Understanding Your Teen

Parent-Teen relationships can be trying at times. For some, this relationship can be a very real struggle, even in a Christian home. One of the best things you can do is understand some of the issues teens face these days. Lack of understanding or proper biblical training for either side can cause friction, and simple misunderstandings can turn into serious conflicts.

As teens move from childhood to adulthood they begin to recognize themselves more as individuals. They begin asking questions such as, Who am I? Why am I here? Am I too Short/Tall, Fat/skinny, and even Did God make a mistake with me? They need to learn that God loves them and created them unique, beautiful, and with a purpose for their lives. The Book of Psalms tells us, For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

Teens need to learn to accept God’s standards instead of what the world tries to set as a standard. When they learn to stand with Christ and accept His standards, His plan and purpose for their lives, they can find victory in self-acceptance.

It’s amazing how difficult teen years can be. They have to deal with different philosophies held by family, friends, teachers, and people in media. A person’s philosophy is the framework from which they make life decisions. Teens need to learn there is a Christian world view based on the Way, the Truth, and the Life, which brings true freedom. It’s the only real philosophy to build their lives on.

Teens are learning how to relate to authority and leadership, and the more people over them, the harder it is to relate. When they see others question authority and leadership, teens find it more difficult to accept and relate. Parents need to be the example in teens lives and help guide them to others who are good examples.

Friends are a huge influence on teens. By setting the example and helping them develop a healthy Christian world view you can limit the negative effects other teens have on them. They need to know what a real friend is, what is appropriate to do with friends, how to do the right things with friends despite peer pressure. Be careful trying to isolate your teen from unsaved teens. Some times you would be surprised at the negative influence of some saved teens. Encourage you teens to be strong and stand up for their beliefs. 

Teens are faced with the necessity to make decisions every day. They need to determine what the standard of truth is for their lives. They need to know the difference between right and wrong, and principles that help them deal with gray areas in life. They need to understand the importance of seeking good counsel so they can find the right answers and joy in their lives.

Parents, Psalm 37:30-31 tells us, The godly offer good counsel; they teach right from wrong. They have made God’s law their own, so they will never slip from his path. Your efforts to shape your teen does not go unnoticed by God. Keep setting the example and even when they are older they will not depart from it.

Brian Conner is an Army Chaplain and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate practicing at Pecan Grove Family Counseling. He can be reached at brian@pecangrovefamily.com or www.pecangrovefamily.com.