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The Turbulent Teens
Photo: Julia Pivovarova
Teens will say what they really want is someone to believe in them and encourage them. They want someone to look up to, and often don’t find an acceptable role model at home. Teens are looking for stability in the adults around them and too often they don’t find it. They say even a phone call from grandparents means a lot. It seems grandmas and grandpas are often looked upon as role models, too.

Teens face pressures we adults often don’t take seriously. Their bodies are changing; they have to adjust to the new person they see in the mirror. They feel different; they become interested in sex. Self-doubt can be constant. They feel the pressure to conform and fear ridicule if they don’t. There is pressure from all sides. As wise adults we must work to help reduce this pressure, especially at home.

Teens Need a Refuge

When teenagers are crying out to be treated as adults, they especially need a refuge at home. Though they will deny it passionately, they need structure, limits, lots of help sorting out their lives and most importantly, love.

Here are some simple yet important things to remember as we raise our children:

1. Kids get their sense of right and wrong from people they love and respect. The values parents exhibit as well as teach have a lasting impact.

2. Kids today have a “show me” mentality. Respect for life, people, honesty and integrity are values kids learn from watching their parents and grandparents.

3. Teach your kids to love and respect themselves as children of God. When kids lose respect for themselves they often turn to addictions and negative behavior.

4. Never put a child down by demeaning words or comments. Treat them with respect and they will learn to respect you.

5. Don’t treat minor mishaps as major catastrophes. Choose the important issues when confronting your teen, and keep your home from being a battlefield.

Most of us were never taught to be parents. We often disappoint ourselves. And when our kids become teenagers, the task gets even more challenging. Communication becomes more difficult and less available. This is where we need wisdom from God to deal with issues that seems irresolvable. Too often we become combatant because “the kid just doesn’t seem to care what I think.” And they probably don’t care that much. You are like someone from another planet to them, and connecting intellectually is often futile.  

Yes, God gave us the blessed yet horrifying task of raising our children to love God and care about other people. Will we fail? Yes, but don’t give up. Learn all you can about raising your children. The more you lovingly train them when they are young, the less problems will confront you in those later “terrible teen” years. So take heart. You’ll probably live through it all. And then you will possibly become what I have: a better grandparent than I was a parent.

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By David Snyder. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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