This is the fourth post in the series. This post I am going to discuss the attitude of a parent. Check out the other posts in the series on the main page.
We all want to be successful, as parents we are many times lost as to what that means with teenagers. I am going to work through some biblical principles that will point us to success with parenting teens.
Our attitudes as parents set the tone for our teens lives. Waking up and having a bad attitude will not just affect your teens but your entire outlook on life. Does the bible directly address our attitudes? It does with our relationship with God and with others.
Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (ESV)
All of those are attitudes of the heart. We have attitudes that compete with the fruit of the Spirit. How often as a parent are we not patient? How often are we not gentle with our teen? How often are we unkind? You get the picture. So what do we need to know to make our mission having the right attitude about parenting teens?
“Every teenager is also a sinner trying to learn how to live in God’s world and the kindness of Christ–hopefully learning what it means to be godly and learning about the dangers of sin.” (JBC, On Parenting)
Teenagers are not your enemy. They are just like you, sinners in need of the grace of God that came through Jesus Christ. They are different than that baby you raised. Their lives now to not revolved around you and your pursuits. They are trying to find their own pursuits. In fact I personally like the term young adult better than teenager. Teenager is a rather recent term in the history of language with the first known usage in 1921. Think of your teen as a young adult. They want to make it out on their own. But as a parent this means our hardest moments are yet to come.
“…I never expected that becoming a parent meant I would have to lay my life down for my children. But that’s exactly what God calls me to do. My redemption not only cost Christ His glory; it also cost Him His life. Christ models how I need to live as someone redeemed with costly love.” (JBC, On Parenting)
I confess, I am not a parent of a teen. At one point I was personally responsible for multiple teens but that is nothing compared to the emotions produced by your own flesh and blood. At the birth of my daughter I was overcome by emotion, tears of joy flooded my eyes. I would do anything righteous for her. Maybe you have adopted, what was it like the first day your son or daughter came home?
My prayer is that we as parents don’t get lost in our agenda, but get lost in God’s agenda for us as parents.
“We must come to a position where we say, “Nothing that I will ever be or do will rival the importance of God’s work in the formation of my children’s souls. Nothing is more important than that. That demands some hard choices.” (JBC, On Parenting)
Our mind about our families have to change. Our lifestyle has changed so much. For example:
“What man today would call his boss and say, “I’m going to be two hours late because I’m sorting out a difficult problem in our home and it needs to be dealt with now.” Instead, you say to your wife, “I can’t talk about that now because I have to be on time for work.” (JBC, On Parenting)
Guilty as charged. Its not always dad, it might be mom. This is not something that comes easy; taking the time to prioritize your family and your teens before your career takes intentional parenting. As parents, we need to set the priority of God forming the heart and soul’s of our children above all else. For you this might mean accepting a demotion at work so you can spend more time with your young adult. This might mean switching careers so you can spend time with your family. This might mean blocking off time that is for family.
Sit down with your husband or wife (if your married) or with someone you trust. Start with prayer, because God is the God of all wisdom. You might need to make major changes to align yourself with God’s plan for your teen. Make a list of what is important and take steps to get to where your attitudes in parenting your teens match up with the fruit of the Spirit. Ask lots of how questions: How can I be loving to our teen? How can I…? Pray about the steps you are going to take. God is the one that can change you and your teen!
Next week I will be posting the fifth part of this series titled “Parents, Teens, and the Bible?”