Teenagers are moving from adolescence to adulthood, what things did you do to help them during that transition?
Children are moving from literal to abstract in their thinking. Our position as a parent moved from being hero and always right, to sharing a place with friends or losing their place to friends. Teens become critical and challenge formerly accepted beliefs. We found parenting was easier and harder.
Easier: teens can eat, dress, and be quite independent.
Harder: infant/child rearing involves a large percentage of caring for their physical well-being: food, shelter, clothing and protection. Raising teenagers includes a lot of grayer areas: dating, driving, and doubting.
We found that this is an opportunity to have meaningful adult conversations with our growing teens. We asked them questions about injustice in our world, unanswered prayers, and the “why do you think this is happening this way” questions.
We gave our teenagers more responsibilities and less restrictions. We followed advice from another parent who told us to say “Yes” to their requests as often as you can and give a clear explanation when we would say “No”.
1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
We would ask our teenager what they were reading in their Bible and ask them what makes sense and what does not. Sometimes we would find solutions together to the confusing portions.
We would ask our children what questions they were asking God about in their prayers and then ask them what answer they have gotten.
We would point our teenager towards books, podcasts, and conferences that brought teaching, perspectives and experiences which complimented and stretched what we had taught them about God.
The single-most important thing we did with our growing teen was:
Let me know what you have found effective raising your teenagers.