Christian Parenting Advice For Raising Teenagers

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

I don’t know if raising teens is any harder today than it was in previous generations, but it sure seems so. Doesn’t it? You probably think your teens go through temptations worse than you had. And your parents thought that the trials you experienced as a teenager were worse than what they had to deal with.

Whether things are worse now than they were before, here are some practical tips for raising teenagers that every Christian home can put into practice regardless of the generation. These are not in any particular order and they can be worked on one at a time or together. Try to find one or two that you can implement today.

Love Your Teenagers

Love can be shown in many different ways. The actions and attitudes we show towards our teens mean much more than the words we say. However, don’t neglect to tell them you love them. It may seem mushy and unnecessary to say “I love you” to your teen, but it will mean much to them in the coming years having heard their parents say it.

A right attitude towards your teen will communicate love to them. Does every conversation leave you exasperated? It is doing the same for your son or daughter too. Find ways to engage them in conversation that does not end with one or both of you frustrated with the other. Communicate with love.

Respect Your Teen

Show your respect in the way you speak to them and about them. Talk to them with honor and speak of them respectfully before other adults and your teen’s peers. Your kids are watching and listening. They will pick up when you speak honorably towards them.

While you are probably mentally and emotionally superior to your teen, this does not mean you need to lord that over them with insults. Even as innocent as playful insults seem to you, make sure your child sees them that way too. Teasing on your part may not be accepted as funny to your teen.

Have Clear, but Few Rules

Part of respect and love is to have good rules. This sets boundaries. Even if we say we don’t like rules, the truth is, everyone likes to know the limitations and expectations. Have rules that are clear. I don’t know that I can give you a set of rules that will work in every house or situation, but I can give you an example of what my parents used with us growing up.

Your job is to train your teenagers into godly citizens who know how to think on their own.

As older teens my brothers and I had already learned what was expected of us from our parents. Therefore, I only remember one rule that we had through those last years in my parents home. The amazing thing is that rule summed up so much of everything we had been taught as younger kids. The rule was, that we must be home from any activity or outing by 11:00 PM. If we were going to be out any later, we needed to call for permission or to explain why we could not be home by then.

This simple rule kept us out of a lot of trouble. My parents knew exactly where we were and who we were with. Our parents were showing respect to us in trusting us. We showed respect to our parents by calling (even if we were only 2 minutes from home at 11:00 we would find a pay phone and call because we respected them enough to not cause them to worry). It also caused our friends to have a higher respect for my parents and they knew the rules were not negotiable.

A single-rule environment won’t work in every family. But if you can choose good clear rules that encompass many aspects of love and respect, then you will probably have fewer battles. Our system worked because we were taught well in our more formative years that rules were to be obeyed and authority was to be respected.

Don’t Have Stupid Rules

Ephesians 6 says to not provoke your children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4). This means don’t frustrate them. Stupid rules that no one understands or rules that are inconsistent with other expectations simply frustrate those being governed by them. As adults we have probably all experienced these types of rules at work.

Expect Obedience

When you set rules, you should also discuss consequences. Allow your children help you determine the consequences. You might be surprised that they would assign greater punishment on themselves than you would. Then you need to be consistent in applying the consequences. This goes along with not frustrating your child with stupid rules. Your teen needs to know that there are always consequences for disobedience. If one of your children gets away with breaking a rule and another one doesn’t then you frustrate your children and break down the respect they have for you and their siblings.

When enforcing the rules you have agreed upon, you need to remember you are the parent, not their high school best friend. Your job is to train your teenagers into godly citizens who know how to think on their own. A true friend and parent will do what is right for the teen, not partner with them to fight other authority figures.

Engage Them

Talk with your teenager. Find ways to engage them in conversations. They aren’t going to go to you for advice and share their heart if their only interaction with you is when you are saying to them: “Brush your teeth.” “Clean your room.” “Don’t wear that.”

Find conversation starters—and, “what did you do in school today?”—does not count. What is your child interested in? You should become at least somewhat knowledgeable about that subject and engage them in it.

Seek common ground to help you engage your teen in conversation. Then listen. Let them talk. If you correct them on everything they say or feel like you have to control the conversation, then you are going to turn off your teen’s interest in talking. They should talk and you should listen. You may be surprised as to what you can learn from them.

Be a Good Role Model

Be an example of how you want them to live. Speak respectfully to and of others. Model the behavior you want your child to show. If you spend the evenings complaining about the way the boss runs his business, you are modeling the behavior of your teens sitting with their friends complaining about the way you run your house.

“Do as I say and not as I do” should never be part of your training strategy. Your children will do as you do. The question is, are you living in the same way you want them to live?

I have heard it said that what leadership does in moderation, their followers will do in excess. If you took all of your own habits, good or bad, and multiplied their intensity 2 or 5 times, would you want to be around yourself? Consider that every trait you and your spouse have will be magnified in your teenagers. Do you like what you see? Change what you can.

Pass on Your Relationship with God

It is said that God has no grandchildren. What is meant by that a child is not saved because of the relationship his parents have with God. Each person must come to God on his own. Theologically that is true. However, practically a child will more likely come to a personal relationship with God because of the lessons he learns from his parents. Share your love for God with your children.

Affirm Their Good Actions

Teenagers need reassurance. While they are seeking independence they also want to know that they are accepted and loved. Praise them when they do well. It is so easy to live in the same house without talking or engaging one another. Even in a home which is free of stress.

For many, the only time they talk with their teenager is when they have to deal with a problem. Don’t let this be your relationship with your child. Seek out ways to affirm their good actions and decisions.

Your Tips?

I am curious to see what God has taught you in raising teens. Particularly I am curious as to what you consider to be good rules for teenagers. Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Looking for more tips and advice for the Christian? Take a look at these articles:


YouTube video “With All I Am” by Hillsong

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack Wellman November 8, 2012 at 2:28 pm

David, you have mentioned several key components here. I have only 1 left in my almost-empty nest and she is a teen and I believe that we must give them love when they act like and seem to least deserve. When children are the most unlovable, disrespectful, hateful, and aggravating, is the exact moment that they need love the most. Isn’t this what God does for us? I truly treasure your words of wisdom and will take them to hear sir. Thank you and I thank God for you.


Pamela Rose Williams November 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Really like this article David. My favorite is “Don’t have stupid rules”. WOW! In my younger parenting days I think I had some of those. Now I look back and say … that was a stupid rule. Great advice brother.


Ruth November 14, 2012 at 8:08 am

Dear David,
Thanks for your insightful article about dealing with teenagers. I”m divorced, we have one daughter with my ex, the problem is, my husband had really taught our daughter how to lie until this got deep into her. i am finding it difficult to get it out of her despite all the efforts, though i have not lost hope. The bad thing is that, he still goes to visit her to school and tell her things, and asks her not to tell me, only for me to discover eventually. I have spoken to her on several occasions, taken her to church counselor, my friends have spoken with her but there seems to no change. What can i do about this because it is stressing me? Thanks for you insightful articles once again. be blessed


BeWell July 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm

This is beautifully written, useful advice. We must show compassion and respect to our teens, even when they are challenging. This is because even on our worst days, Jesus guides us. We are all children of God, and we can be stubborn and difficult. Yet our Heavenly Father sets us straight with firm love. What a gift to be able to do that for our teens. (Not always easy…but in the end, a blessing!)


Heather B September 30, 2014 at 10:27 pm

We are doing everything we can to give our son the foundation and understanding he needs to succeed in his faith. I’ve been reading a great new book by Dr. Tony Evans. One of the goals of the book is to help parents grow in confidence as they discover their worth as a parent based on God’s Word. He says just what you are saying, “Instructing your children in the Lord means spending time with them so they can see how you live out the gospel.” It’s called “Raising Kingdom Kids: Giving Your Child a Living Faith.” He says, “It’s far easier to SHAPE A CHILD than to REPAIR AN ADULT. Raising kids who recognize and retain their identity as children of the King launches healthy adults who have the capacity to stand strong in their faith.” Equipping and guiding our children starts with us, parents! This is the most solid, thorough, inspirational and affirming parent book I’ve ever read! I love it and HIGHLY recommend it for all parents!


Okechukwu Peter Okee January 2, 2016 at 10:49 pm

This is a wonderful piece.

God gave me a holistic approach to child care some years back that involves: economic care, social care, medical care and spiritual care. Therein, I understood Proverbs 22:6 from a perspective that could have affirmed Malachi 2:15 as relates to God designing that every marriage should produce godly seed.

None of these can be effectively done except parents truly love God and therein be equipped on how best to love their children.

Our love for our children should warrant giving them the most affordable best. But, many parents have failed to follow this holistic approach with manifest confusions in the hearts of many children as relates to how best they can relate with their environment. Sadly, most parents do not know the LORD, and cannot easily teach His ways to their children.

It is this child-training sponsored ignorance that has made many adults to remain adult crawlers in view of how they live without any sign of spiritual maturity. As they were not trained with the love of God (John 14:15, 23) by their parents, they only grow in size with age, and in material acquisition as they yield to a lifestyle of greed and selfishness without being mindful of the purpose of truly living.

This is what have defaced the Earth across nations. For the varied acts of negligence and overindulgence in sinful acts by many adults that are depriving creation of vital divine care, especially in the third world countries; are proceeds from very poor parenting, that have made many to grow up into selfish and wicked adults.

May your advice challenge all parents to make a difference that will hasten our restoration to God’s original purpose in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thanks again for your labour of love.

Your co-labourer,
Okechukwu Peter Okee
Chief Medical Laboratory Scientist
Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi.
Anambra State Nigeria.


Jamie April 7, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Thank you for your intelligent, caring, and insightful comments. I believe you have “hit the nail on the head” as we say here.
Most helpful.


Cindy Appel August 9, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Wow, thank you for such great advice!
There is such an abundance of information on your website I can’t learn fast enough.
I am in need of guidance for my 14 yr old son. I started going back to church recently (about 6 mo ago give or take)… I have asked God into my heart and to take charge of my life. He is working slowly but I believe He is with me, at least I pray so.. I’ve pretty much had to make my son go to Sunday school. He says it’s ok and he listens but he doesn’t really believe in God. I can’t blame him, I’ve been a terrible role model and his father (we are together) believes in a higher power but does not want to go to service with me. He was raised Catholic and pretty much detests all that blather, he does not believe in their ways. I guess that’s good in a way. Ive never been a good speaker and cannot find the words to get either of them interested enough to come with me.
None of my close family are church goers I don’t even think my parents own a bible anymore. It keeps running through my head, let go and let God. I am trying my best and have anger issues myself that I’m not proud of. I am prying everyday asking for Gods help. I want to be a better example to my son. There are other issues involved, I’m just asking for any advice I can get for my son.
Sorry for running on and on.
I will keep reading the Word and praying. I love my church and the wonderful Christians there. A real church that teaches the bible. I’ve never been to a church like it.
Praise God and may he bless us all.


Lisa Q James November 9, 2016 at 9:24 pm

I pray that things have improved since you originally wrote your letter. There were a couple of things that God laid on my heart to share with you when I read it. First, you need to pray that “God would grow in your son a desire to learn more about God and that he and God will soon form a close personal relationship.” Second, for your husband, pray “that God would re-ignite his interest in attending church and learn more about God in order to lay a strong foundation to build Christian values on for your son to live by.” Now, while God is working all that out, you keep being the best Christian witness you can be. Go to church like you should and invite them to come with you. If they say “no” don’t lose your temper or get into a discussion about it with them. Just tell them “OK, Maybe next time.” Let it go and leave. You know you have God Almighty on your side working inside their hearts and minds till the time is right for Him to answer your prayers. Meanwhile you can stay strong in your faith thereby modeling the Christian walk before your son. You and your family will be blessed many times over if you follow these steps as He revealed them to me.
I truly desire all the best for you and your family.


Dave Clark August 21, 2017 at 6:54 pm

I would like to share a way my wife and I were able to find common ground with my teenage son. We had lost ground with him as a teenager, and after he was away getting his degree at college, we looked for a way to regain some of that ground. We invited him to go with us on a trip anywhere he wished to celebrate his graduation. He choose Japan. He picked the itinerary which included both things we would like and he would like. His favorite activity was a Japanese baseball game since he always loved baseball. As a result out relationship was much improved and it was easier in talking about all things.


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