Lately, I've been talking to Christians who are raising teenagers and they are scaring me a little bit. I'm being serious. I'm not talking about the typical teen/toddler behavior that we often joke about. I'm talking about kids being raised in Christian homes who are going off the deep end when they turn 15. Thankfully, one mom told me that when her daughter recently turned 18 things dramatically improved and she apologized for all her bad behavior.
This said, I don't want to appear naive, but I refuse to let this happen to my children. Some may argue there is very little I can do about it at that stage. True. That is why I was taught at a church parenting class to take action years ago to attempt to purge any sign of rebellion out of my kids from the time they were babies. I'm a pretty easy-going mom, but my trigger points are rebellious behavior and mean-spiritedness. It is quickly corrected and brings about the most severe of consequences at our house.
This has been on my mind since picking #1 up from a Youth Retreat. It was like I dropped off a girl on Thursday and picked up a teenager on Saturday. Not necessarily bad, just different. Of course, this started me thinking if we should be moving up to the next round of "talks" since her first day of school is a mere 2 weeks away and believe me when I tell you I am more concerned about her long bus ride with 7th & 8th graders than I am about school itself. I feel like she knows so much already, but it may be time to introduce some of the "slang" she may hear so she doesn't participate in a conversation she shouldn't be because she has no idea what everyone is talking about. I hate that we have to do this with an eleven-year old! The teen years are supposed to start when they turn 13, not 10 or 11! Some days I long to put her in a protective bubble, zip it up and send her out the door. It seems like just yesterday I was worried about her bottle being too hot or how to get her to sleep in her own room........
This age defiantly has its perks though! She and I can have great conversations, especially regarding spiritual things. And, she is great to help around the house. She makes lunch most weekdays for her and her sisters while I am working in our home office. Overall, I am enjoying her grow into the young woman God is calling her to be. She is a delight and I catch myself just staring at her and her sisters and being overwhelmed that God would place 3 of His treasures in my care. I am extremely blessed and grateful.
After re-reading this post I realized I had made a mistake. I said that it is true there is very little we can change with a teenager that is rebelling, that it must start earlier. That's wrong! Parents can do a lot! Most importantly they can pray and continue to guide that teen in the direction they should be going by placing restrictions on who they spend their free time with. The point I was making was to correct rebellious behavior from birth and not waiting to lay down the law when they become teenagers.