Are they quick to forgive when wronged? Are they honest or have they shown integrity in a particular scenario? It will help them feel good, continue to use those gifts, and gives them a greater identity as to who they are.
Small steps can lead our teens to Christ. Make no mistake that they are watching our interactions and how we utlilize our gifts and treat people. By walking with Christ yourself, you will encourage your teens to follow Him as well. Finding your identity in Christ is a lifelong task. You equip your teen to embrace that task by giving them the tools they need early in life.