Social media. Cyberbullying. Peer pressure. Drug and alcohol abuse. Pornography. Depression. Suicide.
Parenting teenagers is not for the faint of heart.
Moms and dads play a critical role in guiding their children through the challenges that arise in the teen years. Their mission is not to protect their children from every adversity, but to train them to develop the faith and strength of character that will carry them through it.
A helpful goal is to parent your teenager toward becoming a responsible adult rather than toward short-term obedience. Teenagers are moving from dependence toward independence. As they do, they’ll color outside the lines and challenge boundaries.
It’s at that point that many parents focus their energy on enforcing the rules and controlling their child’s outer behavior through sheer force – that is, on making them behave.
That strategy may produce outward compliance, but it won’t help children to learn self-control, which is the essence of maturity. Maturity comes by learning to choose between wise and unwise decisions. And that comes about through facing the consequences of their actions.
To help teenagers develop the maturity to exercise self-control, parents have to be intentional and prayerful, and to become students of the culture. Author Jim Burns is back on our Focus on the Family Broadcast to share solid advice to help parents encourage their teens in Christ, and navigate them through the difficult adolescent years, and protect their own marriage along the way.
Jim describes the shift from adolescence to adulthood, offers guidance for spiritually training teens, and explains the importance of understanding teen culture, peer pressure, and technology, and addresses the epidemics of cyberbullying, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide. Jim Burns is a popular youth and family expert and the executive director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. You can get a copy of Jim’s book Understanding Your Teen: Shaping Their Character, Facing Their Realities for a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family today. Check our website for more information.