Updated: Dec 22, 2021
continued. . .
The Coaching Stage: Ages 12-18
Society has given our teens a negative label. The teen years are a time of physical change and social awkwardness as they move toward adulthood. The first 12 years, as parents, we tell them what to think and believe. Now, comes a time of testing and they will need someone to be their coach.
Inching Toward Adulthood
A child’s growth is a natural process of gaining independence as they become less dependent on us as they inch toward adulthood. They are learning how to make their own choices. Sometimes, their bad choices will lead to tough consequences. A parent does their teen no favors by having them by-pass the consequences for their choices.
Some describe this stage to building a home. As parents, we spend years building our home one block at a time. Let’s say each block represents our values. It’s at this stage that our teens may question our blocks or values. This deconstruction can make a parent feel threatened. Don’t be. It’s natural and necessary. We can’t force them to accept our blocks of values. They will eventually build their own homes with their own blocks of values.
If we make their choices a battle ground, we may end up with some casualties. We definitely need to be in charge in case of non-negotiables, but we also need to allow them to be heard.
Key to Teen Years: Relationship
Like I said earlier in this section, the first 12 years we have told them how to think. Now we need to start asking “What do you think?” The key to the teen years is “Relationship”. They may pull away from us and act like they don’t need us, but they still need their mom and dad. Don’t get discouraged and above all, don’t give up.
Try not to take everything they say to heart. They are like the roads in Michigan, “constantly under construction.” Here’a great parenting formula: Rules + No Relationship = Rebellion.
How do you build a relationship with teens? Pursue them? The greatest present that you can give your kids at any age is your presence. Children spell ‘Love’, T.I.M.E!
We had a swimming pool and when I’d get home after work, children from the neighborhood would be waiting at my garage door with their swim suits on and their towels. School was out and my children wanted to let off some steam and go swimming with their friends. Our home became a haven for our children and the neighborhood kids and their friends.
Pursue Your Teen
In their book “No Perfect Parents”, Dave and Ann Wilson list a number of ways to pursue your teen.
*Be home and be intentional. Find ways to connect with
*Have dinner together. This a great time to reconnect
with everyone at the end of each day.
*Listen to their music. (I didn’t say you needed to enjoy it)
*Watch their videos. (Same here)
*Read what they are reading.
*Questions what they are questioning, especially their
*Know their friends.
*Get food out. Teens love to eat and talk.
*Stay up late. They like to talk later.
*Listen, listen, listen. If you don’t listen, they will find someone who will and it probably will
be their inexperienced friends.
If they question your faith, don’t over react. Take a deep breath. They want to examine your block of faith with them.
The best thing you can do is model your faith. This is more important than going to church or sending them to youth group. We can’t live flawless lives but we can honor a flawless Savior. Apologize when you blow it. Your life and how you live out your faith is what your children will either carry out with them when they step into adulthood or leave at your doorstep.
We All Need Grace
We all need grace, especially teens trying to figure out life and who they are. Our window of influence as parents is closing as our window of influence by peers is growing. Whatever you do, don’t pull away. It is a natural reaction to give them what they want when they pull away. Remember, teens are racked with fear, anxiety and insecurity. Pursue your teen in love. Your selflessness will combat their selfishness.
Don’t Pull Away Dad
As your daughter becomes a woman, it can be awkward and dads may want to pull away. Believe me, I know. I had 3 adult daughters. Dave and Ann Wilson says your daughter still needs you. . .
-to tell her she’s good enough.
-to tell her you see her.
-to tell her she doesn’t need a boys approval to know the’s worthy.
-to hug and kiss her on the cheek or forehead.
-to praise her great character.
-to tell her you think she’s beautiful.
-to tell her you love seeing the woman she’s becoming.
Dad, your role is unique and it’s necessary. Keep pursuing her with patience, security, and affection that will make her feel loved, safe and cherished. Our kids are never too old to be hugged, kissed and told you love them. Appropriate meaningful touches communicate love to your daughter.
Women bond through communication. Men bond by doing something together. Dad’s find something to do with your daughter to try to connect with her. If there is no dad in a young ladies life, seek other Godly men who can fill that void.
A Few Things to Remember
A few more things to remember during this stage is . . .
-to say less to your teen and pray more.
-faith is more caught than taught.
-don’t push your faith on them.
-to pay attention to those unique identities of your
-your words have power especially on family
-don’t get caught up in bad choices. That’s how
-speak life into your child about what God thinks
about them, not that they screwed up.
The Friendship Stage: Ages 18+
At this stage, this is when your child puts all of their training and coaching into use. You are to release them to be adults. Some parents have a hard time with this and want to continue to control them. Please don’t. Genesis 2:25 says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” This verse says that your children are to leave mom and dad and cleave to their spouse.
Relationships do not stop when your child reaches 18 or above. Continue to pursue them. Continue to hug your kids and tell them that you love them at any age.
Some Final Thoughts
Make your home a haven. Create an atmosphere of joy. In doing so, you’ll also make it a magnet for your kids and their friends to want to be. Kids today feel less safe than any other generation. This will do you well for after they leave the nest too. They will remember what a safe haven home was and want to come back with their spouse and families when the reach adulthood.
Grace is the Key
Grace is the key to parenting. No one will do it right all the time. Remember Christ said that “His grace is sufficient.” Grace leads to change with no shame or condemnation.
Own up to your mistakes as parents, confess sins, and ask for forgiveness. Learn from your mistakes. The tools that we’ve given you in this post are not guarantees. Only God can overcome any imperfections. But God’s word is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,”
Remember, failure doesn’t have to define your family. James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Sometime Your Win. Sometime You Learn
John Maxwell wrote a book called ‘Sometimes You Win - Sometimes You Learn’. The gist of the book is that you learn from your loses, mess-ups, failures and hardships. Hardship can prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destinies.
Keep in mind, your job as mom or dad is far more important than your work or ministry even if you're the President of the United States. Keep you heart open to the most important people in your life. In parenting, God offers moments of joy, usually in chaos. Embrace the chaos but choose joy!
The best thing you can give your kids is to love your spouse. This builds security and safety in your children. Grow your marriage vertically with God first and then horizontally with your spouse and then to your kids.
Avoid the Comparison Trap
Avoid the comparison trap. You are enough. Jesus assigned you as parent. You’re exactly what your children need. During World War II, Winston Churchill said in one of his infamous speeches to Great Britain and the allies to “Never, ever, ever give up.” You are in a war for the hearts of your children and the same goes with you in parenting. Never, ever, ever ever, give up.
Trust in God’s sovereignty and His promise to direct and guide you. He is the one with no faults and is full of understanding. He has the answers to your problems. God has ultimate control. God wants us to thrive in our parenting, not just survive.
God’s blessing on you as you parent.