Parenting a 2 year old is interesting enough! I can't imagine the energy, patience and most importantly prayer that is needed to parent teenagers!
Teenage years are full of change - emotional, physical, often social and sometimes spiritual. In a world that is contantly calling teenagers it is a time where parents need to be just as present in their world as when they were little toddlers!
I read the following article the other day and thought it would be great to share. I hope that parents of teens will find it encouraging and challenging! The article talks to mothers about thier daughters, but it all applies to fathers and sons as well.
My prayers and thoughts are often with you.
This article is written by Carolyn Mahaney and taken from www.girltalk.blog.com
Tips for Loving Teens
How can we as mothers cultivate and express tender love for our teenagers? Here are a few ideas:
A godly mother’s prayers have “great power” (James 5:16), and so who better to pray for our daughters than us? No one knows them the way we do. No one is more familiar with the unique temptations and pressures they face every day. No one can pray for them with keener insight or greater compassion. We should be committed to loving our teenagers by faithfully praying for them. And what’s more, we should inform them of our prayers. As Charles Spurgeon once said, “No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.”
2. Take an interest.
Make it a point to discover your teenagers hobbies and leisure pursuits. Talk to him or her about them and learn to share in their enthusiasm. You may even go a step further and participate in their favorite activities. For example, my daughter Kristin developed a love for the art of cooking as a teenager. So I arranged for us to take some gourmet cooking classes offered by the county. This provided a meaningful experience for the two of us to share, and it was a tangible way to express my tender love for Kristin. “Taking an interest” need not require financial expense, but it does call for a heart for love and enthusiasm for the things your teenager enjoys.
3. Listen closely.
Attentive listening entails an eagerness to hear everything with regard to our teenagers thoughts, feelings and experiences. It’s more than just keeping our mouths shut. Listening means making full eye contact, not looking around with a blank stare. We don’t’ interrupt, yawn, or prematurely formulate an answer. Careful listening will encourage our teens to bare their souls to us and share their innermost thoughts. So let’s make sure our teenagers know we want to hear all about it!
4. Express Affection.
We should lavish affection on our teenagers from the moment they wake up until they go to bed at night. We can do this verbally by simply saying, “I love you,” throughout the day. We can express physical affection through hugs and kisses. In the midst of correction we should reaffirm our love, reminding them that we discipline them because we love them. We never want our teenagers to have a moment’s doubt about our love.
5. Encourage, Encourage, Encourage.
Proverbs gives abundant proof that encouraging words refresh our teenagers’ souls: “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul” (16:24); “A good word makes him glad” (12:25) and “a gentle tongue is a tree of life” (15:4). Let’s ask ourselves: are the words our daughters hear from us primarily condemning and corrective or positive and uplifting? Do our words give them life and make them glad? While correction is necessary at times, our daughters should be the constant recipients of our encouragement.
And this encouragement can come in many forms and for many reasons. We can write a note, send a text or e-mail, encourage them in front of someone else, or simply tell them of our love. We can point out their personality traits and unique talents we appreciate. We can draw attention to ways they have grown in their passion for God or love for others; we can remind them of God’s help in the midst of difficult situations. These are all examples of what my husband calls “Evidences of God’s Grace”—ways God is at work in our teenagers lives. We must not let a day go by without communicating these encouraging thoughts to them.
6. Make memories.
One of my favorite ways to express tender love for my children was to plan special outings and find unique ways to make memories. Today we have a whole collection of memories that we review often with fondness and laughter. Both the planned activities and the spontaneous moments can all be potential memories if we apply a little creativity. And don’t forget to throw in a surprise or two. Everybody loves surprises—even teenagers!
These ideas are a sampling of the endless ways we can express our tender love to our teenagers. Tender love liberally scatters gospel seeds in our teenagers’ lives. We can trust God to cause these seeds to take root and grow into a mature love for Him.