Purposed Parent Connected Child Podcast - Episode 063 - Stop Raising Typical Teens
Welcome to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast – Episode 63 – Stop Raising Typical Teens
Raising a teen in today’s society could easily make your home feel like a battleground. And it is. There is nothing more that Satan would like to do than tear apart a home, especially a Christian one. Pre-teen and teen years can be stressful, argumentative, confusing, and disappointing. You may get lots of eye rolls, irritability, lies, and mood swings (these from yourself and/or your child). But I want to reassure you that your home doesn’t have to be destroyed by the devil or dictated by the latest fads, friends, or foes. There is a better way, a way full of love, light, and truth. God’s way of parenting.
Of course, teens want to be seen and heard. Their need to express themselves and discover who they are is strong and natural. They want to be with peers and be accepted by their peers. Those desires are normal. What isn’t typical is the way many parents allow their teen to dictate the household and affect the mood and routines of the family. This isn’t the way God calls you to parent. Unless you teach your children otherwise, those actions and activities lead to typical teens in today’s society. Being typecast as a typical teen is not what God’s best is for you or your teen.
We know it’s natural for every person to want to be seen, heard, and loved. People carry the desire to be understood, not just teens. But during the teen years, feelings and emotions, including different desires, are heightened. Your teen’s body undergoes many changes. Not only socially, but psychologically, physically, sexually, and intellectually, as well. As your teen matures, he is also evaluating and adjusting his moral compass, and unless you have been prayerfully purposed in your parenting, your teen will be attracted to and affected by the moral compass set by the peers around him.
During this time of great changes, your teen’s brain development thinks and reasons at a higher level than childhood. While a child is only able to think about what is happening here and now, your teen is maturing the ability to reason with abstract thinking. Yet, although your teen is maturing in various areas, he is not yet mature. One thing most people agree on is that typical teens excel at the ability to showcase egocentric moods and behaviors. During this time of considering and measuring his personal feelings, your teen actually recognizes the feelings of those around him, although it may not always feel like it. That’s because typical teens are most concerned with the feelings of their peers and how those feelings relate to them. Self-confidence of a typical teen is usually lowest at this time, which causes more emotional behaviors in the home as they inwardly battle bodily, thought, and emotional changes. However, we must remember that some teens may exhibit high self-esteem at home, but show poor self-esteem when with peers.
Whether your teen is considered typical or atypical, finding identity is one of his goals. Let’s face it, many adults still struggle to find their identity. It’s an important piece of life. Of course, as believers and followers of Christ, Christian parents want their teen to find and grow identity through Christ. Yet, as much as we desire that, it’s not easy to foster godly identity. In today’s society, it seems everything is geared to do just the opposite. Games, music, entertainment, articles, books, peers, learning institutions, social media, you name it, seem to be set on swaying your teen and younger children away from Christ and an identity formed by and for Him.
While your teen is maturing, you can see that he is ready for many new experiences, but it’s important to note that your teen’s brain is still developing. In fact, the frontal cortex, which is where the ability to control impulses, prioritize, and to plan is growing, won’t be matured until your teen is in his mid to late twenties. Knowing this fact helps you to remember that this makes communication with lectures less effective, but discussions and compassionate questions much more effective. As you raise your children, that line of purposed, prayerful communication is important at every stage of development and is even more crucial in the teen years. Knowing each teen is unique, and most crave acceptance from peers, and because the frontal cortex isn’t fully developed until much later, a typical teen will probably experience lapses in judgement. He may be moody, irritable, and participate in risky behaviors. Do you see why it is so important to raise children to be set-apart? The goal is definitely not to raise a teen that will be recognized as typical, but to raise one who is atypical in today’s society.
Allowing your teen to express individual likes and dislikes is important. However, raising him to do so with integrity, honesty, and humility crafted by the truths of God is also an important part of what sets your teen apart. We understand that the need to feel included and to be like peers is very strong at this time. Some adults still can’t resist the pressure exerted by other adults to do or say something they wouldn’t otherwise desire. Yet, a set-apart, atypical teen is different because he or she has been raised with heart and mind focused on Christ. What God thinks is more important than what peers believe. Does this mean your child won’t need friends and will sit at home with you all of the time? Absolutely not! But the friends they desire and find won’t be the most important, defining factor in their identity. Don’t underestimate the influence you have as a prayerful, believing mother. Even if you haven’t been consistent in raising your child to be set-apart, you can start now. You can still mentor building a life set on different priorities than most typical teens have experienced.
Is your teen’s identity built on peer acceptance or in Christ?
In order to raise a respectful teen you actually like being with and who enjoys time with you and Jesus, you both need (and deserve) guidelines and boundaries. As you pursue or continue being a godly mother who parents with an eternal perspective, you will want to establish certain expectations of your teen and yourself. I have a list of 15 tips (in no particular order) that I will share now. If you don’t want to take notes, I will leave a transcript of this episode on my website at terrihitt.com so you can print these suggestions out to review later. I have plenty of episodes that speak more on building relationship with Christ on this podcast, so today we’ll review other areas of home life.
1. Regularly spend time together with activities such as simple conversations, walks, outdoor time, laughing, play or recreational time. Pray and read God’s Word together, and include God in daily activities as you discuss God as easily as breathing. Make your time important enough that you schedule it. Let others know you are with your child or family. Make these dates something you don’t break without an emergency.
2. Give your children attention that is uninterrupted by social media. If you want your teen to respect you and your time, do the same for your teen. Don’t let your phone, computer, or television control your attention, your teen’s attention, or home.
3. Build respect for God and each other. Never put down your spouse, child, or your Heavenly Father.
4. Listen and communicate respectfully with God, your spouse, your teen, and others.
5. Teach integrity by the way you mentor and model – remember the saying “more is caught than taught?” What you desire, say, do, and how you react teaches much more than how you tell your children to live.
6. Don’t rescue your child – you want to disciple instead of simply giving discipline, but you also allow your child to learn consequences of poor choices. Our loving Heavenly Father does the same.
7. Don’t follow emotions and feelings that cause you to react with unrighteous anger or to say damaging words. Extend the same courtesy to loved ones that you would an acquaintance. When your teen talks, listen without interrupting, calmly repeat back what you believe you heard, and discuss. If you are too emotional to do it at the same time you are talking, get clarification on what you heard and let your teen know you need time to pray and reflect. Set a time to talk again.
8. Try to understand your teen’s feelings and emotions, even when you do not approve of their actions. Remember what is was like to be a teen, but do not make excuses or judgements. Keep an open door of communication that invites your teen to return to talk to you. Don’t make your teen feel childish or stupid by making unkind remarks or with an unapproachable attitude. Nurture communication as your raise your child so that the teen years are an extension of that dialogue. If you haven’t already done so, talk openly with your teen about developing that skill now. Use talking, a journal you can pass back and forth with thoughts and feelings, recordings, or whatever works best for you and your teen.
9. Encourage your teen to talk to you about life situations and resolutions or ideas they may have. Your teen needs a safe sounding board for new ideas and feelings. It helps them learn and apply critical thinking skills.
10. Don’t manage every area of your child’s life. Help them learn to make godly decisions. From childhood, teach them how to eat well, how to get enough sleep, to exercise, tithe, save money, serve God and others, cope with stress, complete homework, plan, learn flexibility, how to deal with disappointments, and how to contribute to the family without pay, and so many other aspects of life. Plan how you will accomplish these highly important tasks. Children grow in phases and parenting is a lifelong labor of love and service.
11. Listen when your child doesn’t agree with your opinions or ways of doing things. It is a great opportunity for them to learn from you or it could be an excellent way for you to broaden your understanding in a new way. Raise your teen to trust that you are on their side, but it is your responsibility to raise them to be a godly adult with eternity-focused wisdom.
12. Let your teen help plan vacations, meal choices, and other decisions that let them know they are an important voice and member of the family. Just like when they were a toddler and you gave them two choices that you pre-determined, work to offer more freedom without giving away too much. Your teen has to mature, but you don’t just one day open the gate and tell them to run freely.
13. Recognize the gifts and talents God has entrusted to your children. Help surface and develop them. Help your teen find the best activities for their interests, talents, and abilities. Help them set a schedule so that your teen is not overextended. Family time and Bible time together is much more important for eternity than an over-active social life.
14. Praise your teen. Not just when they are successful or recognized with worldly honors. Praise them in matters of godliness and integrity, which matters much more when shaping character and identity.
15. Be the godly example God is trusting you to be and that you desire your child to become.
Some of my favorite verses about raising children are included in this episode. These pieces of godly wisdom should be set in your mind and heart as you navigate your child-raising years, but also remain ingrained in your relationship with your children after they are grown.
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to Your Word.”
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
John 14:15 says, “If you love Me, keep My commands.”
I recommend prayerfully reflecting on these verses. See where God may be calling you to release areas of parenting to Him and where you have seen His mighty hand at work. Then prayerfully and purposely continue becoming an even godlier mother tomorrow than you are today.
It takes persistence, prayer, and purpose to raise a set-apart teen who doesn’t look like the world. If your child is already a teen, and not following the Lord, never give up purposely praying for your teen. Keep growing your walk with God through Christ and work on the tips we discussed in this episode. With God, it is possible to raise an atypical teen you actually like being around, as well as love with all your heart.
Dear Heavenly Father, how good and gracious You are to entrust Your precious children to our care. While we were yet sinners, You gave us the ability to come to You and receive guidance to model Christ to the purposed individuals You gave to us for such a time as this. We are humbled that You would place such esteemed gifts in our care. Thank you for showing us the way to You through Christ and enabling us to have Your Word to grow and guide us in Your ways and truths. May we learn, apply, and teach them correctly to the children You love so much. Help us be worthy mothers and stewards of Your children and enable us to show them the Way, the Truth, and the Life in all the ways You call. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Supporting and encouraging mothers to rest in Christ and pursue a holy relationship with Him so they purposely raise set-apart children is the cry of my heart. I believe godly parenting is rooted in relationship with Christ and the mindset a mother carries. That’s why I’ve created the Set-Apart Collective. Would you like to walk with other like-minded mothers to deepen your walk with Christ, learn a Christ-centered Motherhood Mindset Model, and create a Purposed Parenting Plan? I want to share special news with my podcast listeners. The Set-Apart Collective wait list is open now. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you’d like to receive information and a special code to receive a discount if you find you’d like to join the collective. It’s time for mothers to be purposed in preparing their children for a lifetime pursuit of Christ.
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Remember, if you’re not purposed in knowing Jesus and showing Him to the next generation, the world will likely sway your children away from Christ. I pray that what you hear on this podcast enables you to stop being a good mom and focus on being a godly parent. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to parent with eternal purpose and connection.