Got teens? Me too! Two are out of their teens now, and another two have entered them. There are some days when I wonder what I did wrong—but most days, I remember the words of my friend, “just do the next thing.” We can’t be driven by our emotions, our by theirs! (That last part is the hard part.)
I am in the book of Hebrews, chapter 3 verses 12 through 13. It says,
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
These verses are an excellent reminder to those of us who are raising teenagers. They remind us that we need to be having a constant conversation with our children. Constant. If we don’t, other voices will become the predominant ones.
The Bible warns us about if we let time go by without having honest conversations with our kids, we open them up to temptation and wrong direction. Most parents (me included!) want to to come home from work and just relax and unwind. As a work-at-home mom, I can tell you, the hardest part of my day is between dinner and bedtime. The fact that I want to go to bed is of little consequence to our teens. But get this: my husband and I have discovered that when we are in constant conversation with our kids, we know what’s going on in their hearts and minds.
As parents, we need to be keeping our finger on the pulse on our children’s relationships with other people and their relationship with the Lord. We can’t do that if we’re not talking to them.
One thing that we told our older children, and now our son (who is a junior in high school), is that one of our goals as parents is to help our kids get to adulthood without regret. That means we help them navigate through their friendships.
Yes, that means we steer them towards healthy friendships that we think would be good for them and away from friends who we believe would not be good for them.
Why? Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
It is so important to have constant conversations with our older children. What’s more important though, is for us to realize that these conversations don’t just happen. We make them happen by a daily pursuit of our children. This daily pursuit doesn’t have to be a negative thing or something that your teenager dreads. Rather, it should be a loving and encouraging habit you develop. One that both teen and parent grow to appreciate.
Don’t just talk to your kids when you’re frustrated with them. Talk to them about the things you see them doing well, about the kids they are hanging out with and who they are choosing to associate with. Talk about the music they listen to, the movies they watch and the dreams they have for their futures.
Have conversations with your older kids, busy moms! Engage with your kids as they engage in the culture. Pursue your teens. The payoff will be worth the effort.