Another year has passed. Like most parents, surely it was full of memories you will treasure and others you would like to forget. With the New Year comes new hope. A chance to redeem what has been broken or to build upon the good that is already in place.
In case you were wondering, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. A turn-key approach to parenting in the way of Jesus does not exist! Every child is different, with personality quirks and life experiences that for better or worse exist outside of your control. It’s the same for parents as well. If you haven’t already noticed, our own brokenness bleeds into the way we raise our kiddos. The dark places in our souls are products of the Fall (not the season).
While it’s true that each of us are born into darkness, the Good News is that we were not created to stay there. We are beckoned into the light by a King and in turn are called to usher our children into the same light we were made to walk in.
This is for the parents who barely made it through the year. For those for whom phrases like “end of my rope” or “running out of options” don’t do justice to the season you’ve just barely survived (or are still neck deep in). I want to encourage you to take heart. The coming year can be different.
If the heart of God beats for restoration, renewal, and reconciliation then why should ours beat for less?
Remember the great lengths our Father went to get His kids back.
I will never understand how anyone can parent without having first drunk deep of the Gospel. So Mom and Dad, drink deep and remember your call:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
Our belief in the Gospel, and our personal experience in relationship with Jesus, should be the core tenet that informs our parenting. Simply, it should be the reason we never lose hope. Our Father will never give up on us. We can never give up on our kids.
I’ll close with three practical steps for approaching the New Year in your relationship with your teenager.
- Pray The running joke in my family is that the reason my Grandma’s knees are so bad is that she’s worn them out praying for her kids and grandkids. If you do not already have a daily rhythm of intercession on behalf of your kids then start now. Sometimes, the only thing we can do is beg for God to move. Wear those knees out.
- Forgive So much emphasis in a relationship with a teenager is on how they have been wronged, but rarely do we acknowledge the deep pain they have caused the parent. If your kiddo has wounded you it may be time to lay it down and let the blood of Jesus wash over you. Forgive and let it go. Open yourself up to the reality that God can and will make all things new.
- Repent Parents (dad’s especially) can have a difficult time owning their mistakes. When you look back on your year with your teenager are there things you said that you regret? Were there situations that you handled poorly and wish you could take back. In practicing humility and repentance we are modeling the way of Jesus for our kids. A simple, “I’m sorry for…” can go a long way in reconciling a broken relationship with a teenager.
Mom and Dad, it’s a New Year. I pray that you are filled with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, that you dream big, and that you remember the heart of our Father in heaven. It beats for restoration, renewal, and reconciliation. And so should ours.
What changes do you hope to make in the New Year with your teenager? How can we be praying for you in this new season?