This post contains affiliate links by which I may earn a commission to support this ministry and my family at no extra cost to you. Disclosure
Currently I am parenting teenagers. And preteens. And preschoolers. My oldest children are 14 and 15, so I am still relatively new to the perils and privileges of parenting teenagers.
I have worked with teenagers in ministry since my college days. God has given me a heart to teach and build relationships with amazing young people who are on their way to becoming young adults. But now I am parenting teenagers. I tell my youth parents at church, “I am in the trenches with you. We are learning how to do this together.”
I am not the expert telling other parents how to raise teenagers; instead I want pray with them and provide resources to help us all raise godly teenagers in an ungodly world.
The hardest place to live out our faith is at home. We let our guard down and treat our family members more harshly than we would treat a stranger. Parents are no exception. I lose my patience, I yell, I say words in anger that I wish I could take back. Parenting teenagers has made working on family relationship both harder and more important.
As Christian parents, what can we do to have a healthy relationship with our teenagers?
In a Christian family, improving the relationship of parents and their teenagers will improve their teenagers ability to live out their relationship with Christ.
One resource that helped improve my relationship with my daughter is Richard Ross’s 30 Days: Turning the Hearts of Parents and Teenagers Toward Each Other.
For thirty days Zoe and I spent about ten minutes together just before bedtime using the prompts from parent and student cards to initiate authentic conversation. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, we apologized, we prayed.
God used those moments to draw our hearts closer, despite whatever might have gone on during the day, good or bad.
You’ve probably heard that children spell the word love T-I-M-E. Committing to thirty days together is not easy in this busy world. It meant my husband had to take more responsibility for making sure the other kids were settled for the night. He was willing to make that sacrifice. It caused us to stay up later than I would have liked sometimes, especially if we came home late from a family outing. Still, in thirty days, we only missed one night together. That time can never be replaced.
We began on Zoe’s fifteenth birthday and followed the directions pretty closely. We did adapt a few things. The author suggests close chairs, but we had more privacy in my bedroom and sat close on the bed instead. This meant that using candles did not work well both for safety and light, so we used my bedside lamp.
Each night includes sequential cards. Some are assigned to the parent and others to the teen. The order varies and the last card usually instruction for specific prayers.
The night after Zoe and I finished 30 Days: Turing the Hearts of Parents and Teenagers Toward Each Other, she and her brother left for a three week mission trip. I am so glad we spend those quality minutes together and we parted with no unsaid words.
Of course, parenting teenagers is still hard.
My daughter and I still have normal conflicts, but I think we understand each other more. We also made a commitment to come to one another and work out issues as soon as possible after an offense. She just came home, so we are still in the early days of the fruit of our time together, but I look forward to practicing what we learned.
Are you parenting teenagers? How is your relationship with your child?
30 Days: Turing the Hearts of Parents and Teenagers Toward Each Other can help strengthen your relationship whether it is good, okay, or troubled.
30 Days: Turning the Hearts of Parents & Teenagers Toward Each Other, Member Book
By Richard Ross & Gus Reyes / Lifeway
30 Days: Turning the Hearts of Parents & Teenagers Toward Each Other is remarkable resource designed to re-open the lines of communication and help families rebuild and even deepen their relationships. Starting with just ten minutes each evening, parents and teens find a quiet place and, by candlelight, open and alternately read five cards, each designed to build heart connections.
This resource is produced by Lifeway Christian Resources and is available at Christian Book Distributors and other book retailers (currently available only from 3rd parties on Amazon.com). The cards come with holes for a three-ring mini binder. I purchased a 1 inch mini binder and had to put a few pages in the pockets, so a 1 1/2 inch will fit better, but is harder to find and more expensive.
Richard Ross, the author of this resource, also provides Heart Connex – FREE parent/teen devotionals. Choose from many scriptural topics or use them in Biblical order. Check this great resource for help parenting teenagers.
As my teenager grow into adults, I want them to remember they are worth my love and my time.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NKJV
I’d love to know how you strengthen your relationship with your teenager, or if this resource works well for you. Please leave a comment that may help other Christian parents as we journey through parenting teenagers together.