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Getting through those Rebellious Teen Years

You go home from the hospital with that cute little bundle of love wrapped in your arms. Babies are totally helpless and dependent upon you for their every need. You do all the thinking, deciding and choosing for them. And then comes the pre-teen/teen years. You had no idea that this bundle of joy could slam the door in your face and tell you they hate you. “Where did I go wrong?” you will ask. The truth is that no matter how good a parent you think you may be, rebellion is a natural part of a sinful nature. It just seems to rear its ugly head right around the time a child is beginning to become more independent. As children grow, parents go through a transition from “rule makers” to “advice givers.” When I was going through this time of rebellion, I jotted down some notes and tucked them inside my Bible so that I might refer back to them often and hopefully give advice to others who were going to enter the rebellious years.

These are some things that helped me to get through the difficult rebellious teen years as a parent.

  • Be available. This is one of the most important tips I can offer.

  • Be available and approachable to listen. Try not to be defensive or a lecturer but just listen before responding. Listen calmly no matter what they tell you or when they confess a terrible sin to you. Stay calm especially with a hormonal teenage girl. Pray for God’s peace. Philippians 4:6-7

  • Be available to guard and to guide. If you’re not around at home when sinful temptations arise then you can’t guard them from it and guide them toward the right choices. I especially enjoyed the time I had in the car driving them places. They were “trapped” and we could talk and I could listen and guide. Pray for wisdom daily. James 1:5-6

  • Treat them as unbelievers. Be a good witness of Christ with your words and with your actions. Witness to them every chance you get.

  • Love them unconditionally. This is hard because they can be treating you badly but dig deep to love them with the love of Christ. You may hate the sin but you love the sinner.

  • Build a good relationship during the good times – especially a girl with her mother and a boy with his father – but not exclusively.

  • Model a good relationship between your spouse and yourself.

  • Stay firm but loving. Consistency is always important in parenting. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page with the rules. Stay firm with rules and use punishments that will instruct them rather than just exasperate them. I know that we would come up with a punishment on the fly and it really didn’t fit the “crime” so we backed down later. Think it through before you pass along the judgment. Punish swiftly but think through the punishment as I mentioned above. Have “rap” sessions where you discuss with your child how they broke the rules and what the consequences should be. The discipline time is usually a good time to teach and instruct because they are at your mercy. Ephesians 6:4.

  • This one should be higher on the list. Prayer is important. Pray for strength, for wisdom, for stamina. Have others pray for you without giving them too many details. I Thessalonians 5:17.

  • Seek wise counsel. A godly, older couple who has been through it is a good place to start. Someone who can be an encouragement not just agree that your kids are horrible. Proverbs 1:5.

  • Stay focused. Stay in the Word. Go there daily for strength and wisdom. Let your child see you as you devote yourself to God through the reading of His Word and prayer.

Remember that God is in control. What if they don’t emerge successfully through the rebellion and they make some poor choices that affect their future? Remember that it is ultimately not your fault. As an individual, they have a choice. Don’t blame yourself. Be faithful to the Word of God.

Guest Author:

Jeanette Swanson

is a loving mother of two now-adults (not to mention, mom of the creator of this blog!) who knows from experience how to get through those teen years. Let's be wise and hold fast these truths and learn from her experience - we are not alone! Mom's of younger kids, build your spiritual equity now and pray for their teen years even now.

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