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Parenting Teens and Beyond with God

Monday, 8 June,2009

Parenting teens can be an amazing adventure with an opportunity to create life-long friends

parenting-teens - squared

This is kind of a little sequel from my previous blog on Parenting and God’.

Both of my ‘kids’ are adults now, and I trust that my reflections here are going to be of some inspiration and encouragement to those of you who are in the parenting (grand-parenting) process.

No matter how great or how awful our parenting skills are, no matter how many times we miss it, and actually inadvertently emotionally wound our precious kids, we do mean well, we want the best for them …. at least most parents would agree.

As parents we have our own ‘stuff’ that we keep on having to trust God to grow though. We all have our own ‘blind spots’, and our personal ‘picture frame’ through which we view and interpret our world and what is happening around us.

I would like to quote myself from an earlier blog post, “Digging out my personal history …”

“Some time ago I read about this account of two brothers who grew up in the worst part of the Bronx in New York. Their mother was a prostitute; domestic violence was the norm in that family. Their father was either full of drugs or alcohol, in and out of jail, and finally stayed there for murder. One of the two brothers followed his father’s footsteps and also wound up in jail. His brother, however, went to school, won scholarships, became a successful lawyer, and happily married with three children. When they were interviewed and asked what caused them to become who they are, both of them gave the same reply, “Because of our father”.

It rather goes to show that it is not the circumstances that cause us to become who we are, but rather how we interpret the circumstances and live accordingly. In other words we can allow circumstances to use us, or we use circumstances. The choice is ours.”

Having said all that, this does not give us, as parents, licence to treat our kids any old way. We are responsible before God that we do our best. I, for one, am very grateful the way both my ‘kids’ have turned out. I give God all the glory for that! It has not been easy, there has been huge family upheavals, a lot of trauma and pain, plus my divorce, losing the family home/house, etc.
Yet, God has brought us all through by His grace. Both of them are very fine young people, balanced, and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Now, you’re asking, what was my contribution? My aim was and is to build friendship and not just a parent/child relationship.

My aim was to convey to them unconditional regard – I may not have agreed with all they were doing, however, they knew that no matter what, my unwavering love was and is available to them at all times …. with my heart and arms wide open.

I guess one of the main things I learnt from my own upbringing was, that due to ‘uncomfortable consequences’, I decided that ‘stuff’ secretly done behind the back of my parents would be more enjoyable. This robbed me of some major protection which landed me in serious trouble and nearly left me for dead.

I thus decided that my kids should be offered the benefit of non-judgemental love and acceptance with the doors of communication open at all times, should they decided to make use of it.

The other main thing I learned from my upbringing was, that once the initial stages of ‘pure protection’ were over (e.g. as a toddler sticking fingers into electric socket outlets), the do’s and don’ts “because I say so” do not necessarily work in the long run, but teaching and imparting values do.

To that end, I would not say ‘no’ to a movie, etc. (knowing that most likely they would watch it at a friend’s house in any case), but take the time and watch it with them and then discuss principles and values with them. (OK that movie situation only lasted a limited time, as I am a complete wuzz, and can’t handle action and suspense too well ….)

I recall one preacher/pastor one day was disgusted walking past by some magazine racks with teen magazines on display with rather questionable sexual content displayed. He turned around to me and sharply said that he would never permit his daughter to put eyes on that abominable stuff from the pit of hell.
I had to keep my mouth zipped, at the time, as I was actually buying the very same magazines for my own daughter. However, I did not just give her the mag and left her to digest that stuff with her friends. No, I sat down with her. Together we leafed through the magazines, read and discussed … again, my aim was to educate and impart values. The allure to secretly read and watch this material behind my back with so-called friends was removed; all was discussed in the open in a non-judgemental way, to equip her, and to keep the communication channels accessible at all times.

I knew that kids, teens, are not so much interested in the mechanics of sex or the anatomy of body parts, but much rather what does it feel emotionally, what happens on the heart level, especially afterwards, after having slipped into a lust event?
What’s the difference between hormones and true affections?
What are the values from a Biblical perspective and why?

Values, values, values … to provide healthy boundaries, not as a spoil sport for fun, but to liberate into enduring growth.

That meant spending time … sometimes sitting with that precious teenager till the small hours of the night/morning, and just talking and listening, trying to understand their world.

I know that in all my endeavours, I still have failed and come short many, many times, in really hearing them, really understanding them, really getting to know them. As parents we often automatically assume that we know our kids, but do we? Really? It takes huge amount of unconditional love, time, setting aside own preconceptions, own world perceptions.

There were times when I could not relate to them at all, when my automatic alarm bells started ringing furiously. It’s exactly at those times when I had to sit myself down, first, and check and re-check whether or not I was just reacting according to my personal realities and comfort zone.

I tried to learn to put aside my personal preferences, enter into their world, into their map of reality, and allow myself to be stretched. I cried, sobbed, prayed, …. messed up, asking them to forgive me.

Yeah! I failed and messed up; I have not been a perfect mother by any stretch of imagination. I have made mistakes, and will continue to make mistakes …. not because I intend to, but because I am still growing, maturing, and learning till I graduate into my heavenly home.

However, one thing I would say, I love them dearly and I know that I am loved by them. We have amazingly beautiful relationships with each other. My son has just given me a most outstanding new daughter, who I love dearly, too. A very special young woman, I could not think of a better wife for my son.

So, if you happen to be a parent of teenagers, or will be a parent of a teenager/s, take heart and be encouraged. Love them, not the way you think they should be loved, but the way they want and need to be loved according to their uniqueness. And pray, intercede, go into spiritual warfare, cover them with the Blood of Jesus, regularly take Holy Communion and uphold them in prayer, yes, immerse them in prayer *behind the scenes*.

Don’t be like Job in the Bible who feared the worst that might happen to his children in the time and age he was living in … we’re living in. Have faith in God, He is their eternal Father. By faith expect great and honourable things for your children and they will live up to it!

Don’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes, ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself, get up, dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes, get over it, and move on.

Building and experiencing a godly loving relationship with one’s children is one of the greatest gifts and joys from heaven …. it’s worth it!

Lovingly,

Signature - Angelika 80%

Did you find this post inspiring, informative, or interesting? Would you like to read more on this subject? Please let me know.

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, I find it such joy to read encouraging and loving words!


God bless!

P.S.  For those of you with younger kids, please check out my previous post on:

Busy Parents and God

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE OR BLOG POST IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

The Journey Of Intimacy – Angelika Regina Heimann BSc( Hons), MSc BPsych, is a NLP Practitioner, Business Psychologist and Psychosexual Educator, based on Positive Psychology, Mind Technologies and Christ-Centred Spirituality – an Invitation to Hope, Healing, Growth, Joy and Bliss.

Rev. Heimann combines Christ-Centred Spirituality with Positive Psychology to assist couples or individuals seeking her advice to discover their unique personal inner strengths, build their faith, wellness, well-being, and happiness: mentally, emotionally, sexually and spiritually, to facilitate growth, and learn skills to build positive emotions, optimism and resilience while decreasing unhelpful thinking, behaviours and emotions.

To read more articles and personal diary posts go to The Journey Of Intimacy Blog

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, 19 June,2009 9:34 pm

    Hello, All!

    I’d like to share information on an awesome curriculum for youth ages 7-19 that I think can be of some help. I’ve known of it for just over 10 years or so – and it seems that the type of information and bolstering that it provides to youth is needed now more than ever. It is called BOSS The Movement. The acronym, BOSS, stands for Building on Spiritual Substance. This curriculum can be conducted in churches, schools and Christian organizations and focuses on teaching kids their “birthrights” from the inside out.

    When young people move through life with a confidence that comes from within, then it helps them to navigate through and beyond some of the destructive trends and patterns that their peers may be involved in. For anyone interested in learning more, you can visit http://www.bossthemovement.com. I hope this is helpful to someone who may be reading. Your blog articles are awesome, by the way! Thank you for this service.

    Blessings,
    Ms. Tami Outterbridge

  2. Wednesday, 2 September,2009 3:51 am

    Hi Angelika!

    You’re right. That was very inspiring.
    I heard before that we may be in the same place at the same time, but with diffrent experiences and diffrent aproaches in things. Because God created us diffrently, it’s really wonderful how things work, and how they fall into places for those who have faith in Him. We maybe the parents of our children, but we do not control thier whole being, because God gave them diffrent being. We are here to guide them, and God guides us on how to guide them.

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