Parenting Teens and Being Successful? Part 5

This is the fifth post in the series. In this post I am going to discuss parents, teens and the Bible. 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.


If your reading this and you’re thinking what’s next, you have discussed much of what it means to be a parent.  How does how you interact with God affect your teen?  How does your active faith affect your teen?

I want to start by quoting Paul Tripp,

The best way to understand a teen is to understand yourself. (JBC, On Parenting)

Do you know your strengths and weaknesses in your relationship with God?  Do you know if your attitude is affected based on the time you spend in God’s Word?  The same reactions apply to your teen.  If you think that your teen can function in a different manner than you do or expect them to, you are setting yourself up for failure.  It is like looking in the mirror.

There is a lie that hurts teens and their relationship with God.  Specifically,

God’s law is like a fence to them–it keeps them away from the good things they want…The child that presses his face against that fence believes a significant lie; the good stuff is out there but God and parents are keeping him from it.  I want my teen to know nothing he could possibly desire compares with wisdom.

Now the lie is that the best stuff is beyond the fence that God and parents put up.  Rules that parents have for teens.  That is not at all what wisdom from God is about.  Read to what Proverb 3 tells us about wisdom,

Proverbs 3:13-18,

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
    and the one who gets understanding,
 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
    and her profit better than gold.
 She is more precious than jewels,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
    and all her paths are peace.
 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
    those who hold her fast are called blessed. (ESV)

As a parent we need to desperately cling to these words from Proverbs.  When we focus on the lines not to cross presented in Scripture we lose sight that we are dealing with a heart issue.  We are not keeping our children from joy, but instead want what’s best for them as we seek to follow God’s Will presented in His Word.

We have created teens that are legalistic.  They are driven by what not to do, instead of being driven by what to do.  Wisdom tells us what to do, simple as that.  There is no fence, there is Grace.  Too many times as a parent we don’t focus on what the Bible tells us about who we are.  In doing that we get lost.

A lot of parenting is reactive. It’s not goal-driven…Scripture expects us to move well beyond reactive parenting.  Scripture sets up deeper goals.

Teenagers need to be challenged about what governs them.  Teens have three idols: appearance, possessions, and acceptance. I want them to understand what is really going on in their hearts and lives. (JBC, On Parenting)

When we react rather than being intentional with parenting we get lost in behaviors.  Wisdom from Scripture tells us:

Ecclesiastes 1:9,  What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (ESV)

The idols your teen has are not new.  Their hearts, until God takes a hold of them, are ruled by appearance (having the “right” clothes, looking a certain way for their social group), possessions (having the latest technology, the “right” car,  the “it” item), and acceptance (following rules or not, trying to be at parties, having a girlfriend or boyfriend).  All of these can be summarized in a desire for our identity to be found in status.  Our status among others defines us.  But our hearts and lives are not defined by that in Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-10, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

Our identity is found in Christ and not in status.  Our good works are only through Jesus Christ.  We as parents need to walk in them.

Write down a verse or verses that you want for your teen.  They might be promises that God has for us.  Pray over your children those verses.  Find a time and share those with your teen.  Share your hopes and dreams grounded in what Scripture says.

You can start today with your teen, reading through the bible.  Challenge them to do it with you.  Here is a link to multiple reading plans: Click Here

Next week I will be posting the sixth and final part of this series titled “The Instrumental Parent” 

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