Tuesday August 3 2021

10 Essential Things Your Teenager Wished You Knew – Part 3

4. When Authority Meets Influence (You are not meant to me your child’s buddy)

Our children need to know that we are their mum and dad. This is very different to being a best friend. We love them dearly, but we are not friends on the same level as them. 

Parents are often concerned that if they set rules for their children to follow, and if they face real consequences for their actions, they will somehow weaken the relationship with them, and lose the friendship that they have. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Children thrive in an environment where they know they are deeply loved, but that there are very clear boundaries for them to live within. In fact, we all do!

Sure, they might enjoy it for a little bit if we lower our standing from parent to friend. But, it will actually erode our responsibility as parents and ultimately the way in which they see us in the long run.

When our children are young, we lead them by authority. They don’t have the capacity to understand many things, and so they need to listen to our guiding in the world. But, as they grow older our parenting changes to influence rather than authority. We want them to follow in our footsteps because they want to! This will not happen if we murky the waters of our relationship with them as parents.

Growth Step: What are some of the rules you have as a family when it comes to what is acceptable and what isn’t? Do you feel that you have blurred the lines between parent responsibility and friendship with your children? Take sometime to discuss this as a couple and then later with your children if changes need to be made.


5. Unique By Design (Children are not identical robots)

Every child is created differently. We were all knit together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139vs13-16) for a specific purpose. There is no life that is an accident. Each life is precious. 

This means that there are some things that are non-negotiable when it comes to raising our children regardless of their character. For example, just because our child is shy, does not give them an excuse to have bad manners. They must be polite regardless of that. 

There are however other areas of life where we will need to parent differently with our different children. There is no one size fits all approach. Our children are not identical and so we have to adjust at times. Methods of discipline. The time of day that we ask important questions. Our expectations when it comes to school involvement and more! It is so important that we assess how we are connecting with our unique children!

Growth Step: Is there a part of your parenting that is a blanket format but you are finding that one of your children is not responding to it? Is there unnecessary conflict being created purely because of your children being unique? 

6. Things Are Great, TIME is better!

I believe that Quality Time (not whilst on your cell phone!) will always trump Possessions when it comes to our relationship with our teenagers! Sure, they like ‘things’ – but being known and loved – that is proved by the most important resource of time is of far greater value to them! 

Don’t spend time with them to tick a box. Don’t spend time with them to get specific information out of them that they might not be telling you. Spend time with them purely to get to know them, with no agenda. Let them speak. Ask them questions. But just enjoy the time together!

Quick bit of wisdom: Often girls can connect more face to face – over coffee or meal. Men may need to be doing something and talking side by side – playing a round of golf, working on a bike, playing a computer game or doing some DIY.

Growth Step: How are you doing when it comes to quality time with your teenager? How can you craft that into your schedule? What do they enjoy doing and how can you be part of that? – Pastor Craig Roberts