If you want to raise awesome teens, then there are a few simple things you can be doing to make that happen. Raising teenagers can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. But it can also be one of the most enjoyable!
The other day I was playing with my 4-month-old and I was noticing how easy it was to make him laugh and how much happiness kissing his little cheeks brought me.
Babies are fun. They are cute and cuddly, snuggly and soft. And if you add a little ‘Baby Magic’ lotion, they smell amazing too! Who doesn’t love a baby?!
But then they start to grow. The first scary phase is the ‘terrible twos’. It’s hard to navigate through temper tantrums and fits. Two-year-olds don’t like to cooperate and have minds of their own! If you need evidence, just take a trip through Walmart and observe the harried moms who are trying to grocery shop while having a toddler in tow.
The twos give way to teens in what seems like an overnight experience and suddenly it seems like the child you couldn’t get enough of, who’s twinkling eyes would make you melt, is someone you can hardly even stand.
But why? Why does this happen and does it have to be the way?
What if I told you that there was a way to love and ADORE your teenager? Even crave spending time with him. I know! It seems countercultural (teenagers get a pretty bad rap) but I’m here to tell you that you can fall absolutely in LOVE with your teenager if you make the effort!
GET YOUR TEENAGER’S HEART
One of THE BEST books I have ever read on parenting is called ‘The Heart of Anger’ by Lou Priolo
I LOVE this book and it is worth every penny! ‘We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”
In it, you will learn how to capture your child’s heart and actually learn a ton about yourself as well! It is one of my FAVORITE parenting resources. (It’s actually very useful for any relationship. Not just teens.) When you are able to ‘have your child’s heart’ you will find that the conflicts become less and your relationship becomes stronger. This book has COMPLETELY changed the way we parents in our house.
RAISE THEM RIGHT
What they are at 3, they’ll be at thirteen. Teenagers are an investment. You get out of them what you put in.
If you have little ones, now is the time to do the grunt work. Teach them manners. Be diligent to train and disciples. Don’t skimp on character training. Don’t ‘give in’ to fits and demands.
These aren’t easy challenges, but parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. You must be willing to put the time in NOW to see the dividends pay off later on. It is SO worth it!
ASK GOD TO HELP YOU LOVE YOUR TEEN LIKE HE LOVES HIM
It is so important to not only pray for our children, their needs, protection, purity, etc. But I have found it equally as important to pray that God would give me the heart to love my teen like He loves him. When you pray for your child this way, something special begins to happen. You actually begin to LOVE him like God does! It’s amazing!
When you see someone through eyes of love, you begin to tolerate more of their quirks and idiosyncrasies. (This is true of any relationship, by the way.) That leads me to the next order of business.
ACCEPT HIS QUIRKS AND DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING
Don’t be a nag! This is a tough one! There are things about each one of us that can bother anyone. WE are all different. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. When you stop nagging and start accepting your teen for who he is, you may actually begin to appreciate him.
The world would be so boring if everyone looked and acted like me. (Although it would be a LOT more organized! – Not everyone in my family loves to be organized, but I’m not going to name any names!) It is so tempting to correct, or should I say OVERcorrect every little thing our teens do.
The teenage years are a time of exploring. This is a time to try out new ideas and learn who they will become. Sometimes, those ideas can be a bit obnoxious, but as parents, we need to love our teens through it.
Don’t nag and don’t overcorrect everything. After all, you won’t be there to fix every mistake they make in life. It’s best to let them try and fail now while you are still here to pick them up and encourage them!
HAVE FUN WITH YOUR TEEN
Get into their world! I know NOTHING about computer programming, but my 16-year-old loves it. I’m not sure who the leading NBA scorer was last year, but my 11-year-old plans to be an NBA player (someday! :)) I’m not sure I could ever play a basketball game, but my 13-year-old is the best point guard I’ve ever seen (Ok, so I’m a little biased!)
When I immerse myself in the things my teens love, I show them that they are important to me. I want to be in their world. I want to know what makes them tick. But then I also want to DO it.
Experience something alongside them. Participate! Does your teen love chess? Is he into Minecraft? Does he like to camp? Whatever it is that your teen loves, DO IT! Don’t just sit back and observe! Immerse yourself! You will be amazed at the results!
BUILD HIM UP
Why is it so much easier to tear down than to build up?
Proverbs 14:1 says, ‘The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.’ (NIV Version)
It is so much more beneficial to take the time to speak truth and love into the hearts of our teens. I believe this is one of the single most important things we can do as parents, aside from praying for them and teaching them spiritually.
THE RESULTS ARE WORTH IT
When we build up our teens, the rewards are two-fold. First, we receive the blessing of a child who will grow up to be confident and secure, and secondly, it does something good for our own hearts when we build up and encourage our children.
Find ways to uplift your teen. Tell him how much you love him and strengthen his confidence and character.
I have seven kids. They range in age from four months to 16 years old. Whenever I am out in public with my little kids, it never fails and I seem to always draw a comment from someone who just has to give their opinion, ‘Oh how cute are your kids. Just WAIT until they’re teenagers! They’ll drive you nuts!’
I absolutely LOVE to say, ‘I have 2 – almost 3 teenagers and the teenage years are some of my FAVORITE years in parenting!’ Usually, the interested party just looks at me like I’m crazy and then shakes their head and walks away!
Teenagers are what you make them. If we constantly tell our kids how awful they are to raise and that we can’t wait for them to grow up and get out, then we can expect not so great attitudes. You can raise awesome teens! Sure you’ll need a little time and investment, but it is so worth it!
If we fail to encourage them and build them up, we will lose the blessing of a close and enjoyable relationship. ON the contrary, when we build our teens up, we do ourselves a favor. We can ultimately raise lifetime friends!
You may enjoy reading this article from Paul Tripp for some extra encouragement!
How about you? Do you enjoy the teenage years? Or do you find them to be more of a struggle? I would love to hear if you find more joy in the teenage years after trying these suggestions. Please feel free to comment below!