“I recall that you mentioned having a great relationship with your children as teenagers. Our oldest will be 13 this year, and I want nothing more than harmonious, lifelong relationships with our children. I refuse to accept the ‘teenagers must hate their parents narrative.’ I also don’t want my children to do a complete 180 as soon as they move out. Can you please do a post about that? I’d really appreciate it and unfortunately, this just isn’t talked about. Our family still does house church, and I don’t have a Titus 2 woman local to me. Unfortunately, I tend to be the Titus 2 figure to a lot of women, because I’ve been married longer and have more kids.”
I did have a great relationship with my children as teenagers. No, it wasn’t perfect but we enjoyed each other for the most part. We still had boundaries for them. They couldn’t be alone together with members of the opposite sex. We had a curfew for them all through high school. We didn’t allow sleep overs or let them watch filthy movies. We continued to speak truth to them often. I read the Bible to them every morning as they were eating breakfast. I had them memorize Scripture. They knew that as long as they lived in our home, they attended church. We never had any problems with any of them in this area.
However, I believe the biggest reason that we had good relationships with our teenagers is that we taught them from a young age to respect our authority and obey us. They grew up respecting our authority and obeying us. We began disciplining and training them as soon as we saw any type of rebellion. Well, when they were toddlers, it was more a matter of training them to not hurt themselves, but even then, we were training them to obey us. We didn’t have terrible twos or rebellious teenagers, thankfully.
It is different when they are teenagers. They are becoming adults and gaining their own independence. We didn’t have a lot of boundaries on them (although we were considered strict parents by many), but enough to protect them. They understood this. We explained to them that all of the boundaries we made ultimately stemmed from God’s Word. We knew how prevalent porn and fornication were, so we talked to them a lot about this and set up boundaries. They clearly understood this. Boundaries are security for children, even teenagers. Teenagers that aren’t rebellious, understand this.
You have to begin treating them like an adult. You can’t nag them about little things anymore. You can’t try to change them. Pray for and with them. Model Christ-like behavior towards them. Continue to be loving and affectionate towards them. Tell them that you love them daily. Be there for them. Even as teenagers, they needed me at home full time. They always knew I would be there for them. This is a lot of security in a teenagers life. Let up on the criticism. This will just push them farther from you. Encourage them. Be their biggest cheerleaders!
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22