31 Days - Living In A Season Of Teenagers - Part One
Parenting teenagers can be scary stuff. You come into it unprepared for the challenges, but if you lay a foundation for trust and relationship, it doesn't have to be a nightmare.
Know that if you have boys the most important thing you can do is to stop 'mommy-ing' them at around age 12. Let Dad give them their assignments, and deal with any bad attitudes. This is so important.
Boys at this age are built by God to become men, not women. (I know that they are not fully mature, but stick with me!) At this age they start to pull away from Mom 'telling them what to do' - they become resistant to this. Tensions build, battle lines are drawn. This is particularly a hard thing for Moms who are not passive in personality and who home educate their children. We are used to being in charge of them and giving them instruction.
I am here to tell you that if you will back off, and let your husband be the one who assigns work and deals with work not being done and deals with any attitudes or discipline issues, life with your teen boy will go better. Even if you and your husband have to sit down weekly and discuss the schedule for your son and you are the one who plans it all out, it is vital that it is communicated to him by his dad who makes it clear that your son is accountable to him. This allows for you to step back and be their mom. Love on them, feed them, pray for them, listen if they want to talk.
I learned this late with my oldest son.
If you don't have a man in your life who is able to lovingly but firmly guide these young men, pray that God will send them a mentor - a true godly man that your young men can look up to and listen to.
God built young men to be different from girls and young women. They do crazy things, daring things - and it doesn't stop when they turn 20, either. The level of daring is based on personality, some are bolder but all of them are feeling the rise of testosterone!
During this time, they need to do hard work everyday. Seriously, let them chop wood, build something, run...something. It will help with the hormones raging in their bodies.
I heard a mom of boys say once that puberty for boys is like having PMS 24/7. Not fun. No cyclical hormones just hormones raging continually. The hard work helps tire them out.
Unfortunately for most modern young men - don't have hard work to do. They play video games (violent ones, especially) and hangout online. This creates a feeling for them that they have done a great deal of work or had great social interaction. When in reality all they have 'done' has been virtual. This is not good.
But we live in a society that believes that our children deserve some golden childhood with no responsibilities. Sadly this does not prepare them for real life. I do not advocate a Dicken's era treatment of children, but a real life preparation of children to be adults. If children are given age appropriate responsibilities as children, when they become teenagers they will have learned to work, and to do their part in helping the home and family function. It's important that they learn to do this. They will need to be strong enough to provide for their families one day. To stand strong in the day of adversity.
I recently asked a young man what he did that was 'hard.' He said he helped out at home, particularly mentioning that he took out the trash. Sigh. My eight year old takes out the trash. Do you see what I mean? If you don't have work at home that is real and that is hard, see if you can find someone for them to work for everyday.
Teens are in a challenging period of life. They are sorting through what you've taught them, and seeing what they believe. They will test their faith. They believe that they know everything, pretty much. They will see in a few short years that they don't!
This is also a fun period of life. If you have built a relationship with your teen, you can enjoy doing things with them, in a way you couldn't do with them when they were younger. It is important to have an open door policy with them, meaning you are always available to them. Trust me, they like to talk late at night. They get going right around the time you are ready to go to bed. But unless you are truly exhausted or sick, make the time to listen to them, and to laugh with them. Share your heart with them, too. If they can see that even parents struggle at times, it helps them to feel like their mistakes are not insurmountable failures.
Open your home to their friends. Make your home the place that they all want to be. Love on them and their friends - not by trying to act like them, but by showing real interest in their lives. Share that you're praying for them. Feed them. You will never know how this will impact them!
During this time it is important to be committed to PRAY for your teenager. Pray for their friends. Be a listener (hard for me).
Tomorrow we'll talk about teen girls, and how to love the season of preparing for womanhood.