Top 3 Parenting Mistakes-Part 2

(This post was written by Matt Grimes, Middle School Ministry Pastor)

The other day, I read a secular article on the top ten mistakes that parents make in raising teenagers.  It was a very interesting article, giving some great ideas and suggestions for parenting our teens.  I want to take my top 3 and share them with you.  Last week we talked about the importance of not only punishing negative behavior, but celebrating positive behavior . Next on the countdown…

Parenting Mistake # 2:  Lecturing Rather Than Discussing. 

We want our teens to grow into responsible adults able to make decisions. Our goal as parents is to invest ourselves into our kids in such a way that when they leave our home, they are mature functioning adults ready to handle the world around them.  With this being the goal, why then do we find ourselves time and time again falling back on the old lectures we received as kids, instead of using any of the countless problem area in our teens lives as an opportunity to teach our teen the process of making a good decision?  When we simply lecture our teens, we invariably end up treating them like little children rather than developing adults which ends up pushing them away from us.  Now I am not saying they no longer need our guidance and correction, it just needs to be handled in a more adult manner, with discussion, negotiation, and understanding of the needs of growing and maturing teens.  Think back to when you were a kid and you were learning to ride your bike.  As a young child you probably had training wheels on your bike.  The older that you got, them more embarrassing those training wheels became.  Now to mom and dad those wheels were in no way embarrassing.  They were a sense of security for them, until one day you pushed enough that they took off the training wheels and let you make some mistakes that hurt you, but also taught you the skills needed to ride a bike like an adult.  The same is true of our teens as they mature.  They are entering a phase of their life where they are ready to start making some decisions on their own.  Some of those will be good decisions, but many will be poor ones.  Instead of yelling at them, we must learn to help walk them through their decisions and see where they got off track, and how to avoid it in the future.  In the end they will stronger adults more prepared for engaging the world they will find themselves immersed in.