Last night we had a Mom's Meeting for our co-op. We were having a meeting on pre-teens and teens, and wanted to discuss some issues, but also encourage moms of teens.
The first thing I shared was that the term "teenager" is not a biblical term. The bible uses the term "youth" and that refers most of the time to a young man who was not married. Somewhere in the last 100 years of history, Western culture has brought forth this idea of teenagers. Our Amish neighbors in the county have their children finish school at eighth grade and become apprentises in real work. The girls may work for a shop or work at home, the boys work on the farm or as a carpenter etc...They have value as young adults.
Many parents have taken on the responsibility of teaching their children at home. Some do not. But what every parent must do is to take on the responsibility to teach our children to follow God, as He has directed our family. Sometimes, people think we must allow "professionals" to do that. So the Sunday School teacher, the Pastor, the youth workers are left to impart "godliness" to children and youths. But what if you are teaching your child modesty and the youth worker doesn't have the same view of modesty? You have put your child under their authority as well, and now your view and the youth workers are in conflict.
I believe it is the responsibility of parents to be the primary influencers of their children, and to decide who else gets to influence them. We take seriously the raising of our children. We take care what they watch, listen to, read. We are the ones who introduce the world to them, as they are going to have to live in the world as adults, but we do it from a Biblical Worldview. Please don't think that our children are hidden away! They are not! They have alot of interaction with adults, kids, family members.
I firmly believe that our children need to be given alot of responsibility. This brings maturity. To learn skills and master them, gives confidence. My two oldest girls are quite capable of running a household. The can cook, do laundry, care for children. They know how to care for their animals, and to do lawn care and gardening. The comment we hear most often about them is that they are lovely girls and so mature!
So many parents today, don't want to give their kids too much to do. They feel it isn't fair to the kids. This brings on this idea of childhood being a time set apart only for fun, and not as preparation for adulthood. Now we have "adults" who want to hang on to childhood, they work to pay for their "fun". They don't want too many responsibilities, and why should they? They were not prepared for them in their youth.
Our culture is child centered, it is all about the kids; soccer practice and games, music lessons, camp, shopping, cellphones etc...I woman who said she couldn't have more children as they could not afford to add on more bedrooms to their house, as all the children must have their own bedrooms!
I have had conversations with parents who don't know what to do about their kids clothing, or being boy crazy etc....I want to encourage them that as the primary influencer of their kids, not to wait until they are older, but begin when they are young. Teach them the things God is teaching you, share with them the Heart God has toward them and all He has for them to do. Teach them to honor and respect you and others, and themselves.
Our goal in raising our children is to bring them to maturity and adulthood. We want our daughters to be feminine, our sons manly. We want them to serve the Lord, in the way that God leads them.