Helping Teens through the “tunnel” years – Whining Chap 8
If I could have received a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard “You just wait until they’re teenagers….” We’ be discussing this chapter from a cruise that I paid for…for all of us!!
If I could have a quarter for every time that people have told me that rebellion is totally required and totally necessary for a teenager to become an adult, I could take us all out to Starbucks….and still have enough to leave the tip.
If I could have a dime for the number of times I’ve been told that teens are a joy and a delight – and that they are THE BEST part of child hood, I MIGHT be able to buy myself a venti mocha….but I might have to throw in a few cents of my own.
I love teens. I think they’re fun – and funny – and they’re becoming incredibly interesting people. I also think that they are more adept at revealing my own sin than just about any other human on the face of the Earth – with the possible exception of Jeff. 🙂
I understand that the teen years are hard. Part of why I feel that they are so hard, is they are challenging us to determine what we’re REALLY committed to and what we’re only halfheartedly committed to.
So, does this mean that I have to lower my standards on their behavior? (gulp) Sometimes…for the moment. You see, I’ve been raised – and trained – that if you’re going to address a behavior issue you go after it – with a vengeance – NOW. Having teens has taught me that I must, instead, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to know when to address issues involving their hearts.
I’ve had to learn to be silent, allowing Father to do the training, rather than doing it myself. I have had to learn to take more things in prayer to the Throne and fewer things to my children. I have had to learn how NOT to lecture. (Let me rephrase that – I’m STILL learning how NOT to lecture.) And I’m learning self control – how to not respond in anger when I’d like to toink them square in the head. 😉
Yes, having teens is, on one hand, very hard – but on the other hand, sheer delight. We are very open in sharing the reasons for decisions that we have made for our children and the why of them, so that we can train them how to make some of those same type decisions on their own. We have had the privilege of having deep, rich conversations with these growing-quickly-into-adulthood people in our home. (Just a few weeks ago, in a discussion about lust, my son identified that he was able to see how lust takes so many different forms. He then pointed out that if it weren’t for lust, eBay would never have gotten off the ground. How I wish I had had that kind of wisdom – at 14!!!!!)
It is during these years that we ABSOLUTELY can not buy into the world’s lie that it’s “them” against “us.” Our children are not our enemies. No matter how they act, they are not!! (Nor how we act, we are not their enemies, either) They are given to us by our Heavenly Father for their good, for our GOOD and for Father’s glory. It is imperative that this remains our belief if we’re to make it through the tunnel, relationship intact. In fact, our focus needs to be on this: we are a team, standing together against sin in our lives – and standing together against sin in their lives.
I used to think that if we weren’t “against” them, that it meant we had to tolerate dishonoring behavior. That is not the case. I can honoringly demand (you would think those would be an oxymoron, wouldn’t you?) that my children speak in an honoring way, whether they feel like it or not. (And if they refuse? I simply tell them that I’m going to allow them some space to get their emotions under control – and then I pray for them while they are “cooling off.”)
I understand that there are many families that aren’t walking in the grace that we are experiencing with our teens. I have known many who have struggled greatly to bring their youth through the teen “tunnel” and into the light. Jeff and I know – and will freely say – we are reaping where we have not sown. Our children are INCREDIBLE evidence of Grace in our lives. Where we may have sown 10 seeds, we’re reaping 1000’s of fruit. Truly God has been kind to us. We pray we would be faithful with the remaining years with our bunch of Fruity Kiddos.
What have you been told about teenhood? What have you believed?
What did you think about their idea of a Teen Challenge? We did that with our oldest – not so much with our son, though. I wish I could see their actual challenge and what they asked of their children along with it.
How are you doing with all these changes to your parenting, now? Does it feel like it fits yet? Where are you struggling? Do you have someone who is praying for you as you make these changes? Holding you accountable?
How is/are your child/ren responding to the changes that this book is birthing in you?