How to Raise a Christian Teenager
No one is born a Christian. Christian parents do not always equal a Christian teen. The greatest detriment to your endeavor is the public school system. Your child spends more time at school than they do at home. Private Christian schools can really make a good kid, but there is no guarantee how your teenager will turn out. Unlike many religions where you are born into the family of followers. Christians are called by God and there are several directions a teenager can go with the knowledge you provide them. This article offers a few suggestions that may help your son or daughter follow Christ. In all cases you should start as early as possible.
1.) Practice What You Preach – The example you set as your child ages is more than likely the example they will follow until they reach their teens. There will come a time in each of their lives when they will choose their path in life. They will take newly formed ideas on life and compare them to the lifestyles of their parents. Then embark on a course that ultimately leads to their destiny. They make choices regarding relationships, family, work, and personal entertainment. Some plan meticulously every step of their journey while others just let it happen. Each of us carves out a road to hopeful happiness. In this entangled world we live in today there are traps, snares all along life’s path. Many are placed in front of the young and naïve, ensnarling them into a life time of misery. The road to destruction is wide, and the gate is narrow through which we reach our ultimate goals. If we travel through life without wise, loving parents, and church members to guide us through life’s perils we may be easily snared by life’s attractions.
2.) Daily Family Devotions – Nothing can take the place of your spending time with your
heavenly Father. At teensnchrist.com we like to use the 15 minute method. We read our Bible for 15 minutes a day, spend 15 minutes a day in prayer with our heavenly Father, and we spend 15 minutes a day sharing what we have read with others. Through our relationship with the Father and Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and guides us as to how we should live. Through your family’s relationship with God you develop a ministry, a testimony, and a service for God. Through your ministry your family grows in faith by sharing what you have learned through the time you spent with our heavenly Father. Blessings begin to flow, for you, and those around you.
3.) Family Prayer Time – A family that prays together stays together. When you take your praise, problems, and intercessions to your heavenly Father as a family you create an avenue of trust with your children. In turn, when they have problems they will bring them to you for advice. When they see other kids at school doing things they know is wrong they will confide in you, and in turn, together you confide in God. Teach them at an early age to pray from their heart. It is fine to say prayers that are memorized, but praying from the heart brings you closer together as a family and brings you closer to God.
4.) Love Your Children – We should consistently remind our kids that we love them. Teenagers at times tend to draw away from their parents and friends. They may be struggling with puberty or questioning themselves on how to react with others. They may be reflecting on something you did or said a year ago. It’s really hard to tell. I have countless “God kids” I have adopted over the years, and at one time or another all have distanced themselves from me, for a while. I would always tell them I love them so much I just can’t stand it, and no matter what happens Jesus and I still love them. My greatest interest has always been what my kid is doing when they are not around me. I what to know what happens at school, or if I miss some event I want them to know I care. The middle schoolers have to be coaxed, but I just keep pestering them until they tell me.
5.) Spend Quality Time with Your Teens – The most exciting time of the week for me was spending time with my son. As he grew up I started “adopting” kids I would take to church with me. Some of the kids now are adults, and I am helping with their kids. You are a child’s hero, and everything you do they look up to. Controlling your temper and setting a good example for them to follow is very important. I took inner city kids to church for 18 years, and I was amazed at how detached they were from their parents. Through Medicaid the kids were entitled to free doctor and dental care, but rarely did their parents take them. I had 15 year old girls going to the dentist for the first time. I really believe it when the Bible says, “the love of many has waxed cold.”
6.) Encourage Your Teens to Take a Stand for Christ – From early teens to young adults it is important to recognize they are different from other people. We have a King and Savior, a heavenly Father, and a Counselor, (the Holy Spirit), who guides us through this world. God paid a tremendous price for us. It is important for kids to know that God will stand for us as we will confess Him to others. It is part of the basic oath of being a Christian. It gives us the right to profess Christ as our Savior. It is also important for our kids to realize that not only are they accountable to you, they are accountable to God for their actions. Everything we say and do is written down by God. Nothing goes un – noticed so take a stand for Christ, and He will be there for you.
I don’t care how hard you try to have the “perfect kid” it isn’t going to happen. Many young adults wander away from the church. Teenagers will rebel against you. At times they will even rebel against themselves. It’s going to happen sooner or later, so prepare your heart for the inevitable. Don’t argue or fight with them when they rebel. Be there for them when they need you. It can be a rough couple of years to go through, but if you have planted the Word of God in their hearts and mind, be patient they will come back. I have had “God kids” in jail, on drugs, experimenting with homosexuality, and getting pregnant at very early ages. It hurts, and it is easy to get discouraged, but as they are finding their way back home your greatest weapon is prayer. You may wear the knees on several pair of pants before it’s finally over, but the prodigal son or daughter always returns home.