Online Parenting Classes for 6th-12th Grade

Navigating Back to School with your Teen

School is here again and I don’t remember summer even starting!
Some parents cheer because order reigns again. Others are sad because they are one year closer to graduation. And then there are some of you who are completely conflicted in how you feel. You are glad that a normal schedule begins again, but have a hard time that it has come and gone so quickly. But then hasn’t it at every turn? Every age from infancy on has come and gone as quickly as a wink and sometimes it feels as if we have missed so much of it.

So many firsts, so many onlys, so many times that we swore we would never forget have come and then faded in the busyness of raising those very teenagers!

We are very good at planning and scheduling and mainstreaming and multitasking. For just a moment, be still. Be still enough to hear the crickets with your teen on this late summer night. Be still enough to play a game of checkers and then make the winner’s favorite milkshake. Even be still enough to just listen at the bottom of the stairs as your teen laughs out loud while watching their favorite show!

Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God!” Show your teenager that it is necessary to stop for a moment if only because God commands it. Know that God has created every moment and every moment was created for you. Each moment with your teenager is a gift God has given you. Treasure it because soon this moment will be a memory.

Homework, parent/teacher meetings, football games, and choir programs are the agenda for the next 10 months! School is here and buying a composition notebook is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack, because everybody else got to them first!

But I just want to encourage you to let your teen know that this school year is going to be a good one! Now I know some of you groan as I say this, but just think how your teen feels if you are dreading it! They are the ones that deal with the homework, and the teachers, and the other students!
They need us to encourage them! They need to know that they aren’t alone in this. I know it’s hard to watch your teen struggle in school or with friends. It kind of comes down to the same way our God “parents” us.
When we mess up, we know He will give us grace. Even when we are in the midst of a consequence that we created because of a choice we made, we know He will never leave us or forsake us. We know He wants us to succeed!
Do our teens know that about us?

Sit down with them before this school year ever begins and tell them. Tell them that if they get a bad grade you will be there to help them succeed the next time. Tell them that if they have a teacher that they don’t get along with that you will be willing to step in and talk with that teacher. Tell them that you will give them mercy and grace because you love them.

For some of us, school brings back some serious nausea. It just wasn’t always a good or happy time. Maybe, just maybe, we can help change that for our teens.

Guiding Teens without Controlling

Have you ever seen that mom that can turn on the tears in an instant to get her teenager to do what she wants them to do, or that dad who has a certain look that brings no argument whatsoever? Did you have a parent that was able to elicit the desired response from you whether you agreed or not? Are you a parent that can be manipulative or coercive with your teen?

Parents will often tell me that they just want what’s best for their teenager. And I believe them. But, unfortunately, so many parents go about it the wrong way. They try to control their teens instead of guiding them. And there is a very big difference!

Guiding teaches your teenager the power they have in making a choice. It teaches them they are responsible for any consequence that may come with their choice. Trying to control them through manipulation only pushes the growing young adults far from the wise choices we are so desperate for them to embrace.

Take a moment and ask yourself this question. “Do I control or guide my teenager?” And be very honest in your answer!  The great thing about this is that it is not too late to begin again!  Check out this month’s Online Parenting Class that focuses on how we guide our teenager without controlling them.

Now we know that every teenager is different and needs different types of guidance. But one thing that is the same in all teenagers is their passionate desire for independence. And it often seems that they are constantly, almost intentionally, choosing the opposite of what we think is wise!

I don’t know about you, but that sounds an awful lot like my relationship with God! How many times have you made a decision or choice only to realize God was working in the situation the entire time? But did He ever once force you to choose His way or did He give you the freedom to make your own decision?

The crazy thing about the love of God is that it came first! John 15:16 says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” And that is the very thing we can relate to as a parent! We know that same kind of love when it comes to our teenagers. And the way we choose to love God back is by humbling our free will to His will. We don’t always do it, and neither do our teens.

Here are a few ideas that will help you guide your teen and not control them.

Agree on a signal that your teen can use when they feel like you are trying to control them. But you both have to be willing to listen to the other persons viewpoint!
Don’t try to rescue them from the natural consequences of their own choices! That’s a really tough one!
Make sure they always know that your love is not dependent on their decisions. You will always be there for them.
Know that you won’t always agree with your teen’s choice. And they shouldn’t ask you to!
Recognize when you need to step in to a situation that your teen is not equipped to handle. Prayer is absolutely necessary for discernment.
Just remember that your teenager is becoming an adult and you are the best one to parent them through this. Otherwise God would never have chosen you to do it!

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