Monday Mentor Moms: Wendy on Raising Teens

February 13, 2012 in kids and faith,kids and technology,mentor moms

Welcome to Monday Mentor Moms. Today, part 2 from Wendy. If you missed the first post from this woman who is crazy about Jesus, click here. Today Wendy shares inspiring  advice for raising teenagers. Be Blessed. Remember to leave Wendy a comment to thank her for sharing. 

Believe it or not, my list for raising Godly daughters seemed easily attainable when my girls were young. When daughters are little, mothers are everything to them. You are the most beautiful and honored individual in their life. They want to be just like you when they grow up. They hang on your every word and watch for your every response. In turn they  learn how to respond to life’s issues.   

I loved those young tender years:  baking cookies, tea parties, playing dolls, growing gardens, and some days reading books snuggled up on the coach for hours. That season in my life my biggest prayer was for wisdom daily that I would know what behavior and attitudes needed to be corrected, what needed gentle instruction and encouragement, and what I needed to let go of and chalk up to immaturity. I can tell you now as a mother of two teenage daughters, that is still my daily prayer. (smile) 

Not long ago I realized that to maintain relationships with my girls during the teen years I cannot allow an ideal standard to become an idol. Nor can I keep them from making mistakes–the greatest fear mothers have. We desperately want to keep our girls from making the same mistakes we made. Let me just assure you mothers, IF your daughters do make the same mistakes you made our God will be there with them. He is able to teach them and be glorified through it.  It is imperative during the teen years to choose our battles wisely. If we never allow our girls to make their own decisions or learn from poorly made decisions, they will not mature as quickly as they should. Unfortunately for all of us, some lessons are only deeply learned as a result of reaping what we sow. Along with that however, comes the powerful reminder and reality of the enormity of God’s love and grace. We need not fear our daughters making mistakes. If we are praying for our girls to have depth of character, learning from their mistakes is one of the ways God can accomplish that. 

In the teen years daughters are searching for identity, significance, and desperately still need security. As moms, we can only do and say so much to point them to Christ and remind them what God says. They need to own their faith at this stage in their life too. We cannot make all their plans, all their friends, monitor every movie they see, song they listen too, or website they visit. While I am a firm believer in regularly monitoring what our children are up to and periodically spot checking all their technology, the reality is we can not control their every move. Nor should we try. Even if our motive is good, we can quickly push our kids away at a time when they need us most.

The teen years should be training ground for making decisions. And what better place to try this out than under the care and grace of loving patient parents. Your girls need to know mom will be there for them even when they blow it. If they only feel pressure to behave in a certain way, and disappointment when they don’t, they won’t come to you when they blow it later. This has got to be one of the hardest parts about mothering in the teen years. 

When our girls where little, we made so many decisions for them. It was easy to keep them safe and away from many temptations. As they get older however, it is imperative our girls learn how to discern between right and wrong for themselves. No matter what kind of upbringing they have had up to this point, they will make mistakes.  They’re sinners just like we are.  

A huge step towards maturity is learning how to respond when confronted with temptation and mom isn’t there. And they need to learn how to assess all those “gray” areas in life as well. How will they weigh out what is good or bad for them? The best way for us to prepare them is to let go little by little. The earlier we start this process and talk about it along the way, the easier it will be for them to talk to us about their choices in the teen years. 

Ladies, we need the line of communication open in the teen years! They don’t stop needing us just because they may spend more time in their rooms or listening to music. They need us just as much as they did when they were little, if not more. Our heart and message to them must  be, “There is nothing you can do to make me love you more, and there is nothing you can do that would ever make me love you less.” That’s the message of the gospel; unconditional love. They need to see it lived out during these years. Love must be living and active in our relationships with them. Otherwise they will only feel condemned and confused, and eventually pull away from you.  

For all you young mothers, I pray the Lord helps set the foundation in your relationships now. For all you veteran moms of teens, I pray the Lord will give you wisdom how to continue pursuing your relationship with your girls during this season.

I could have spent hours preparing a list of do’s and don’t for raising godly daughters,  but then we would be attempting to achieve something by good works. The Lord continues to show me its all about Him, and bringing my girls to Him daily. Yes, as Christians we definitely say no to what God has clearly shown us is sin. But we need to be careful not to set up unrealistic standards that our girls will never be able to live up to. When our daughters see how crazy in love with the Savior we are, they will naturally gravitate towards wanting that. And I guarantee when they see “his exceeding great power towards you who believe”, they will want that for themselves. 

Be patient with your precious daughters and remember, the same grace that justified you and saved you from your sin, is the same grace that will justify your daughters as they grow and are sanctified little by little, day by day, year by year.  

Be encouraged dear sisters! It such a joy to experience each new season in our relationships with our girls. It blossoms into friendship the older they get. They are they our daughters, but soon to be friends, and sisters in Christ as well!  Our God reigns! 

In Christ’s amazing mercy,  ~Wendy Armstrong / email :   

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