8 Ways To Protect Your Teenagers

Parenting is an important focus for my wife and me.  We want to raise our kids well.  We want to protect them, and we want to give them their independence as they get older.  Today, we look back at the third most popular post written in 2013.  If you are a parent or plan to be a parent, I think this post will STRETCH you.  Check it out, and let me know what you think….

8 Ways To Build A Hedge Of Protection Around Our Teenagers

We’re approaching a parenting milestone later this year.  Our daughter, Hannah, will be able to get her driver’s permit towards the end of the calendar year.  It’s a bit scary to imagine our little girl behind the wheel of a car.

Over the Easter weekend, I had a chance to talk with my Grandpa who lives in the Midwest.  Our conversation was filled with updates on our family and the activities that keep us running from one thing to the next.  At the end of our conversation as always, my Grandpa prayed for our family.  He inquired about things in our family that could use prayer.  The subject of Hannah’s driver’s permit came up, and Grandpa specifically prayed that God would put His hedge of protection around Hannah and our family as we navigate these times.  He recalled a verse from Job 1 indicating that God put a hedge of protection around Job and his family:

“Have you [God] not put a hedge around him [Job] and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.”  Job 1:10

The teenage years can be pretty challenging.  Kids in the age group are faced with pressures from peers like never before.  They are faced with a world full of media that points people away from God and toward themselves and stars who are undeserving of such adoration.

As parents, we play a huge role in creating a hedge for our children.  It can be such a tough thing to do – to create realistic and appropriate boundaries while fostering independence and responsible decision-making.  We want the best for our kids.  We want them to experience things that we never experienced, and we want them to have the things we never had.  In the pursuit of providing the best for our kids, we can overlook the ultimate purpose in our parenting – to point our kids towards God, His Son, and His Word.

8 Ways To Protect Your Teenagers

  1. Keep God first in your own life.  We must lead by example.  If we expect our kids to follow God, we must seek Him first.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33
  2. Place God’s Word at the foundation of your family.  There are tons of great parenting resources today, but the Bible has to be primary resource for everything in life.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:6-9
  3. Pray like you mean it – like it depends on God.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16
  4. Learn that ‘no’ doesn’t have to be a negative word.  Parents these days are bent on becoming their kid’s best friend.  We are scared that saying no to our kids will somehow damage them.  Saying no is part of creating a hedge.
  5. Lean into the tough conversations.  I learned this week that the best conversations can sometimes be the toughest conversations.  Talking about tough things provides an opportunity to help your teenager process and establish their world view.  These conversations help our kids navigate and discover the truth.
  6. Find the strategic opportunities to demonstrate trust.  At some point, our kids will be on their own.  We will release our kids like an arrow leaving a bow-string.  If we aim them towards the Target, we need to trust that the arrow will fly straight.  Spreading their wings doesn’t have to be an all at once thing.  It works best as baby steps.
  7. Be a constant student of parenting.  Find parents who have gone on before you.  Learn from their experiences.  Seek out resources that will teach you how to be a parent who honors God.
  8. Balance truth and grace.  Our kids will make plenty of mistakes (just like we did).  We must teach them truth, and show them grace.  We must show them love.  Love speaks truth, and love shows grace.

Are you a parent?  How do you protect your kids?  What did your parents do to point you towards God, His Son, and His Word?