Being a teenager is a confusing phase in any youngster’s life. That’s the time when young people are trying to find their identity that is independent of adult supervision and control. Add raging hormones and peer pressure to the mix, and you have teenaged kids on your hands who question every decision made for them. Like pastors Garrett & Andrea Booth at Grace Church Houston recommend, by using religion, prayer, and the sense of belonging to a community, you can help your child get through those difficult years and grow up to be a responsible, well-balanced adult.
Are you wondering how to guide your children through the transition? Here’s how.
Create an Atmosphere of Love and Trust in Your Home
Build a circle of complete love and trust in your home and an atmosphere where they can come to you with any queries and doubts they have. Most importantly, teenaged kids need security and the confidence that they are cherished and protected. Encourage open dialog with regular visits to your church or place of worship where children are introduced to the presence of a Diving Being who watches over and takes care of them. Who is God? Where is He? How do we reach out to Him? These are the common questions that all kids have and religion, and prayer can help answer them. Do keep in mind that the best way to teach your kids is by setting an example. Praying and respecting your Maker encourages your children to do the same.
Protect Your Kids from the Worst Pitfalls of their Teenage Years
Teenage years are when kids are going through physical changes and are trying to find them just as these reviews by trained experts reveal on eNotes. This is the time when they’re building confidence levels and tend to view their personalities as peers and friends see them. The fear of not being able to fit in pushes teenaged kids into experimenting with sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, and getting on the wrong side of the law. Before they reach the stage when they have to make independent decisions and separate good and bad, you must ingrain ethical values and principles in them. And, a good way to do that is to have a close family connection with a religious community.
For instance, like this article on Psychology Today advises, talk to your children about why drugs are harmful and the effects they can have. Or, why delaying having sex is good and the repercussions of unprotected sexual contact. Having clear values in your kids’ minds will help them stay firm in the face of pressure and simply say, “No! I don’t do that.”
How to Deal with “Don’t Tell Me What to Do!”
Teenaged kids crave independence and the freedom to do what they want to do. If that’s what you always thought, know that the reverse is actually true. Young people secretly prefer the firm hand when their friends come up with suggestions for the activities they’re not comfortable doing. After all, it’s easier telling your best friend that your mom won’t let you instead of talking about how you don’t want to and come across being “less cool.” While laying down curfews, stressing on good grades, and insisting on chores is important, allow your kids some amount of freedom to make choices but, at the same time, indicate that you trust them. Be confident that belonging to a religious community where other kids follow the same rules will have the effect of reinforcing them.
Use Actions in Place of Words
Insisting that your teenaged kids attend religious services, listen to sermons, and participate in ceremonies may become a challenge as they grow. You may also find that you’re increasingly having one-sided conversations that are simply ignored. Instead, try a more practical approach like the folks on LifeHacker suggest. Choose your battles and focus on the critical stuff letting minor issues slide. Instead, stress more on rewarding good behavior. Suggest that your teenagers join groups of like-minded individuals under the direction of a church elder and do their bit for helping the community. For instance, getting young people to help senior citizens or the less fortunate with other members of their group will give them a sense of belonging and accomplishment while keeping them busy and out of trouble.
The time your teenaged kids spend under the supervision of a religious leader may give them the opportunity to talk about issues they’re hesitant about sharing with you. They’ll also have exposure to other responsible kids and build a support system that supplements the one you have at home.
Don’t Take it Personally
Raising teenaged kids needs a lot of compassion, love, and warmth. Be prepared for sudden outbursts, disobedience, messy rooms, and mood swings. You may also find yourself dealing with unexpected friendships, weird music choices, and strange tastes in clothes that you’ll have to negotiate. Whatever may be the issue, remember that it’s not about being a bad parent or that your child hates you. Try not to think that you failed as a parent, but understand that there’s a scientific reason for that behavior. Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health shows that human brains continue mature until the mid-20s. What you see as tantrums are actually the result of the prefrontal cortex sorting through emotions, decision making, and managing impulses along with a range of other chemical reactions.
Rely on prayer and religion to build the mental fortitude to rise above your kids’ words and actions and continue to deal with them using a firm hand. Don’t worry about how the children will view their childhood when they grow up and that you could be damaging sensitive relationships. On the other hand, know that your kids will only remember the gentle love and support you gave them and kept them out of trouble. Isn’t that what a parent’s job is all about?