Friday, August 30, 2013

Series: Raising Amazing Teenagers, Part 4

Today is my final post about teenagers. You can read the previous posts here, or click the button in the side bar. I have prayed these posts encouraged and hopefully helped someone who is discouraged as a parent.
The last point I have to make in this series is concerning sin and how we can treat their sin as a stage, hoping it will go away soon.

Sin is sin, no matter what stage you’re in.

We understand kids will go through stages in their growth and maturity.  It is a natural progression. But if my 10 year, who normally is a very sweet and kind child, talks back to me rudely & disrespectfully I don’t chalk it up to a new stage that will soon pass (even though that is probably part of it).

We deal with it.     We correct it.       We don’t let it go. 
I have had moms tell me they can’t wait for their kids to get out of a certain stage so they will become sweet again.  I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that isn’t how it works, Mom.  Don’t use stages as an excuse to allow bad behavior. 

Treat it as it is; sin.  Treat it with grace, mercy & great amounts of forgiveness . 

Your child may not even realize they are doing it at first.  But don’t let it go.  
When my 13 year old son began acting out in a way that was unusual to his personality, at first I didn’t even realize it until my older daughter pointed it out.  Mom, why are you letting him talk to you like that?” It wasn’t until she said something did I realize my son was being very disrespectful. 

I had a talk with him and asked him if he realized how he was responding to me.  He didn’t.  He promised to be more aware.  But, he continued to react rudely to me and others.  We had to talk several time and he lost many privileges until he finally got it.  One day I noticed it had been a while since he had been rude to me.  He had been his normal loving, cooperative self.  I mentioned it to him and he smiled, “I’m glad you noticed. I’ve been trying really hard to not be so rude to everyone.”  

 If only all of my kids took correction as well as he did my life as a mom would be easy peasy!

When Scott & I chose these standards for our kids we weren’t doing this hoping we would have amazing teenagers.  We just felt this was the best way to prepare them to become godly adults who could make a difference in the world they live in.  The result was enjoying a wonderful season of teenagers.  It wasn’t all easy.  We definitely had our times of difficulty.  But with the Lord’s help we faced each challenge. 
We didn’t do everything right. Our kids will be very quick to tell you everything we did wrong. I think my kids favorite thing to do is to talk about all of the crazy things I made them do when they were younger or reminisce on all of my mistakes…”Remember the time mom lined us all up to spank us because she read a book that said to do that? Hahaha!” ((sigh))
 In spite of all my mistakes my kids knew I loved them and was doing my best.  I’m proud of my teens & young adult kids.  Not because I did such a great job raising them, but because God’s mercy and faithfulness is so evident in each of their lives.
One final thing; as my kids have grown into their own person with personalities shining and talents becoming more and more evident, as a parent I have to let their decisions for their future be their decisions.  My daughter is a very talented photographer and I would love to see her pursue that, but she feels God calling her to Ireland to do full time mission work.  Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond proud of her for choosing ministry.  I support her completely.  But part of me would really like to see her use her talent for photography also.  As her mom, I could tell her what I think she should do, but I trust her relationship and conversations with the Lord and I know she will follow him and not what I want her to do. That won't stop me from asking questions though. 

If your son wants to be a teacher, but you think he would make an amazing lawyer that doesn’t matter.  Your child must choose his future, not you.  This has been hard for me in some ways, and exciting in others.  It is always fun watching your children bloom into who God wants them to be.  Remember Collin in post #2 who is one of the family mechanics?  He was always the dirtiest little boy ever!  He loved the dirt & getting dirty.  Well, that’s a good thing because he get’s really dirty when he is working on our cars.  And he always loved learning how things work, so that comes in handy also. He reads, and watches others and learns.  And his older brother Josh, as a young boy, was always taking things apart trying to make it work better.  Today he is working at a local mechanic shop, learning a trade & getting dirty too.  He loves it. He loves helping others & making happy customers.  And he is quite funny so his customers usually return and ask for him. As a child he never met a stranger and that drove me crazy!  Today, it works in his favor.
Being a parent today is crazy stuff, but I’m so thankful God has given his Word that gives us direction, encouragement and comfort.  Raising amazing teenagers starts with raising amazing kids with the help of our awesome God!