Today, Tim and Barbara Lane are sharing their perspective on protecting our children and the challenge of parenting teens. If you missed the beginning of this conversation with the Lanes, you can catch up here.
An Honest Look – Challenges of Parenting Teens
Jennifer: It’s so easy to assume that our children will be different from the “bad kids” we know. But the reality is – we live in a fallen world with sin encroaching at the doors of our hearts. How can we as parents prepare our hearts for the fact that our children will sin – against us, others and, most importantly, God?
Barbara: An understanding of the human condition and our need for God’s grace is probably the most critical and comforting truth that a parent can have. If you do not understand the capabilities of your own heart, all of your relationships will suffer…most especially the relationship you have with your children. This does not come naturally! When we see our own need for grace and look to our Redeemer for mercy, our propensity to love and serve God and others changes dramatically.
One mistake Christian parents often make is forgetting that their child is capable of actually being a sinner. The sooner you factor in your doctrine of sin, the less surprised you will be when your child makes a poor decision. It will also help you respond with patience and hope. I have found that the times when my kids have really messed up are the best opportunities to show them their need of God’s grace.
Jennifer: Can we keep our kids from becoming those “bad” kids? From ever having a weighty confession to make to us?
Barbara: Something I can honestly say from experience is the most critical factor as a parent is the need to cultivate an environment where sin and repentance are a daily activity. I remember my husband asking me to forgive him for becoming angry during a disagreement within a few weeks of being married. I don’t remember the situation, but I distinctly remember how blown away I was that he was confessing his anger and asking forgiveness in a heated moment. It diffused the situation and caused me to pause and consider how I had also contributed to the situation. What freedom!
As parents, there are daily opportunities to ask forgiveness – when we have been quick to become angry, been flippant, barked out a harsh remark or simply have not listened and loved well. When children know that they are being loved and disciplined by a parent who understands their own need of God’s mercy, they will be comforted to live a life of repentance and not just fear working up to the “weighty” one-time confession.
Jennifer: My kids aren’t at the “confessing sins” age, yet, but I remember this stage as a young adult! Do you have any regrets with how you have responded to your kids’ confessions? What would you do differently when looking back?
Tim: This is a place where living a life of repentance and faith starts as early as the changing table. I remember changing diapers early in my baby’s life and expressing a sense of irritation that they would not cooperate. I needed to ask forgiveness of my toddler! Once a sibling was added to the mix, it provided even more opportunity for daily repentance. We laugh about it now, but it seems like there were more confessions and asking for forgiveness on certain days than there were play times. The consistent daily activity of confession of sin and asking forgiveness feels like a lot of work to an already-weary parent, but worth every moment. It sets the tone for a home that thrives because of the gospel. In fact, doing this is an opportunity for your children to see and experience the grace of Christ in a tangible way.
Are you parenting teens? What’s got you worried?
Next week Tim and Barbara will discuss teens and the often overwhelming area of sexual temptations! Join my newsletter below so you won’t miss it:
Wherever you are on your parenting journey, be sure to check out these resources:
- Covenant Eyes
- Parenting board
- The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality, by Luke Gilkerson
- Sex Before Marriage: How Far is Too Far, by Tim Lane