How to Survive the Teenage Years is a topic many parents search for so welcome my friend, you are not alone. There are those who are especially searching for Christian Parenting Advice as we know our battles are not just with flesh and blood but they are on a spiritual level as well. And if you have ever gotten into it with your teen, you know it can feel like hell has broken loose in your house.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (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 is a common struggle for many. However, there are ways to start the journey in just loving your teen but liking them as well and how to survive the teenage years.
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds…” (James 3:17)
As someone who has worked with teenagers for 14 years as a volunteer at my church’s Youth Group 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:
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 other 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.
“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Prov. 18:21)
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 just into you but also into your teen. There were both men and women in my teen’s life who are 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 boundaries, and ask God for your people and guidance in all matters.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Prov. 11:14)
A major part of how to survive the teenage years is making sure your community is Godly and healthy. Talk, discuss, and listen to what others have to say about what they see in your teen and how to help them. This is not a time to be offended but to open your heart and eyes to experience something you might not otherwise know.
A teenager needs many avenues to which she can run in case you are not available for whatever reason. Make sure those avenues are secure and 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 where to turn, ask the Lord for help.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)
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, “1o Lies The Devil Tells Teens”.
What does that mean?
Talk to your kids now! Discipline your kids now! People think it’s cute when toddlers are cursing or twerking but then can’t handle it when they are a teen because what has been cultivated throughout the years start to bear fruit. What does that fruit look like?
“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)
I don’t have to worry about my daughter walking out the house with her shorts being too short or her stomach hanging out. Why? When she was five years old she had shorts under her dresses and I taught her how to layer her clothes and cultivated a culture of modesty. She’s one of the most fashionable people I know but she’s modest at the same time.
You may be wondering if its too late. It’s not too late with the presence of God. He is the Restorer of time, He is a Resurrector, and the Ultimate Miracle Worker. The key when starting late is to be consistent and sincere.
4) Help them see the Lord’s purpose for their lives.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)
They have purpose! Help them find it. Go to college fairs, volunteer at various events, send them to church 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.
When you give them space and opportunities to help them find their purpose, you are showing them that the Lord made them with purpose which may help lower depression and thoughts of suicide. It helps them to know that they aren’t here by mistake or are meaningless in their existence.
God HAS a plan for them. By linking arms with them to help find it, both of you can survive the teenager years. For more tips on how to do this, click here.
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 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.
“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Friends can be a tricky situation especially considering 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! This leads me to the final practical way of surviving the teen years.
6) Pray, pray, pray!
This being #6 doesn’t mean it’s the last resort but needs to be the 1st 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! One time I was napping, woke up, and was led to my Facebook 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 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, I know God’s voice and I know when He is speaking to me. How? I pray!
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph. 6:18)
This is key in how to survive the teenage years, your home is under the covering you provide by the power 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 is also a friend. 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 and everything seems to be going all wrong, nothing is impossible with God. Maybe your teen is no longer a teen and has moved on, maybe you can have a conversation with them, get therapy together on mistakes made, or 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,