Having a shepherding relationship with teenagers necessitates that you have successfully navigated the first two stages of the child's life (authority is established, character is developed). A key thing to recognize is that over time parental authority decreases and parental influence increases. What does that look like? Here are some key areas and thoughts:
- Shepherd your children through their doubts. Help them get resources, share your own experiences of doubting your faith, and expose them to other Christians who are living out their faith.
- Give them positive interaction. We must allow them to fail and deal with consequences, but we must never belittle them with destructive speech. "Pleasant words promote instruction" (Proverbs 16:21; see also verse 24).
- Be sensitive to timing. When they are ready to talk, we must be prepared to engage them.
- Allow room for disagreement. We need to differentiate between Scriptural instruction and personal taste.