2. Allow for the struggle, should it come. Struggles are opportunities for change. The struggle does not invalidate all the work you have done in the life of your child, nor is it an indictment on your parenting. Just because your teen is experiencing difficulty right now doesn’t mean God’s thumbprint is no longer on his life. Usually the struggle is for a short time, so don’t make things worse than they are, or make your child feel as though they are no longer loved or accepted. The two words I use most when encouraging a parent through such a time as this are: “Struggle well.”

The fact that you care so deeply about your teen is no guarantee that everything in their life will be all right. Other factors may affect your teen – factors that are completely out of your control. That’s why many Christian teens today go through periods of struggle. Through it all, their parents need to keep adjusting, training, listening, and caring. Teens want more and more freedom, but that freedom shouldn’t be without interaction, boundaries and guidance from their parents. Be there to coach them as you allow them a little more autonomy, so they can learn responsibility and grow in maturity through the triumphs and mistakes they’ll make along the way.

Mark Gregston is the host of Parenting Today’s Teens radio and the Founder and Executive Director of Heartlight Ministries, a residential counseling program for struggling teens which can be reached at 903-668-2173.

Mark’s Podcast:  parentingtodaysteens.org

Mark’s Blog:  markgregston.com

Mark’s Books and Tapes: heartlightresources.com