Raising a godly teenager in this ungodly world can be challenging. You might think they deal with temptations far beyond what you had to deal with at their age, but evil is still evil. With technology and society moving forwards and backward, it can be difficult to know how to even begin raising your teen in a respectful and godly manner. NuWell is here to help with a few tips that will help both you and your teen!
Love Them: This one could seem obvious, but that’s the complicated part about it. Our actions can speak much louder than words when it comes to how we express love, especially to our children. The right attitude can make all the difference. Does each conversation leave you or them mentally exhausted? Consider ways to engage your teenager differently than you normally would. Communicate with love first. Variety is the spice of life!
Respect Them: Be careful in speaking to your teen and about them, especially in front of their friends. Kids of all ages (especially teens) learn by watching and listening; your respectful and honorable tone will go a long way with your teen. While as a parent, you’re more mentally and emotionally mature than your teen, part of respecting them is understanding their boundaries and that they are still developing themselves as individuals and in their faith. What could be a playful tease to you may be offensive to them. Respect your teen as someone who is just learning what it means to be an adult and a Christian.
Have a Few Clear Rules: We can say we don’t like rules, but everyone benefits when boundaries and limits are clearly established. Every household will have specific rules, but ensure they are few and straightforward. Some families can maintain a single-rule household (such as be home from any activity by 11 pm sharp), while others, especially those with multiple children, might have several. Regardless, the rules should establish the parent’s expectations for the teenager but be created out of love instead of spite. Becoming too controlling can turn a teen against their parents during this critical development time, and they need to be allowed to experience the world, albeit in a safe and godly way. Ephesians 6:4 explicitly tells us not to provoke our children.
Engage Them: Engage in conversation; “What did you do in school?” doesn’t count. If your only conversation with them is commanding them to do chores or do things for you, this will turn off any interest a teen has in talking with their parent. Learn what they’re interested in, and talk with them about it. If they’re engaging in ungodly or worrying activities, take time to talk and pray together about them instead of going on the offensive. Let them speak and learn to listen, and you’d be surprised what you may learn!
Be a Role Model: Be an example of how you want them to live. Pass on your relationship with God through your actions and words by speaking and doing with love first. “Rules for thee, not for me” should not be your attitude while raising your teenager. Are you living how you want them to live? Remember that in this critical developmental time, they’ll mirror the dominant behaviors they observe in their life. If you’re going to raise your teens in a godly manner, you and your spouse should be slow to anger and quick to listen and embody the patience and love of Christ to the best of your abilities.
Affirm Their Good Works: Everyone needs reassurance, none more than a teenager. While they seek to be independent and discover themselves, they must also know they are loved and appreciated. If they make good grades, excel in a sport, or even just take out the trash without being asked, praise them for their outstanding work.
Raising a teenager can be the most challenging time in the life of any family, and every family is different. NuWell Christian Counseling is here to help teens and parents discover themselves and walk together on this new life path. Using faith-centered counseling methods, NuWell is equipped to help teens and families grow together and with God.