I had lunch with my seventeen your old son last week. During our conversation I was sharing with him how his dad and I love helping parents and families become stronger. He told me, “You’ve done a good job with us.” I asked him what he thought we had done “right.” He told me that was a tough question and he would have to think about it!
People often compliment us on our children, ages 17, 15 and 12 ½. When people ask us what we have done to raise them into godly teens it isn’t a quick question to answer. Parenting is hard work and we are constantly trying to be better parents. We have sought the advice from elders, read parenting books, evaluated ourselves and prayed a lot! So after much thought (and discussion with my husband), here is our Top Ten List on raising godly teens:
- Encourage them. Your teen needs to hear sincere encouragement. If it isn’t from the heart, they will know it and not value what you say.
- Admit when you make a mistake. No one is perfect. Not you and not your teen. When you make a mistake, admit it and apologize. You are setting the right example. Don’t let pride get in your way.
- Spend time with them individually. It may seem awkward at first, but stick it out. Your teen deserves your undivided attention. It tells them they mean the world to you and they are a priority in your life.
- Go to church together. Going to church is a non-negotiable and so is serving in church.
- Pray aloud over your teen, especially before they go to school. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 89:21-26. I say their name in the scripture and make it personal. They love it!
- Show them affection. A pat on the back, a hug or a kiss goodnight. They never outgrow this.
- Laugh with them. Be silly and have fun!
- Tell them you love them at least once a day! My sons still tell me they love me before they hang up their cell phones and I can hear their friends in the background!
- Let your kids know they will make mistakes, they are not perfect and mistakes are a part of life. It’s from mistakes that we learn.
- Give them to God. They are His. He has entrusted them to us, but He loves them more than we ever could!
If you follow this list, will everything be perfect? No. We do not live in a perfect world. Your teen will stumble, but their heavenly Father will be there to steady them with His hand. Follow His example. Your heavenly Father is your biggest fan and wants you to succeed. He has given you everything you need. You can do it!