The Blessing and Difficulty of Raising Teens

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The teenage years are often the biggest challenge that parents face. Parents want healthy independence for their child while maintaining a good relationships with their child. But there is often conflict. Take a look at this real-story of Lanson, a teenager struggling with asserting his independence.



Lanson's parents want what is best for him and are trying to raise him well, but his power struggle is obviously frustrating for everyone. 

In this first video, Timothy Smith, President of Life Skills for American Families, gives several practical bits of advice for avoiding this kinds of conflict. Timothy is a family coach, speaker and author of The Danger of Raising Nice Kids. He regularly teaches families how to live biblically for the spiritual formation of both parents and children. 


Ephesians 6:4 (ESV)

4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


What questions can you ask your teenagers so that they understand you are giving them a measure of independence in their own faith journey? Why is this healthy for them?
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What responsibility goals will you set with with your kids for them to reach when they turn 18?
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So that you can progressively teach your teens mature autonomy, what responsibility privileges can you give them when they turn 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and then 18 years old? (for example, 16 may be driving, but include taking little brother to soccer practice)
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Like Paul said in the verse above, you can have a home marked by discipline and instruction that is also not exasperating for your kids. Make your teens part of their own godly maturation process and they'll likely thrive in that responsibility. In this next video, Timothy talks about the relationship that you need to build with your kids so that these conversations have a good place to land.


Timothy gave several examples of questions that started productive discussions for his teenage kids. What questions will you ask your kids in order to teach them godly character?
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Timothy used letters with one daughter and surfing with another. Plan how you will customize this relationship of respect with each of your kids. Write the name of each of your kids and how you can personalize these talks for your individual children.
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Are faith conversations part of the natural rhythm of your family life? How do you incorporate these, or how will you make them more natural in your family?
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"Rules without relationship leads to rebellion." The final lesson to this post is clear—you need to build into your relationship with each of your children. From an early age, let them know they are unconditionally loved and supported, and they will be much more receptive and respectful when you need to help them find wisdom or simply trust your challenging decisions.