Last week Riverside’s lead pastor, Zack Eswine, taught the first part of a class on Parenting Teens.
Here is his summary:
Talking together about our common joys, pains and quandaries as parents was encouraging. We are in this together and are not alone.
We framed our discussion by saying four things:
1. Adolescence in our kids changes our position from insiders to outsiders
2. This means we are no longer viewed as heros but are put into the position of being undervalued and overlooked
3. Our avenues of love are reduced during this season. More positively, unconditional love comes to the forefront.
4. Encountering adolescence in our kids often acts like a mirror to the remaining immaturities that still exist within us.
Wow! Is there hope for the outsider who is overlooked who struggles to love and who is full of their own immaturity? Yes! There is hope in Jesus. The same gospel that our teens need we ourselves need too.
We also said that rules really matter. But the way we interact with the rules mattters just as much. In addition, there may come a time when the rules don’t work anymore. When that happens we are forcefully reminded that we are not in control. Ultimately then, our goal isn’t to control the way our kids behave but instead to enable them to experience over and over again what it feels like to relate with a Jesus oriented adult. At this point our way of life speaks as much as our the words we’ve always used up to that point.
May I strongly recommend a little book entitled, Dew for your Youth by Eugene Peterson? The chapters are very short but very practical and gospel oriented.