Okay, let’s do this. Name 5 or 6 challenges your son or daughter is facing right now and tell me how you’re helping them through. What are some skills and growth areas you would like to establish in them as they face the years ahead? Is your relationship strong enough to endure the changing developmental landscape ahead of you?
A year from now I hope to be offering a book on how you can help your new teen navigate the boundaries to adulthood. In partnership with Kenyan missionary Shel Arensen, we’re field testing a ground breaking idea which helped our own children cross into adulthood successfully. We’ll show you how dozens of families have successfully walked through the transitions. We want to make this available to you as we establish hope for the next generations.
Bringing your new teen on board will be essential and this may be the time to start preparing yourself for what is to come. Teens need to be building decision making muscles and have a strong support system as they fall short of the ideal. While your child was young you worked to keep them from making dangerous choices with long-lasting impact or regret. With each developmental success you likely allowed them more decision making autonomy. In the same way you learned to take your hands off of them, when they confirmed their walking ability, so you can release them in their decision making.
Your changing role is sometimes what makes you unsettled. You will move toward coaching, mentoring and teaching upon request. The internet sometimes becomes a substitute parent if you aren’t careful about nurturing your relationship. It’s a delicate balance to be vigilant without becoming a helicopter parent – hovering and overprotective. In the first decade of life you’ve been instilling your values and convictions. Now, your new teen will try on those values and convictions for themselves as they make choices.
Have you ever heard a parent say “I never saw this coming” or “I didn’t expect this”? There is enough change for those moving into high school without adding extras. Ensure you are building an authentic relationship now, speaking truth, sharing experiences, and humbly admitting your own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. We don’t want our new young men and young women to feel the pressure of having to be perfect. Small failures now, in a supportive relationship, will provide character and confidence for the journey ahead. The role of real faith worked out in a real world is also an essential thing for your child to witness in you. Get wisdom now. You are beginning a long, patient and humble journey.
If you are interested in what we are offering please feel free to share your own experiences with raising new teens – what worked and what didn’t.