Raising Teens in a Troubled World

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

How can you raise teens in a troubled, evil world? The Bible shows us how.

Family as a Resource

Many people believe that raising teens is any much harder today than ever. If not, it sure seems so. Today, teens go through temptations worse than you and I had so what are parents to do in raising teenagers in an evil world? Whatever your opinion is, here are some ways to help parents raise their teens in a world full of temptations, and if possible, try some of these today. Grandparents, great grandparents, uncles, and aunts are one of the greatest resources for your child that there is. Grandpa may say something that they actually listen too! My grandpa was part Cherokee Indian and I would do anything he asked me. His love, kind, gentle voice mesmerized me in a loud, violent, and fast world, and today it seems worse.How To Share The Gospel WIth Family

Show an Interest

One way to help your teens is to show an interest in what they are interested in. Let your kids see your vulnerability. Acknowledge their skills in something. I do draw the line on games of violence. I do not participate in these kinds of games but sports (co-operative or verses one another) can help connect us to our teens. Video games like pool, bowling, fishing and sports can be fun…buy one and play it with them. As spouses, we show interest in the things our spouse has interests in (even if we don’t like it), but we are motivated out of love to do so. Why not post positive Facebook messages about them? Boast about their accomplishments, no matter how small. Everyone has something positive about them don’t they?

Planting Seeds

You are planting seeds, good or bad, whether you know it or not, however you are not responsible for the spiritual birth (John 3:3-7; Eph 1, 2:1-2). God is. It is their response to His ability, but it is your responsibility to plant the seed. Water and fertilize it with love and patience. Like the farmer…he cannot make the seed germinate. You cannot change your teen…you can only change how you react to them. A soft answer turns down a voice of anger. God alone can change the heart. Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” Believe it or not, everything doesn’t actually passes through one ear and out the other. Some of it does stick! It may just take a while for it to show up. Say it anyway! Any Saul (his name means destroyer) can become a Paul (small, humble), but only by His Spirit (Prov 21:1). Besides, anything you can talk them into, someone else can talk them out of, but the Holy Spirit’s teachings stick so pray for them often and love them always.

Power in the Gospel

We cannot save anyone but God can and the gospel has power to it. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek”  (Non-Jews), and in 1 Corinthians 1:18 it says, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Jesus never forced Himself upon anyone. He called some in His day but today, others come by means of the Word and witness of others. It is always God Who gives the increase. He alone knows the perfect timing for the seed to germinate, so it is not by the arm of flesh but by His Spirit (2 Chron 32:8; Jer 17:5

Making Disciples of Your Teens

Want a short lesson on how to make disciples of your teens? Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It is by our love for one another, including teens, that they will know who Jesus’ disciples are and 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 the words (i.e. I love you). 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.

Exasperating Children

Does every conversation leave you exasperated? Let me ask, “Do our conversations with God disappointment Him? Very likely, the answer to that is yes, so find ways to engage them in conversation. Echo their most harsh statements so that they hear just what they said. Ask open-ended questions about things, not questions that only need a yes or no. Communicate with love. Ephesians 6 says to not provoke your children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4). This means don’t frustrate them. Rules that no one understands or are inconsistent with expectations only frustrate teens. Maybe you can allow your children determine some of the consequences, but be consistent in applying the consequences. Your teen needs to know ahead of time 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. Remember, you’re the parent…not their friend. Be the parent! Speak respectfully about 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 behavior.

Provoking Anger

“Do as I say and not as I do” should never be part of your training strategy. Your children will do as you do. 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? 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 but never correct them in public. Sometimes, the only time they talk with their teenager is when they have to deal with a problem. Provoking children to anger comes in many forms: verbal, physical or sexual abuse; neglect; lack of discipline; lack of limitations or structure; favoritism; or discouragement.

Three Types Parent disciplining childof Parents

The Drill Sergeant

The Drill Sergeant is the type of parent that is always in the face of the child and is constantly pushing and pressuring them to do better at home and in school. Even in sports, they can be yelling at their children to their extreme embarrassment of their friends and peers. Saying, or perhaps, yelling at them to “clean up your room” or “get your homework done or no supper for you!” is a sure way to provoke anger. What they learn is if they want other people to do things for them, the way get it done is through shouting or intimidating others.

Search and Rescue

The Search and Rescuer parent is the type of parent that constantly hovers over a child waiting for a mistake; not to yell at them, but to drop in and rescue them. This builds an externally-dependent child, so when they experience difficulty, they’ll often give up in frustration because they realize that they cannot do it without their parents (or someone else). An important lesson is never learned by the child – that is through trial and error they can actually discover how to solve problems on their own. What happens when the day comes when the child leaves home and has to do for themselves? This type of child tends to be fearful of challenges and change and may actually be thwarted by life’s ups and downs. If they learn anything, it is that they must depend on others.

The Consultant

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

The consultant parent is the type of parent will let the child try to solve their own problems. They allow the child to try and fail, only to try again, eventually to succeed. When things get frustrating for a child, the parent does not try to do it for them or they don’t try to yell or scream them into submission. The parent acts as a consultant. Their approach might be, “Wow, I see that you are really having difficulties. I remember when I was your age and I had problems with math too. I just had to go to the back of the textbook and look at several examples to see how they solved these equations. I don’t know what you’re going to do, but that’s what I did. Let me know if I can help you in anyway.” Positive reinforcement and allowing a child to fail is a productive way for teaching children to learn how to solve problems on their own and to know when to ask for help when they need it.


Parenting teens is a great challenge, but with God, with love, and with prayer, your child can grow up into a productive member of society…and one which contributes to the world and not one which is anti-social.

Here is some related reading for you: Christian Parenting: Advice for Raising Teenagers

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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