Parenting is daunting from the beginning. When children are born they are so small and helpless and most of us have no idea what we are doing. They seem so fragile in our large unsure hands. And then as they grow we worry that we are giving them all the right tools to face the world as adults. Try as we might there is no instruction book, no numbered list to go by in preparing our children.
When children become teenagers, even though you have supplied them with all the right tools, they will surprise you. Some will surprise you with their maturity and wisdom. Others will surprise you with their lack of understanding. I keep hearing about hormones as an excuse for behavior. I do not discount hormones as a culprit in chaotic feelings and emotions but they are not an excuse for acting on those feelings.
There are so many lessons we must teach our children when they are young. If you take time to consider what it is like to be an adult in the world we live in today it will help you to prepare your children for the inevitability of what they will face. Two things come to mind immediately, self control and perseverance. Ever since the movements in the sixties we have been hearing and even believing in freedom to do whatever you feel like doing. Peace, love, and freedom for everyone, and looking at these words individually they seem innocent enough. What people forget is that there are consequences for every action in life, in relationships, under the law, and under God.
Teenagers as well as adults need the security and guidelines that self control and steadfastness provide. Starting this training at a young age will benefit your children. This is not to say that they cannot have freedom to be creative and have imagination, or to be adventurous and confident in their ideas. They do however need to consider the consequences and take responsibility for their behavior. They also need to be able to stick to their convictions about right and wrong and remain steadfast in the face of peer pressure and temptation.
Too many people today are explaining away the reasons why they did the wrong thing and could do nothing about their actions because of their circumstances or upbringing. I believe it is because someone has been making excuses for them since they were very young and not allowing them to accept consequences for smaller wrongs in their lives to prepare them for adult decisions and life choices. It is so much easier for a child to accept consequences for the small things of childhood than to grow into adulthood and face the consequences prepared for the adult mind. Not being adequately prepared for these consequences will then produce myriads of problems in their adult life, not only relational or possibly legal problems alone. The growing number of adults with physiological disorders or anxiety disorders has drastically gone up and I believe it is a lack of security and boundaries in many families today.
Another problem of epidemic proportions that is seen today is the inability to stay the course. The product of too much freedom is not being able to commit. Commitment is important in relationships, work ethic, good citizenship, and in matter of faith. There is a large population of adults which have come out of an era of non-commitment which is causing a breakdown of our society as a whole. Children must be taught to persevere in the face of hardship. If they start something they need to be taught to finish it, at least for a time. They need to be given long term commitments and encouraged to stick to what they begin. Team sports are a great way to do this but for those that are not bent in that way there are many great ways to teach commitment. Musical instruments, scouting groups, leadership in clubs, and church groups and activities requiring participation on their part are essential.
Teenagers need parents who are committed to them and participants in their lives. They need you to know what is going on with friends, school, and in the community you live in. They need the security of family rules and requirements. They need responsibility at home and accountability for their school work and relationships. They need relationships with extended family, solid family friends and teachers that know that you as a parent are involved and watching out for your teenager. Your teenager needs as much or more of you than they did as a toddler to help them emerge into a healthy and successful adult world. Responsibility can be learned the hard way, by the seat of one’s pants so to say, but an even better way to learn is in the home with a loving family and focused attention to the world your teen is navigating.
Paul Taylor started www.babysittingjobs.com which offers an aggregated look at those sites to help families find sitters and to help sitters find families easier than ever. He loves writing, with the help of his wife. He has contributed quality articles for different blogs & websites.
If you are struggling with your teenager, please visit www.helpyourteens.com for more valuable resources.