Have you ever wondered, is my teenager from another world?
It seems like something happens once our kids hit 13 that changes everything. Sometimes we don’t know if they are aliens or filled with the devil. Some mornings, you don’t know what you’re going to get, and you strategize how to navigate whatever comes your way. Then, getting them to open them up and share what’s going on can be like prying open a locked door, one that won’t budge.
Have you ever been there?
The truth is, what our kids are navigating right now, is something you and me as parents have never dealt with. The level of temptation and access to wrong things is at a level we never dreamt of when we were teenagers. So, to be fair, and it’s not easy going through the awkward phase of becoming an adult; not to mention all they have access to.
However, the challenges we have parenting teenagers can be just as intense as what they are facing. This combination can cause tension in our relationship, and ultimately, pull them away from us.
So, are you fighting your teenager?
There’s no doubt it can feel like we are. But the truth is, we are fighting something beyond what we see. The real enemy is the devil, and his agenda is to steal, kill and destroy. He is the father of lies and the author of confusion. His intent is to cause division, chaos, pain and devastation.
This is who we are fighting against, and this is who is fighting against our teenagers.
When we know who our enemy is, we can know how to fight and how to win.
The Bible says in Ephesians 6:10-11,
“10. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 11. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Notice, God has armor for us and the enemy has strategies against us. Therefore, we must be sober and vigilant for ourselves and our teenagers, so we can defeat our enemy.
1 Peter 5:8 says this,
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
Notice, the devil roams around trying to devour someone; however, God never sleeps, and he watches over us and our teenagers ALL the time.
So, how do we navigate our relationship with our teenagers?
This is big because, it’s possible to grow with our teenagers and develop a bond that will never be broken.
First, we want to have open communication.
This happens through intentional listening and having moments where they can share freely with us. This must be initiated by us as parents. We set the tone, and we create the environment for this to happen.
We do this by not lecturing them every time they share something. We also validate what they’re feeling and lead them through irrational thoughts and ideas. They need us to help them process through wrong stuff. They also need us to be there and to have their back no matter what.
They must know, they are more important to us, than their performance. We want their heart!!
Second, we lead by example.
It’s very important that we model humility in the moment with our kids. This means if we get it wrong, we apologize. We seek to make it right with them and build bridges in the things we get right and in the things we get wrong.
We also model putting God first.
Being the same person in private as we are in public is one of the greatest things we can give to our kids. If they know that we are real and sincere, they will open up their heart to God. Conversely, if they see a fake performance, they will shut down and tune God out.
When we keep God first in our lives, we will lead our families to healthy community, to spiritual support, and to a team of people that can help us with our teenagers. When God is first, things will not be perfect, but they will be in order. When this happens, God can bless what we’re doing and help us step-by-step with being a parent.
I believe our kids don’t want us to be perfect, because they know we’re not. I believe they don’t want us to have all the answers, because they know we don’t. I also believe they don’t want to us to bout their love, because they know it doesn’t work.
What they really want, is us!!!
Right now, our teenagers need us more than ever. We are tempted to be just as distracted as they are, but we must focus and give our attention to them. The time is now, and we must know who we are really fighting. It’s not our teenagers, it’s our enemy, the devil.
When we know our enemy, we can defeat our enemy.
There’s no doubt God gave us our teenagers, and he gave us what we need to parent them well. So I encourage you, facilitate open communication and lead by example. It may not change in a moment, but be consistent. God is moving through your love and efforts. Underneath what you’re seeing is a person who has a great purpose in God.
So I pray that what God has planned fully happens, and that their purpose be fulfilled.
Have a great day, and the best is yet to come,