Parenting teens and young adults are challenging, can I get a witness? I just thought parenting little people was tough, but that was the easy job. Little people want to please and pretty much do what you tell them to do, but when they get older and can make choices for themselves, it gets much trickier to navigate as a parent. I don’t claim to have all the answers, and I can’t give you a guaranteed formula that works.
I simply offer some wisdom that I have gleaned over the past 25 years of parenting in hopes that it will help you too!
Start Early -Parenting older kids really begins when they are very young. Teach your child to walk with the Lord at a very early age. Establish boundaries and be consistent. Show them love and respect. Teach them right from wrong, and model for them how to walk. Children are far more likely to do what they see us do, then do what we tell them to do.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.– Proverbs 22:6
Open Communication– How well do you really know your kids? Do you know what has the affections of your young person’s heart? Do you have their heart? Do they share their hearts with you?
Be genuine with your kids.
Keeping lines of communication open with your young people is of the utmost importance. Our kids need to know that they can trust us with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment. Keeping lines of communication open is critical. When our eldest son was in college he lived at home with us and commuted to the University. Since young people are night owls, this made for many late night conversations, but these conversations were critical. Our kids need to know that they can come to us.
Our kids need to know that they can trust us with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgment.
Keeping lines of communication open is critical. When our eldest son was in college he lived at home with us and commuted to the University, and this made for many late night conversations, but these conversations were critical. Our kids need to know that they can come to us when they have problems, need counsel or make mistakes.
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23
Be Involved – We have to be involved in their lives. Life is hectic, and we can get caught up in living, but we can’t just go on auto-pilot with them as they grow. We need to know who their friends with and what their character is like. We become most like those we hang around with, so we need to help them choose their friends wisely.
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
In the digital age, it is essential to know how they spend their time online, and you need to make sure that you are monitoring those activities carefully. Know who they are associated with, what app’s they are using, and where they are spending their time online and how much time they are spending inline. Limiting use and making course corrections over time as needed.
Pray without Ceasing – This goes without saying but is probably the most important thing we can do for our teens and young adults. The enemy would like nothing more than to deceive our kids. He is cunning and sneaky and attacks us at our weakest moments. Covering our children in prayer at every age is vital, especially when they beginning driving or as they fly from the nest. It is an honor and privilege to pray for our children, and one we should not take for granted.
It is an honor and privilege to pray for our children, and one we should not take for granted. Pray bold specific prayers for your kids, and keep them continually covered in prayer.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
Let Go – Let go and let God. Once we have done our job, it is time for us to release them to the Lord’s care. This is a lot easier said than done, but it is the natural order of things.
I wrote about this in a previous post, Learning to Let Go, I wrote, “How do you love them with every fiber of your being and then simply just let go? By entrusting them to the care of Jesus. I will always be their mother, and no matter how old they are, they will always be my little boys, but I need to let them go so that they can become the men God created them to be.”
Raising productive responsible young adults really begins by training them from a very young age in how they should walk, it requires us to keep open lines of communication and be available to talk to them at all hours of the day and night. Continually monitoring and involvement in their lives while they are living under our roofs, so that we can make corrections before they drift too far afield. Then when we have done all that we can do to raise them well, we fervently pray for them and let go and entrust them to Jesus.