Biblical and Practical Thoughts on Parenting, Part 9: The Traumas of Being a Teenager

As we work through our series on parenting, one season that must be addressed is that of the teenage years. This can often be a time of great stress– the term “trauma” is not an overstatement. Here are a few points to consider when navigating these years that are not for the faint of heart. 

I.    Stresses Impacting the Teenage Years

  • Hormones going crazy, couples with tremendous physical growth.
  • Intense feelings and emotions. (The swings can be extreme!)
  • A radically changing body and self-image.
  • Increased sensitivity to peer opinion/pressure.
    • A school format change from one teacher to many teachers, along with a range of different subjects.
    • Feelings of insecurity and extreme self-criticism.
    • Sexual thoughts that both frighten and excite.
    • Fantasies about romance.
    • Girls who are already adult size and shape, and some boys who are mature, while others are a bit clumsy.
    • The reality that in many ways, they are still children, while in other ways they are almost adults.
    • Slights and rejections which are a big deal.

II.    Suggestions to Parents for Surviving the Teenage Years

  • Try not to take their moods personally.
  • Break through their walls with humor, and games.
  • Give them space and time alone.
  • Have adult conversations; they are almost there!
  • Treat them as adults, but realize they will still act like children at times.
  • Compliment them on their mature moments.
  • Don’t expect them to parent younger siblings.  But, let them help!
  • Think of creative ways for them to pay off mistakes.
  • Cut them some slack; don’t confront every behavioral infraction (esp. the minor ones) with the same degree of intensity.
  • Do not give up.  We can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13).
  • Don’t build your lives around your teen-agers.
  • Periodically get away from the house and your teen-agers.  In a few years they’ll be doing that to you!

Next, we will focus specifically on the role of fathers.

 

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