Teenagers Are a Challenge and Blessing!

28 Apr

Teen Boy & Girl - smilingNo matter what teens do, you’re always going to find a concerned parent.

The parents of two teenagers said they’re worried about their children’s failing eyesight. Their daughter can’t find anything to wear in a closet full of clothes, and their son can’t find anything good to eat in a refrigerator full of food.

Teens can be a challenge, too. Two moms of teens were discussing their daughters, and one said, “My daughter doesn’t tell me anything. I’m a nervous wreck!”

The second mom shook her head and said, “My daughter tells me everything … and I’m a nervous wreck!” *

It’s hard to know what’s normal sometimes with teens, because some of them try so hard to be different, and some of them cry that they are different. In her book, And Then I Had Teenagers, author Susan Alexander Yates reminds readers that a lot happens to teens ~ physically, emotionally, socially, mentally, and even spiritually during these exciting-but-stressful years.

But that’s not all. Parents are dealing with these same areas in their own lives.

  • Emotionally, they’re adjusting to this new stage of life.
  • Socially, they struggle with peer pressure ~ comparing themselves with other parents and dealing with a time-challenged calendar (and some become “sandwiched” between caring for older relatives at the same time the want to “be there” for their teens).
  • Physically, some women hit menopause around the same time their teens hormones are kicking in.
  • Suddenly, they find out they are “mentally-challenged,” too, in their teens minds, at least.
  • And spiritually, this is the time many parents cry out, “God, do you care about me? Are you listening?” Sometimes in the busyness, their relationship with God slips out of kilter at a time when it perhaps needs to be most intense.

Yet, “... the teen years can be a season of tremendous blessing,” Yates wrote. “During these years we begin to see the payoff of that early training ~ we begin to relate to them more as adults…. We begin to see their unique gifts more clearly and to understand how God has uniquely packaged them….. Our hope is renewed when we remember that these are first of all His kids ~ and so are we.” **

I (Dawn) found my sons’ teen years to be an incredible time of growth. We learned important life lessons together.

Another book (Got Teens?) by my friend Pam Farrel and Hearts at Home founder Jill Savage shares many of the lessons the authors learned by trial and error as they reared six teenagers between them. They wrote, “Our firstborns have guinea pig written all over them. Bless their hearts ~ they helped us learn valuable lessons…. But even with some experience under our belt, we know that every child is unique and has his or her own way of processing life, making choices, and forging into adulthood.” ***

In the book, the authors show how parents are to be a listening ear, vision caster, mentor, relationship specialist, CFO, referee, loving shepherd, life preserver, “pastor at home,” social activist, and launching pad for their teens.

It’s a tall order. But, as Pam wrote, “I can’t think of a better accomplishment than that!”

Raising teens is tough, but it’s a lot harder when the parents don’t know Christ. God and His Word provide valuable insight and help, with principles for developing godly, mature young adults. It helps when parents teach their teens powerful scriptures ~ such as Romans 12:1-2; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 10:13; Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:17; and Proverbs 4:23 ~ that can guide and empower them in practical ways to live holy, joyful lives.

Yes, teens are a challenge, but they can be great blessings, too! I recommend that you let Yates, Savage, and Farrel show you how.

* Adapted from 1000 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking by Michael Hodgin (Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), p. 345 (#917 and #920)

** And Then I Had Teenagers: Encouragement for Parents of Teens and Preteens by Susan Alexander Yates (Baker Books, 2001), pp. 38-39

*** Got Teens? Time-Tested Answers for Moms of Teens and Tweens by Jill Savage and Pam Farrel (Harvest House Publishers, 2005), Introduction


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