Parenting Teens in a Post-Christian World

Here are some principles to help you raise your teens to become the person God created them to be!

Reverse engineer your goal 

Help our children grow up to become followers of Jesus who make a difference in the world
How we raise them determined by our goal for them. 
If you look at what you talk with them about, what you have them doing, what does your child think is your goal?
To be happy?
A Professional athlete?
A Dancer?
An Actor?
A Doctor? 
A man or woman who loves God and loves people?

When I think about what God has to say about parenting, Deuteronomy 6:5-7 comes to mind. It’s a passage that tells of a time when Moses stood before the Israelites and addressed all the parents. He said:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.Impress them on your children.Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,when you lie down and when you get up.”

What we can learn is that even from the very beginning, Moses knew that the people who have the greatest impact of passing on God’s truth to the future generations are the parents, not the priests or rabbis. In fact, when your kids were little, you actually spent more time in the car traveling with your child in a month than your church spent with your child in an entire year on Sunday mornings. No one will have more opportunities to impact your child than you. So, here’s two points that I really want you to hear.

#1 – You won’t be a perfect parent.

And God knows that. But God is full of grace and mercy, andHe will fill in the gaps. He knows that you will not be perfect.The intent of today is not to hold you up to some kind of impossible standard, but to encourage you to be real about your relationship with God. To put things in your life that challenge you to grow in your own personal relationship with Him.

Seek to grow in your own relationship with God.
Seek to grow in your relationship with your spouse.
Seek to grow in your relationship with your children.

#2 – You are not alone.

Raising children is not easy, and the best parents don’t do it alone. That’s why we want you to know that we are here to partner with you. We truly care about the spiritual growth of your child, and we want to be your strongest support and biggest fan. 

The truth is that good parenting doesn’t happen by accident. It’s intentional. 

Consider what qualities, habits, and behaviors that you value in life and want to make a priority in your home and what kind of person you hope your child will become over the next 18years.

Kids shift their attention from parents to friends when they become teenagers.

Take advantage of what Gateway does provide – Sunday inspire services, Youth Group, serving opportunities, Camp, Go Teams

#3 – God gave this child to you because the best version of you is what he or she needs.

Consider this: God put this little in your home because you are the best one to help him or her.

“God began by making one person, and from him came all the different people who live everywhere in the world. God decided exactly when and where they must live. God wanted them to look for him and perhaps search all around for him and find him, though he is not far from any of us.” – Acts 17:26-27

Pray for your kids, their friends, their future spouse!!
Let God guide you in every way with your teens.

#4 – Say yes to spending time with your teen any time you can.

Opens up opportunities for open conversation.
Get to know what your teen enjoys.
Date nights, Hang Out time, Family time

Not every child is the same!

#5 – Help them learn to spend time with God.

Spend time with God together.

Praying while driving or hiking.

Share what you are learning from God over dinner.

Discuss the message from Sunday over lunch.

Watch The Chosen together.

Family Movie Night – discuss what they liked, what they didn’t like, what mistakes the characters made, what the characters could have done better.

Limit screen time.

#6 – Have the hard conversations sooner than later and keep having them (in different ways).

Examples – sex outside of marriage, alcohol or drugs

When talking with our kids about these subjects, we used phrases like the following and adjusted to the next phrase as they got older:

“That’s not who we are.”
“That’s not God’s best for us.”
“This is what I learned from my mistakes. I care for you and don’t want you to experience the same pain I experienced.”
“This is what sociologists say or scientists say.” (For example, Living Together Increases Your Odds of Divorce)

Know when to listen and when to discuss. 

Ask more questions than give answers.

Be willing to let them be wrong, yet still love them.

Better they make mistakes when living with you than after.

Never give up on them.

Raise them to be part of the solution for their own problems and help others with their problems.

#7 – Entrust them to God.

Ultimately, we have to trust God with them. They are gift to us. They have to decide how they will relate to God. We can do our part, and entrust the rest to Him.

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