Do you have a teenager?
I have four older children-- one is an adult, another is a senior, and the two older boys are 15 and 14, so I have definitely had some experience!
Teens are a joy, and, contrary to popular belief, do not have to be given in to teenage rebellion. It does not have to happen, and should not be something that we expect. Children can be raised into young adulthood learning to serve and actually be a blessing to others.
But one thing that I have definitely learned about having teens is not to take your relationship with them for granted and not to engage them passively. We need to be intentional with our teenagers. These are critical years and they need someone wiser walking along side them engaging them purposefully.
If we don't, then the world will.
The world is growing into a darker place with every day that passes, we find it everywhere--on the news, on our Facebook feeds, and more. We can't draw a blind eye to it. We need to address the issues head on with a biblical worldview. If we don't we run the risk of our children adopting wrong views that are "popular" today.
But how do you do that and what does it look like?
Today I am sharing 8 ways to talk to your children about culture and everything else between. Some of you might even struggle with just even having a simple conversation so I hope this will help you as well.
1. Take the time to talk to them - If you are waiting for them to come to you that might never happen. If you are waiting for time in your day to talk to them that might not ever happen either. You need to make it a priority. Sit down and take the time even if it is inconvenient.
2. Don't be negative - If they think that you are going to be negative when they talk to you, like nag them or criticize them then they probably won't come to you. Look for ways to be positive in your speech while talking to them and don't talk down to them. This way they will look forward to talking with you.
3. Draw them out - Do you have teens that answer questions with just a simple "yes" or "no"? If so it might help to draw them out and asking deeper questions to get to the heart of the matter.
4. Share with them their faults in a loving way - Yelling and raising your voice might be your trigger reaction but it doesn't go very far with raising teens. Don't make them feel stupid or dumb but be willing to take the time to expose faulty thinking with a loving spirit. Remember the verse--"A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger."
5. Share your own "stories" - It is important for your child to hear the some of the stories of when you failed or made mistakes. This way they can relate to you and not feel that you are demanding "perfection" from them and know that they are not alone.
6. Point them to Christ - The truth is that they are a sinner in need of a Savior. Point them to Christ always and not just a set of rules of "do's" and "dont's". We want to raise teens to love the Lord and not a Pharisaical legalist.
7. You can't protect them from everything so arm them - You can protect them from some things (and you definitely should) but you honestly just can't protect them from everything. Since that is true your most important goal is to arm them with a biblical worldview so that when they go out into the world they they will know the truth and and have light to guide their way.
8. Be the model - Yes, I know it is hard but it is for the sake of God's glory and for children to see this whole gospel thing being fleshed out. So do your best to be a godly example to them. Don't just take them to church on Sunday and act hypocritically all week long. Notice that I did not say to be perfect. There is only one that is perfect and that is Jesus Christ. If you fail in front of them, ask for forgiveness. Humility can go a long way if it is sincere.
And most importantly, I would like to add to engage your kids while they are young. The younger you teach a biblical worldview the better and stronger the foundation.
I hope these 8 steps are a blessing to you!