Updated October 29, 2022
How to Survive the Teenage Years is a topic many parents have searched because it can seem like a daunting season either because our own teenage years had their challenges and also due to the bad reputation teenagers have come to have. Can you imagine learning not only how to survive the teenage years but also how to thrive in them?
As Christians, we know our battles are not just with flesh and blood but they are on a spiritual level as well. If you have ever gotten into it with your teen, it can feel like hell has broken loose in your house.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)
I typed into the Google search bar, “How to survive te…” and waited to see what would pop up. Does anyone else do this sometimes? I noticed amongst “How to survive terrorist attack, teething, terrible twos…” within the top 5 searches there was, “teenage years and teaching middle school.” Wow! Right there with terrorist attacks and teething?! Clearly being a teen and dealing with a teen are common struggles for many. However, there are ways to start the journey in not only loving your teen but liking them as well. Knowing how to survive the teenage years takes some research, trial and error, and lots of prayer but thank the Lord we don’t have to do it alone.
As someone who has worked with teenagers for over 15 years as a volunteer Youth Leader in various church ministries and a Mom of a college student, I can tell you that the teenage years can in fact not only be survivable but it can be enjoyable too. So how does one achieve such a mighty task? Here are a few practical ways to show you how to survive the teenage years:
How to Survive the Teenage Years: 6 Ways for Christian Parenting Advice
1) Get your mind right!
If you enter the teenage years trembling in your pants or with a negative outlook, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s like with ANYTHING! I remember a Youth Pastor exclaiming his woes when his then toddler would become a teenager. A Youth Pastor! I told him, “Out of all people, you have the skills already in dealing with teens. Take those skills and use it in your home!”
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philip. 4:8)
If you are already dreading the teen years and are looking at your blossoming child like a mosquito bite waiting to happen, then you will have a difficult time. Walk into this season with the authority God gave you to change the atmosphere, maybe generational curses, your future, and their future. How to survive the teenage years takes looking at it in the face with your teen and saying, “Because of the authority I have in Jesus Christ, we are going to survive the teenage years and it’s going to be a blessing not only to ourselves but to others as well!”
Remember, get your mind right!
If you have fears, find scripture to combat those fears. Speak life into your home, your future teenage or current teenager, and take every thought captive and bring it to His authority.
Make sure you are eating good fruit in the future.
2) Incorporate your village.
Yes, it takes a village to raise a child and I made sure I chose mine with intention and care. Create a support system of people who will help speak life not only into you but also into your teen. There were both men and women in my teen’s life who were honorable and rooted in the Word of God. They helped listen and lead her in the ways of the Lord. If you don’t like your village, change it, put up boundaries, and ask God to put the kind of Godly people in your life that you need.
This is a major practical tip in how to survive the teenage years. Give them the opportunity to talk and discuss what they may see in your teen and how to help them. This is not a time to be offended but an opportunity to open your eyes to information you might not otherwise know. Use the eyes around you because we can’t be everywhere at once. If we shut down those who are trying to help us, we may be shutting down information that is negatively affecting your teenager.
Also, a teenager may need different avenues to which she can run to in case you are not available for whatever reason. Make sure those avenues are Godly, safe, and healthy. If need be, make changes.
3) Prepare yourself or reinvent your teen skills.
It’s never too early to start loving your teen and learning about to be in relationship with teens. If you don’t know how, ask the Lord for help and turn to the Word of God for how treating teenagers looks like.
I know I didn’t grow up with the best communication skills because many of the people in my life didn’t have them. However, when I became Christian, the Lord used the Word of God, those around me, and especially my Godly husband (who did grow up with better conflict and communication skills than I did), to learn how to communicate better. In turn, I was able to use these skills to cultivate with my teenager what I didn’t get when I was one. You can start creating Godly, safe, and healthy conflict and communication skills. Start today.
Remember, even before they hit the teen years, everything you do now will help set the foundation for when it comes. They will have to battle a lot of lies so this is necessary in setting them up early for success. Click here on an article called, “10 Lies The Devil Tells Teens“. This article is a reminder of what teens deal with on an everyday basis. It can help us with our compassion when it comes to dealing with the teenager in our lives.
What does starting now look like? It may mean creating a daily habit of talking to your kids, giving them boundaries, and giving them the Word of God to back what you do. People think it’s cute when toddlers are cursing or twerking but then can’t handle it when they are a teen. Unfortunately, it has been cultivated throughout their younger years and now it’s starting to bear fruit.
“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17)
Is it the fruit’s fault it was planted or is it the fault of the person who planted it? We often blame the teen instead of the person raising the teen. I don’t have to worry about my daughter cursing me out in public or at home. Why? When she was younger I made sure to correct her in her language. If I allowed it then, I shouldn’t be surprised if she were to use it now. We are called to train our child up.
You may be wondering if its too late. It’s not too late to make changes now even if your teenager doesn’t agree. Remember, you are called to steward your house well and that starts with making a decision and implementing change with the help of God. Eventually, the house will come into order as the new way of life is enforced over and over. He is the Restorer of time, He is the Resurrector of life, and the Ultimate Miracle Worker. Again, the keys when starting late are to be committed, consistent, and prayerful.
4) Help them see the Lord’s will for their lives.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfarechurch youth retreats, set them up with people in your village in various careers to help answer questions, and talk about their interests.
Teens (honestly, not just teens) get in trouble because they have no sense of direction or purpose. Boredom, lack of direction, and time are a nasty recipe for unwanted behavior and consequences. Take them outside of their environment, especially if it’s a troubled neighborhood, and show them there’s a bigger world than they ever imagined.
I remember growing up in a little town where I got into a lot of trouble because of the many strongholds over that place and its all I saw. When people started taking out of my environment, I began to see a different way of life especially when I became a Christian. Sometimes, we need a change of environment to get better perspective and not feel like we are stuck with the toxicity around us, the reputation we may have once had, or the mental strongholds passed down from generation to generation.
When you give them opportunities to help them find the will God has for their lives which can include many purposes not only a specific purpose (remember we tend to wear many hats as well), you are showing them they weren’t a mistake, happen to be here by accident, or their life is meaningless. This may help lower depression and thoughts of suicide.
God HAS a plan for them. By linking arms with your teenagers to help find it, both of you may get past learning how to survive the teenage years and start to thrive in them. For more tips on how to do this, click HERE: “Teenage Goal Setting: 7 Christian Parenting Tips.”
5) Pay attention to their friends.
From the very beginning of your kids making friends, until as long as necessary, discern, discern, and discern some more. Every household is going to be different as far as how connected your ministry with teens will be. In my house, I remember having to tell my teenage daughter, “I’m in the ministry of teens but you come first so if I find someone to be a bad influence then I will not have them in my house.” This can look different to many people and some people may disagree with me. However, if a teen is in my house, wants to test my rules, become disrespectful, and cause disruption in my home and relationship with my daughter, then they are not welcomed. I have to release them to God and remember my home is my first ministry.
Friends can be a tricky situation especially considering if they are with them at school for a good amount of time. But, God! He will reveal, direct, show you, and guide everyone in ANY matter. So bring it before God, constantly, and ask for direction! Remember, even though they are with them in school all the time, doesn’t mean they have to be with them in after school hours as well. Control what you can and if you can and need to, homeschool. One of the best decisions of our lives, we get to control who our village is and not the circumstances of where we are placed in.
Think of it like this, many of us wouldn’t put up with bad influences in our marriage, why should who we allow our teens to be with any different? It’s important even who you surround yourself with. There have been many times where I had to let go of friendships because I was becoming worse as a wife and mother. My attitude was changing, my language was harsh, I was going back to who I was before I became Christian, and praise the Lord my children brought it to my attention and I had to step back and take into account what they were saying. By leading them into the way they should go, they may help bring us back into where we may have wandered off from.
6) Pray, pray, pray!
This being #6 doesn’t mean it’s the last resort. Prayer needs to be the first resort. I can’t tell you how many times the Holy Spirit has lead me to save, know, and see things about my teen that are humanly impossible because of my prayer life and intimacy with Him. I know His voice.
One time I was napping, woke up, and was led to my open my Facebook right away where there were several articles posted about a certain TV series that was popular and causing quite a stir because of the graphic nature of suicide it was glamorizing. Holy Spirit was like, “Text her now!” I literally couldn’t text fast enough (she was at her father’s for the weekend) and I asked her if she had seen this series. She replied, “Oh my gosh…that’s so crazy…I was literally going to press play right now!” I quickly told her I didn’t want her watching the series and she was amazed at how the Holy Spirit stepped right in to protect her. How amazing is that?!
Here’s the thing though, you have to know God’s voice and know when He is speaking to you. How? Pray, pray, and pray some more.
The most important tip in how to survive the teenage years is your home being covered in the authority of Jesus Christ. Prayer is a non-negotiable.
Teenage years don’t have to be scary but you must be prepared and continue to learn through the process. In my house, it wasn’t all puppies and rainbows. There was real work done but we did it by the power of Jesus Christ so I can say my now college aged daughter continues to be not only my daughter but my friend as well. Remember to have the biblical definition of friendship, many times people hear the word “friend” and they have an unhealthy definition of what a friendship looks like so they immediately reject the idea.
Here’s the other thing too, there doesn’t have to be regret either! Even if you’re in the throes of teenagehood right now, everything seems to be going all wrong, and you’re desperately trying to figure out how to survive the teenage years, nothing is impossible with God. Give it time and continue being consistent.
Maybe your teen is no longer a teen and has moved on, and you have a lot of regrets of how that went. Have a conversation with them, get therapy together on mistakes made, or if they don’t want to accept apologies at this time, then be the person you wanted to be to another teen in your life. He is still a God of miracles and He is still a God who resurrects! Every moment is a chance to make things better. We can do this!
Basket of Blessings,