6 Affirmations Your Teen Needs to Hear When They're Blowing It
- Jessica Van Roekel Author of Reframing Rejection
- 2020 10 Mar
I write this article to encourage you, dear parent, on how to affirm your teen when they blow it, when I myself struggle with this very thing.
I struggle to find the words I need to express my disappointment over my teen’s behavior, while still encouraging them in what they do right and who they are as a person made in God’s image.
But that’s hard, you know?
As the years go by, I discover more challenges to this parenting gig. There’s a letting go when I want to hold on tight. There’s being a safe place, while still coaching them in the things of life.
It’s trusting God with their lives and hearts and believing that he cares more for them than I can imagine. It’s tempting to give up when we don’t know what to do.
Instead, let’s link arms while we find ways to affirm our teens even when they blow it.
But First, Help for Your Heart
Before I get into the list of affirmations for your teen’s heart, I want to address your heart.
Your heart might be feeling all kinds of things when you discover your teen’s been blowing it. You might feel disappointed because of their choices. You might feel rejected because they blatantly chose something that they knew you would disapprove of.
You might feel as though it’s “all your fault” and that “you messed up big time.” And maybe you’re like me and you see one event linked to possible future events that finds your son or daughter completely lost.
I want you to know this: the same grace that God gives us when we mess up is the same grace God gives our kids when they mess up. The challenging part is relying on and receiving that grace.
I am a work in progress. You are too. And so are our children.
How Does God Deal with Us When We Mess Up?
Three words come to mind: kindness, gentleness, and specificity. It is God’s kindness that draws us to repentance.
He is gentle with guiding our hearts, and he is specific. He is specific in revealing where we misstepped or missed the mark. Righteousness—right-living—is part of growing as a Christian.
I’ll miss the mark, you’ll miss the mark, and our kids will miss it. The key is how we respond.
If we refuse God’s grace when we mess up—if we harden our hearts to hearing his voice, or justify our behavior—how much harder is it to receive his forgiveness? And if we can’t receive his forgiveness than how will we know grace and if we don’t know grace, how will we extend it
These are the questions that scurry through my mind in the middle of hard talks with my teens. And they are the questions I ponder when I screw up.
But even though we mess up as parents, that doesn’t mean that we recuse ourselves from guiding and teaching our teens. I know it seems like they don’t want us in their lives, but they do.
Studies prove that a teen’s security grows in proportion to their parent’s involvement. It’s one of those situations where we sow seeds and wait for them to grow.
Today, if your teen is blowing it, I want to encourage you with a list of affirmations that you can speak to your teen:
1. "God made you on purpose for a purpose."
In a world driven by social media, peer pressure skyrockets along with the feeling of isolation. Our teens are more connected than ever, but still feel so alone.
A seemingly secure teen can struggle with feelings of worthlessness and wonder if they have purpose. The need to hear our reassuring words, even in the midst of great uncertainty about themselves and their future, that there is a plan and purpose for them.
Psalm 138:7-8: Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.
2. "It’s okay to not be okay."
We live in a world where okay isn’t good enough. The pressure to present perfect to the world crushes our kids and demoralizes them when they don’t live up to internal and external expectations.
But we can reassure our kids that it’s okay to not be okay. Struggles are part of life and admitting struggles is one way to allow God and parents into the conversation they have with themselves. Growth is a process that takes time and sometimes we’re not okay, and that’s okay.
Psalm 62:8: Trust in him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
3. "I love you."
Three simple words hold great power.
These words mean nothing without action to back them up. And they mean everything if our actions supports our words.
We say I love you even when our teens shrug us off. We persist in loving them because God models this persistence towards us.
God doesn’t stop loving us when we screw up.
He persists in love because he first loved us. We respond to that love. Our teens need us to make the first move towards loving them despite their actions.
1 John 3:11: For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
4. "I won’t give up on you."
By stating over and over that we won’t give up on our teens instills in them that there’s someone who has their back.
One of Satan’s greatest tricks is to deceive the human race into believing they are alone. And once he has his prey alone, he swoops in to steal, kill, and destroy.
But isolation is the path to that place. We need to let our teens know that we won’t give up on them, even if they laugh in our face, pull away from us, or do everything in their power to get us to give up on them.
Be steadfast and have their backs.
1 Corinthians 15:58: Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
5. "I’m praying for you."
Prayer is the most effective tool God gives to us. It’s the way we communicate with him and it’s one of the ways our lives change.
There’s something powerful when our teens hear us praying for them. It softens our hearts towards one another and towards God and what he might want to do through the difficult journeying toward adulthood that many of us and our teens find ourselves in.
Ephesians 1:16-18: I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people...
6. "It’s okay to start again."
Have you noticed that we quit too soon?
We quit before the end because the middle gets ruthless, little knowing that the synergy of time in the middle coupled with our perseverance provides plenty of opportunities to begin again.
It’s in the middle where we seem to experience our greatest failures, but that doesn’t mean we quit.
Our teens are stretching their wings of independence. They’re finding their footing on their way to adulthood and they will stumble and fall.
Sometimes it feels like starting over is impossible. But God’s mercies are new every morning and we can be the voice that reminds our kids of that truth.
Lamentations 3:19-23: I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
In the parenting pilgrimage, parents and their teens disappoint each other. Each party will blow it.
Both will overreact and make choices that don’t better the relationship. But God’s grace is big enough and bold enough to redeem our mistakes and missteps.
2 Corinthians 9:8 states, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
May God give us wisdom and grace as we parent our teens and encourage them when they blow it. And may his grace fill your heart with hope as you affirm your teen.
Jessica Van Roekel leads worship in her local church and writes at www.welcomegrace.com. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future and writes about the transforming power of grace. Jessica lives in a rural setting surrounded by farmland and her husband and children. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/shironosov
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.