Encouragement for Today
“Making it through the Teen Years”
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Have you ever stopped to consider what our children face at school in a day —learning new concepts, stressing over a test, forgetting their lunch money or dealing with a bully? That’s usually the norm for elementary, but what about middle and high school kids? The pressures are much stronger for them.
My daughter’s first year of Junior High School was a tough one. She came home crying for the first few weeks, and again, ever so often, throughout the year. Apparently, over the summer, an alien spaceship captured her elementary friends and returned them to earth as mean, cruel, competitive creatures.
“What’s wrong with everybody?!” she demanded to know through her sobs and tears. “Everything was fine last year,” she continued. “Now, a person can’t talk right, walk right, dress right, or be right - ever!”
My heart broke for her. I reassured her that I knew what she was going through. I’ve been there, done that, and burnt the T-shirt!
I tried to explain that hormones were the biggest culprit. Kids are transforming into young adults and they are confused about who they are and the changes that are taking place. Developing an attitude is their way of disguising their fears and appearing as if they’ve got it all together. When in truth, they are simply trying to find their place in this new adventure called adolescence.
“It will be easy to conform to their way by developing an attitude to fit in, or by making wrong choices to appear more grown-up if you’re not careful,” I counseled my daughter. “Knowing who you are in Christ, and staying true to self, will get you through.” I reassured her.
After our talk, I couldn’t help but wonder how many times a day clothes, music, language or illegal substances are used to pressure our teens. Not to mention the pressure of fitting in or being left out? At this age, the opinion of their peers is very important to them, so they can easily be led astray.
Whether we realize it or not, our kids are carrying a heavy load piled on by their peers, television, school, and yes — even home.
In each of these areas, our kids are making quick decisions every day. Some of those choices may affect them for the rest of their lives.
Do you feel certain that your teens are equipped to make right decisions? What have you deposited in their spiritual bank accounts to draw from, when they are facing temptations?
It’s very important as parents to prepare your child to face the challenges he or she meets in this world. Here are a few things you and I can do to help:
Keep him or her knowledgeable and accountable about what’s right and wrong according to God’s Word. Role-play with your teen so he or she knows what to expect and how to respond ahead of time. A clear plan developed in advance could be the anchor in the midst of a dangerous situation.
Keep the communication lines open and get to know your child’s friends. Knowing who your teen’s friends are is key, and the only way to do that is by having an open house. Don’t worry about dishes in the sink or dust on the furniture. They will never notice. Kids are looking for a place to hang out and be themselves. Provide that atmosphere and you’ll be given a voice of influence into their lives.
Most of all, pray without ceasing. Pray a prayer like this everyday for your teen: “Dear Lord, I pray a hedge of protection around my child today. I ask that you send Godly relationships into his or her life and protect him or her from bad ones. I ask that you work in my child’s heart so that he or she will develop a keen sense of right and wrong according to Your Word. I pray that he or she will hate all that is evil and cling to that which is good. And guide my child, Lord, down the path of righteousness. Equip him or her with courage to make right choices even everyone else is choosing wrong. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, thank You for my child and the blessed gift of being his/her parent. Help me to be aware of my child’s daily stress, struggles, and temptations. I ask that You will give me the wisdom to guide him or her, and the energy to get involved on days I feel too tried to do so. Give my child a teachable heart that will receive my instruction and the strength that comes from knowing their parent is always on their side. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Here are some suggestions to help your teen through the growing years.
1. Keep talking. Use driving in the car and meal times to discuss your child’s day. Start by sharing yours first and they will be more likely to share theirs.
2. With your teen, pick a day on the calendar every month, or as often as you like, and make that day “hang-out with friends day,” where your house is open to your teen’s friends. Provide plenty of snacks.
3. Plan a date night with your teen once a week and do fun stuff together.
4. Remind your teen you love them unconditionally with your words and actions.
How has your child changed since he or she has entered school?
How aware are you of your teen’s daily pressures?
What are you doing to pursue an ongoing relationship with your child?
How often do you let your teen know that you’ve been where they are and that you understand what they are going through? How can doing this strengthen your relationship?
I Timothy 3:4,5, “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children, in subjection with all gravity; for if a man no not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? (KJV)
Psalms 127:3-5, “Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (KJV)
Proverbs 29:17, “Correct they son, and he shall give the rest; yes, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (KJV)
Isaiah 54:13, “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of they children.” (KJV)
Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (KJV)
Wise Up, by Rebecca Ingram Powell
Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids, by Sharon Jaynes
Personality Plus for Parents, by Littauer