Today I’m writing about something we all have (or will) go through. How do we respond when our young teens mess up. They do something we thought they were too mature to do. What are we supposed to think? Have they been lying to us all along and hiding this behavior? How can we trust them again, or even should we?
In the teen years, especially the early teen years, there is a certain amount of exploration on their parts. They are trying to figure out what they believe and trying to break out of US and into THEM. The problem is that they are not mature enough to always make wise choices. But the question is how do we respond to them. Here are some thoughts I have on this and I hope it will be a help and encouragement that our #1 place to find insight and hope is in the heart of God and His Word.
- ALL of us blow it! It doesn’t mean that we haven’t been changed by the Spirit, it just means we walked in the flesh and fell.
- For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. Gal 5:17
- Watch! Prayerfully watch and ask the Spirit to give you insight and discernment (and those little ‘checks’ in our spirit when we know something is not right) to see if this is a real character issue or a lapse in judgment.
- With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints…Eph 6:18
- Make sure your forgiveness IS forgiveness and not holding it over their head as a “consequence” they’ll never be able to come out from under. One thing that we tend to do when we are hurt is to wield that hurt as a weapon. DON’T DO IT!!.
- “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4
- Re-evaluate their liberties. This doesn’t mean you revoke them, but look and see if they were too liberal for one of their age. In our home 14 was still young and all the freedoms extended were never outright freedoms. They were “we are extending these freedoms until we see you are not quite ready for them” kind of deals. Many times we had to back track a little — for a period of time. During that time we made sure and worked to TRAIN Godly character into them.
- All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Heb 12:11
- Guilt is NOT a motivator, it is a grace killer. Don’t use it!! The Holy Spirit can use it very effectively, but we never can. Don’t fall into that temptation.
- For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Cor 7:10
- Extending love and forgiveness does not mean restoring all freedoms. Sometimes that is a bargaining tool our children use: “You said you forgive me but you don’t let me XYZ. You Don’t forgive me/trust me.” Don’t fall for it. We can fully extend forgiveness but still allow the consequences to be a training tool. A trust was broken and the child must now work to re-earn it. The burden of proof (so to speak) is now on them not on you.
- It is good for a man that he should bear The yoke in his youth. Lam 3:17
- Do NOT allow the enemy to cast a shadow of condemnation over your parenting. Yes, you made mistakes (this is a guarantee — I know because it is true for ALL of us), but the Spirit will guide you to address those mistakes without this general condemnation. Our children DO have a part in the choices they make and have the same free will to blow it that we do. Sometimes their mistakes are just THEIR mistakes!
- The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. Ezek 18:20b
- Walk in the JOY of the Lord, extending grace and mercy to your daughter while still walking in your role as mother and discipler of your children.
- Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Neh 8:10
Great post. I’m inspired instead of terrified with three up and coming teenage girls. 🙂
Tia, I have LOVED our teens!
I wish I could share your happiness. My daughter has gone through such a season of waywardness starting around age 15 and now she is getting ready to go off to college. Everything I tried to instill, pointing her to Christ, purity, modesty, clear bounderies… all of it seemed to get thrown back at me with a growing disrespect and ingratitude. The past three years have wore me down and I am left with a broken heart and shattered dreams for my family. I am not without hope and I do try to hold on to Him and the truth that He has a plan in the midst of all of this struggle. I have had to give up the dream that I once had and allow God to give me a new dream. Between now and then, I fight the constant battle inside of failing as a mom. I am sad for the family I had once thought we could be. I would appreciate your prayers.
Donna, I am so sorry for your struggle and for your daughter’s choices in her life. It is such anguish to watch them make foolish decisions that lead them away from God.
I am praying right now for and for your daughter: that God would grab hold of her heart and that she would soften to His wooing her back to His arms of love. And for you in the meantime, that you would cling to the new dream He is revealing to you for where He is calling you to walk and your testimony of trust in HIS faithfulness when things around you seem to go so badly.
Your prayers mean so much.
This is an AWESOME post! As a mom of two teenage boys I’ve really been needing this encouragement. Thank you!
To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping. – – Chinese Proverb
This article is very encouraging and inspiring as well. I do hope I’d be able to handle my son when he grows up to be a teen. Not having to consider sending him here when he possibly becomes uncontrollable and defiant. May God help me when that happens. In the meantime, I’m enjoying him while he still needs me and doing my best that he grows up good and not hard to control. Thanks for the share!