Published Sep 28, 2021
Parenting. Teenagers. Or three-nagers (the affectionate name for 3 year olds). Wherever you are in the parenting journey, your struggles are real. Parenting is one of the hardest, ahem, “trials” you will go through and yet, it’s one of the most rewarding unpaid jobs ever. Let’s be honest. When we held our first baby, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We didn’t foresee all of the coming joy and pain, laughter and tears, hurt and healing. But it’s all worth it.
I love teenagers. I do not love three- nagers. I struggled through the early years of parenting littles because littles are not my “thing”. I’m a high school teacher, not an elementary school teacher. We have 3 teenagers and 1 pre-teen in our home right now. I’m really enjoying this season of being a mom but it’s also emotionally and mentally exhausting. Teenager problems are much more difficult to solve than 3 year old problems. For that issue alone, I sometimes long for parenting littles again, but not really, if I’m honest.
You know why? Because I’m in the trenches of discipleship. I’m on my knees in prayer for the souls of all of my children but especially my teens. I’m discipling them and loving them in one of their most difficult stages of life. And, I have found that to not only survive but thrive while parenting teens, you need to listen, be honest and pray a lot.
James 1:19-20 says, …”But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” We need to hear our children. We need to listen to what is going on in their lives and meet them where they are. While they are sharing, do not judge, just listen. Do not speak quickly. Just listen. And love them. And, for me the hardest command to follow in this is: do not get angry. Our children can make us angry in so many ways. But, as the verse says, the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. When I am quick to hear and slow to speak, when I’m prayerful and listening and not angry, I have seen the Lord work in mighty ways in my teenage daughters. But, when I have failed, and been angry, I have seen division and tension in both their lives and mine.
That’s where the “be honest” comes in. When I get angry, I confess my sin and my failure in parenting. I repent and ask for forgiveness from my teens. I confess my sin to the Lord. My honesty in my sin allows them to be honest with me about their sin. If I’m willing to be real with them, then they will be real with me. Make time for your teens just to talk to you. Make them put away their devices and just be. Put away your own device and just be. Pray for them daily. Pray without ceasing. And hand them over to the Lord, the one who loves them even more than you do.