Thursday, January 20, 2011

Further Thoughts on Parenting Teenagers

I am so grateful for all the encouraging words of wisdom and blessing after my last post!  Thank you, friends.

It seems that so much of parenting teenagers is about doing the best you can, appreciating all that you can, and trusting--in God, in yourself, and in the best that's in your kids.  And finally, it's about accepting that there are no guarantees of "success." 

One friend, who's been through it already with his own teens, gave this helpful perspective:

There is so much advice out there, most of it predicated on a falsehood, i.e. if we just do the right thing, then our children will turn out right. That right there gets us off on the wrong foot with the wrong set of expectations. God always does the right thing and look at us!

It has been said that it is not the teens who are damaged in those wonderful years of parental conflict and confrontation, but the parents. I think there is a lot to that. ...Many parents simply do not find parenting to be that happy thing they thought it would be. Fact is, we are flawed human beings trying to raise other flawed human beings. That is not exactly a recipe for success is it?

I think that is another way that the ‘how to parent industry’ misses the mark. At heart it is a theological issue. It assumes more of the parent than should be assumed. Too, I wonder if God is not continuing to parent us as we parent our children. Which means that it is not a matter of the arrived helping the journeying, but the journeying helping each other. All of us in different places on that journey, yet all moving together. 

I really like those last ideas, especially.  As I said in my post, I have been surprised to come up so squarely against my own issues, not just those of my teens. It helps me to think of God using this challenge of parenting teenagers to parent me, to teach me to "grow up" in my faith by letting me experience how helpless I am without Him...just as I'm trying to teach the same kind of faith and trust to my own children.

We're all on the same journey--and none of us will arrive, this side of eternity.

But maybe we can help each other get a little further down the road!


Anonymous said...

I'm dying to know who wrote that! Thank you for sharing... that is something I needed to hear, and will copy down for the future.

On a similar note, will you or Papa Rooster :) send us the file of the Christian Bar-mitzvah service that he wrote? We have a young friend who is turning thirteen at the end of the month and they are wanting to do this...

Thanks, friends. Keep praying for us who are looking ahead to parenting teens! And keep praying for your god-son!


At A Hen's Pace said...

Sarah--No one you know wrote this; it's a friend we've made here in WI.

We'd love to share the service with you. We have a son version and a daughter version--which do you want?

Yes...praying for you all!