As I was preparing this post for Tricia’s blog, I considered what you all might like to hear about. You see, Tricia and I, in a lot of ways, are very similar. I have six kids, I’m a busy author, I’m running a busy ministry, and I’m parenting littles and teens at the same time. Tricia has been there, done that, and is doing it again . . . in circles around me. Which I’d never have thought possible, had I not met Tricia. And it only annoys me a little bit! 😉
As a busy work-at-home’ish*** mom, I know just how important it is to stay on guard when approaching the teen years. It’s easy to miss the cues of impending disaster if you’re not watching closely. Here are the top four questions you need to ask yourself on a weekly (preferably daily) basis to ensure you’re on top of things with your teens:
- Can I confidently describe where my teens and pre-teens were every night of the past week.
- When is the last time my teens confided in me about something personal?
- When was the last time I said no to something big?
- When is the last time I prayed for my teens?
In quick-fire answer to the questions above, I’d say:
1. At no age, as long as your kids are living in your home, do I think it’s OK to offer up a curfew with no accountability for whereabouts. Not only is it asking for temptation and trouble to put that much freedom in the hands of a teenager or (heaven forbid) a pre-teen, but it’s also just illogical. Why would we not err on the side of safety by keeping track of our kids’ location? We owe it to them to able to help them in moment’s notice.
Bonus question: Do I have phone numbers of the parents of those involved? This step will annoy your older teens especially, but they’ll treasure the thought that you care that much. They’ll also notice that their friend’s parents don’t.
2. Do your kids feel comfortable coming to you with their BFF troubles and dating woes? Are they open to you about the peer pressure they encounter and the struggles their friends are having at home? Do they tell you their worries, their dreams, their fears? If not, you can do two very important things about it: Ask questions and listen. No, it won’t change things right away. Trust me, your teens will make you work for this one. But when they believe you’re not backing down, that you’re going to keep at it because they are worth it, they’ll soften toward you.
Bonus question: How available have you been this week? Does your teenager have to fight for minutes between your activities or have every conversation with you over your laptop screen? Consider that your perceived availability might be a turn-off.
3. Yes is fun. It’s awesome to see your teens excited and happy. It’s a lot easier to say yes than it is to say no. But the yes is rarely where the teaching happens. It’s in the no that our kids learn about disappointment, respect, patience, and trust. Be sure you’re willing to say no to your teenager in order to teach those important, godly traits.
Bonus question: Can you think of a yes that you regret? Do you need to pull back and turn your yes into a no? It’s OK to do that. In fact, as difficult as it is, it will be a great teaching moment. Let your teen know that even you make mistakes, but that you love him/her so much that you’re willing to take the heat in order to do what’s right.
4. Do you pray for your kids daily? It’s so important, not only that you do it, but that they know about it. Whether they admit it or not, it means so much to them to know you’re taking them before the throne of God every single day.
Bonus question: When’s the last time you prayed together? And even deeper, when’s the last time your teenager prayed in front of you? Are you creating a culture of prayer in your home? This is vital in order to set an atmosphere of faith and surrender.
I’m Nicole O’Dell, author, founder of Choose NOW Ministries, and mom of six. I believe that preparation is the number-one thing when it comes to raising teens who will make good choices even when you’re not looking. And, in order to help with that, I and my team at Choose NOW Publishing have just launched an incredible set of resources that hits right in the heart of your need. Powerline365 is just the companion you need to prepare now to victoriously power through this next year and beyond.
Powerline365 is a high-voltage, multi-format daily devotional to help parents raise Christian teens without losing connection.
Tap into the power you need to lead your teens into a vibrant personal relationship with Jesus. Many teens, even those from Christian homes, fail to connect with Him on a personal level. They forge on alone, searching for identity as the enemy pelts them with temptations and doubts. As parents, we’re left reeling, wondering where we went wrong.
Powerline365 offers daily insight to ground you in truth as you plug into the Source. It’s time for you to power-parent from a place of confidence and surrender, believing God’s Word is true, and His promises will never go unfulfilled.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within [your teenager], will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6, NLT)
Now for the fun part!
Crowdfunding is a super-risky (for me!), but potentially awesome (for you!) way to make products available to the public. It allows Powerline365 users or those who believe in the project and want to support the raising up of a godly generation of teens to fund at various levels. And it means EARLY ACCESS for you! Would you pop over to our campaign page and see what we have going on? There’s a lot of great opportunity and interesting things you’ll only have access to through this campaign. Plus it’s the ONLY way to get ahold of these resources now, in time for 2014.
GIVEAWAY: And all who participate in the campaign and leave a comment here will be entered to win a Spark30 devotional subscription. We’ll give away one for every ten participants. This can also be gifted!
My heartfelt prayer is that you’ll find victory in your relationship with your teens as you lead them to good choices and a strong faith in Jesus.
Nicole O’Dell is the founder of Choose NOW Ministries, bringing a message of hope for today’s families through daily articles, weekly radio shows, and the printed word. A mother of six herself, she has authored 23 books for parents and teens, both fiction and nonfiction, all with the goal of helping the reader make good choices NOW.
***work-at-home’ish: adj. A working mom who does a lot of it at home, but, thanks to he wonderful church who built her an office, has a great place to go, offsite, to really get ‘er done. Tune in back here later in January to see pics of my church work space!