Raising teens is tough in general but I think there is an added challenge when they are raised in a church. I don’t say this only from personal experience. I say this as an observer and as one having friends who are raising teens in the church.
If there is ever a time when our abilities as a parent are critiqued, it is when they become teenagers. Did how we raise them and what we taught them really stick? It is almost as if their choices as teens become the measuring stick by which we either succeeded or failed as parents.
We do this to ourselves and we do this to each other. And it is a detriment to the church as a whole.
Why? Because the reality of living in a fallen world ends up getting tucked away, secretly put somewhere so that others won’t see. We try to hide that our teens have done something wrong. We don’t want others to know how imperfect they really are. We don’t want others to judge our parenting.
So we go on pretending that everything is okay. You see these masks where parents are smiling and all seems so well. Yet behind closed doors there is tension, fights and disappointments.
You think you know how it is going to turn out when your children are younger. You have made the “right” educational choices, gone to the “right” church, said and done the “right” things. But the reality is that you never know. Everything you think you did right can suddenly come crashing down on you.
The reality is that there is no greater time in which our faith can be deepened than when our children become teenagers. Yet we often look at this time as whether our parenting worked or not.
Remember that our children belong to God. He has given us the incredible opportunity and responsibility to raise them. But we cannot control them. We cannot be their Holy Spirit. We cannot make their choices. They have their own free will, just as we do.
With the challenge of raising teens in the church, it would be better if parents worked together. Rather than judging and critiquing how each parent is doing, we should link arms and decide that we are going to pray for one another.