Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Shepherding" Chapter 18: Teenagers - Training Objectives

The teenage years are marked by insecurity and vulnerability. It's a time for children to establish themselves as individuals, but there is an intense need to feel accepted and loved. Many families equate "teenager" with "rebellion," but it is important to note that rebellion doesn't just appear when a child turns 13. Instead, this rebellion has been there (possibly dormant) all along, but now there are more opportunities to express it.

In general, parenting is about preparing for the next stage. If you have preschoolers, the goal is to prepare them for childhood by teaching them that they are under authority (chapter 14). Elementary-aged children need to be lead towards the teen years by training their character at the heart level (chapter 16). And teenagers need to be prepared for adulthood.

Tripp gives three foundations for life that teenagers need before they reach full adulthood, based on the teaching in Proverbs 1:7-19, as follows:
  1. Fear of the Lord (verse 7). We need to realize that we are accountable to a holy and powerful God. It's not just about cognitive truth, but how it plays out in daily life. We need to live out of fear of God instead of fear of man, and our children need to see how we parents are living this out.
  2. Adherence to Parental Instruction (verses 8-9). Instruction should come in specific family worship times that address their specific needs and interests, and also amidst the flow of everyday living (see Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Furthermore, we must remember to parent out of their best interests, not what is convenient for us or what makes us look good to them or others.
  3. Disassociation with the Wicked (verses 10-19). Children do not become rebellious because they hang out with the wrong crowd. They (and we) are innately rebellious sinners. What they want is to have a sense of belonging. Since no one runs from a place where they are loved and accepted, parents should make their homes an attractive place for children and teens.
Do you have any suggestions with how you have made your home a welcoming and fun place for your child's friends?

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