Tuesday, April 19, 2011

5 Tips on Raising Teenagers!

5 Tips on Raising Teenagers! was that title of a recent blog post and article in the Western Recorder, the newspaper of the Kentucky Baptist Convention by Joe Ball...Youth Strategist for the KBC.

What struck me about this article was his openness and his honesty. You see we are friends and I have seen him do, say, and act out these things in his life and in his home. I write parenting blogs weekly and thought this one was extremely well written and wanted to share it with you in its entirety. Enjoy.

5 Tips on Raising Teenagers!
It seems that this season of ministry has me being asked a lot about parenting teenagers. I am sure some of that has to do with the season of life that Gina and I are in. In less than six weeks our youngest will turn twenty and we will no longer be the parents of teenagers. Wow, that doesn’t seem possible and that makes us proof that you can survive parenting teens.

I thought I would pass along some things that have been percolating in my soul about raising teens.

Understand you are not your parents. I love my parents dearly and am blessed beyond measure that God chose them for me, and I’m not just saying that because they read this article regularly. And even though my dad and I share a name we are not the same person. I strive to be like him in a lot of ways, but I am not him. And no matter how good or bad your parents were/are we are not them. We aren’t them and this isn’t the 1970”s so we cannot parent exactly how they did. We must sort through the “how” of our upbringing and become the parents we need to be for our children.

Remember your child is not you. This is tied directly to the first one yet deals with the other end of the spectrum. Just because we did or thought something at a certain age, doesn’t mean our children will do or think the same thing or respond in the same way we did at that age. Or just because a form of discipline did or didn’t work for us you does not mean it will have the same result on our child.

But probably where I see this the most is when it comes to sports or extra-curricular activities. I’ve seen countless students playing football, being involved in 4-H, band or dance just because that is an interest that parent has now or had as a teen. And it’s just not secular activities that we push are preference on, it happens in organizations and activities in church as well.

Each child is unique. I could write a book on this one, and probably several people have. But it is one area that we as parents have to work on the hardest. And in all honesty I think most of the issues here have to deal with us trying to be fair and not show favoritism. It usually plays out in, “well your sister didn’t get a cell phone until she was _________, so you’re not getting a cell phone until you’re _____________.” Or “your brother gets all A’s and B’s why can’t you”.

Each of us was created by God as unique individuals, with different talents, personalities, quirks, passions, skills, etc. While two students may be raised in the same house they are not raised in the same family. When Karen was born, she was an only child for almost 5 years, and then she became the older child. Jordan will never know what it is like to be the oldest child and his time as an “only child” came while he was in high school and his sister was away at college. One of our roles as parents is to help develop the uniqueness God created in each of our children.

Keep the end in mind. One of our primary roles as parents is too raise our children to be adults that follow God and have God’s eyes and heart for the world. I kept having to remind myself that some of the things that I saw in my kids that drove me crazy as a parent were things that would serve them well as an adult. While it drove me crazy that once Jordan made up his mind about something it was almost impossible to get him to change his mind. But when he became a teenager and was making more and more of his own decision and his friends had more and more of an influence on him, that that strong will was still there and that was a source of encouragement for me that he would stick to his guns and not be swayed by peer pressure.

Our job as parents is to disciple them along the way and to help them become the adults that God created them to be.

Enlist others along the way. Gina and I were both blessed in because our grandparents lived right down the street, and our first playmates were our cousins. We also had other adults in our lives that cared about who we were, knew are name, and looked out for us. As parent we can’t do this alone. Our children need the voice of others speaking truth into their lives. As a youth pastor I got the privilege of being “the other along the way” for countless students. My dad in his forty plus years as scoutmaster has gotten the same privilege for numerous boys. I will be forever grateful for those adults that spoke into the life of our children. Others are going to speak into the lives of our children, and I want them to be Godly men and women that will speak the truth of God into them.

You see!? Honesty and transparency when it comes to giving you 5 Tips on Raising Teenagers!

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