Teenagers are Awesome

From my weekly column

I don’t write a lot about having teenagers. If you have some yourself, you understand. Teenagers are wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But it’s complicated. Having teenagers is every bit as grand as having little ones, but those growing pains aren’t as easy to share publicly.

But keeping quiet on life with teenagers can give people the wrong impression. A lot of people are scared of teenagers I think, or misunderstand them. And there’s a lot about having teenagers these days that can be scary. The kids themselves are great, but the culture is daunting.

Someone recently forwarded an article from the New York Times, all about the apps for smartphones that teenagers use. The worst part? Kids can hide this stuff from adults, so that even the most proactive, involved parents might be unaware of what their child is exposed to (or involved in).

It is scary raising teenagers — children in general — or it can be. If you gave me three minutes I could list in rapid fire all the things in the world to be afraid of, things facing our kids that we didn’t have to face. It’s terrifying, actually, when you stop to think about it.

But before I get too carried away, I want to share with you a few things I’ve learned in this journey of parenthood. I don’t have it all figured out (for sure!), but these things I know to be true.

When dealing with your teens, operate out of love, not fear. Don’t be afraid, scripture reminds us again and again. We have to apply that to every area of our life — especially parenting. Make love your aim, and even when times are tough you will have peace.

God loves your children more than you ever could. It seems crazy but it’s true. Don’t forget that as you proceed on this journey. You are God’s favorite — and so is your teen!

Your kid will mess up. It’s gonna be okay. God allows us to make mistakes, and He gives us grace to learn lessons in the midst of that.

Remember who you were as a teen — even if you were really, really good and always made great choices. I realized recently that I was starting to have a higher standard for my older boys than I had for myself! It’s not that I want them to be perfect, but I don’t want my children to suffer being separated from God. I have to remember they too are on a journey — and God’s working with them just like he’s working with me.

You and your spouse are on the same team. Early on in parenting, Paul and I saw how important it was for us to be in unity. If we had a chink in our armor, the Balducci boys would overtake us. Turns out that was an opportunity to be ready for these years with teenagers, when there isn’t time for us to be at odds with each other. In those tricky parenting moments (which always feel so spur of the moment) it’s nice knowing Paul and I are together in this adventure.

Your kid is not the only one struggling. If he or she is going through a hard season, just know it’s part of the growing process. Some struggles are certainly more serious than others, but if that’s where you are at, that’s okay too. There is nothing too big — or too small – for God.

Finally, the devil loves for us to feel isolated and alone. Pray for protection against the wickedness and snares of his lies. You are not the worst parent with the worst kid. Get behind me, Satan!

Lord, give us a heart of love and eyes to see the goodness of our children. Remind us how special they are to you, and that you have a plan for each one of them. We don’t have all the answers, but we trust and believe that you will give us everything we need.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

Comments

  1. Yes! What a great post! I often have to remind myself that God loves my kids more than I do and that we are all going to be okay.

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