- They have their heads in the sand as to where their teenagers are (especially on weekends!) and who they are with? Parents, do you know where your teenagers are on a given Friday night? Do you know if they are engaged in under-age drinking? Trust me, other parents often know more than you do about your kids (because kids who party to excess have loose lips later, unable to resist bragging about their exploits to their friends and classmates). Part of your responsibility as a parent is to keep your child safe, even after they reach the teen years. And Christian parents should not buy into the old adage that says, “Oh, kids will be kids. All teenagers go through that wild phase.” Teenagers do not have to go through a “wild” phase. We are not raising kids in the hopes that when they grow up they will follow Christ. We want them to begin to follow Christ now, looking to Him for guidance and acceptance—not to their peer group.
- They allow their teens to dress inappropriately, making them targets for unwanted stares and comments from fellow teens, as well as from potentially dangerous strangers. Parents, your teen’s safety, reputation, and self-image are largely in your hands. God has given you this responsibility. Take it seriously. Be the parent. Begin to set the standard of dress for your children when they are young, teaching them how to represent themselves as children of God. Purity begins in the heart and extends to the outward appearance. Don’t wait until they are teens to lay down the law on appropriate attire.
- They avoid disciplinary measures like: withholding car keys, phones and other technology. Kids see their gadgets as extensions of themselves. These gadgets are very important to them. Hence, they can be a great deterrent to willful disobedience. We are often so attached to our own gadgets that we can’t bear to take tech gadgets away from our teens. We know how much it hurts! But, with teens who perpetually break the rules, engage in harmful behavior, or show disrespect, tough love may be the only thing that works. Remember, you are called to be their parent—ensuring their safety and eventual future success—not their friend.
- They are more concerned with their child’s comfort level than with developing discipline and helpfulness in the home. OK, I am stepping on my own toes now! (Is that anatomically possible?) I have always been a mom who feels almost organically attached to my kids. I wanted them to be warm enough, full enough, and (poor grammar alert), rested enough—sometimes to the detriment of their own character development. When they were growing up, I was so concerned with their comfort that I often neglected to engage them in activities and chores that would develop needed discipline. I couldn’t bear for them to be uncomfortable! (cringe)
- They abdicate their authority to their child’s coach, favorite teacher, or youth minister. Teens often develop great affinity for a certain teacher, coach or youth worker in their life. What parent hasn’t heard their teenager talk with admiration about a particular teacher or leader, spouting that person’s philosophy on an important life issue or even a spiritual concept? We want our teenagers to have other godly adult influences in their lives but just be sure those influencers don’t try to usurp your parental authority, or become your teen’s exclusive counsel on important life issues. Remember, God has given that child to you to teach, develop and guide in the ways of the Lord. Don’t make the mistake of allowing someone else to take that blessing away from you.
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