2 Timothy 2, 14
What we say says a lot about who we are, what we believe, and where we are going, yet controlling what comes out of our mouths can often be very difficult. Paul gave Timothy a few pointers on what sort of things should and shouldn't be heard coming out our mouths. Paul also told Timothy to keep reminding the Christians about how they should speak. For that reason it is worth while us taking note and being reminded ourselves.
New Thinky Things every day!
Surviving Marriage With Teenagers
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Philippians 2 v 1 - 2
Those who have only gone through the baby and school age stage will be under the blissful belief they have gone through the worst, conquered it all and survived the most difficult times. Well done! BUT those of us who have been through the teen stage and guided them into adults – know the worst is yet to come.
This bit is IMPORTANT... no matter what happens – don't do what we have seen too many parents do - Give up too early!! Your job is not finished until they are well and truly adults. Don't let go. Don't give up on them. Don't take your eye off the ball. God has blessed you with those kids – you need to finish the job. They will cost you your money, your pride, your confidence. That's OK - God is working with you too.
Your lovely little 12 – 13 y.o is about to become a monster. It is a medical fact that during the ages of 14 – 16 boy's brains change so much they become almost unusable for a while. And girls have all sorts of hormone changes that render them socially unacceptable for a while. It's horrible being a teen. You grow, get acne, start to ache, feel ugly, believe everyone else is fine but not you, feel pressure to make decisions you are incapable of making, buckle under peer pressure, worry about fashion. The list goes on. Sadly some of our teens will make such bad choices we will lose them to the world, to accidents, to alcohol.
As far as our marriages go, teens suck the very life and soul out of us and put so much pressure on our relationship we go grey. This is the time to stay together against all the odds.
Teens are also lots of fun. They have energy, their sense of humour is really emerging. The skills you have taught them are really good now and they are becoming useful. Possibilities abound, discussion at the dinner table will be lively and fun. But don't push it!...readings might become sporadic at best. Your house will resemble an airport for a few years and your yard a car park. Don't worry – it's only temporary.
Stay strong together. Be prepared to have an open house and feed the 5000 on a regular basis. Yes it will cost you – but it's worth the reward. Keep one night a week or a fortnight at least, for your date nights. (But don't talk about the kids).
Wives this is the time to let your kids know Dad is the head of the house.
Husbands – your job will be with your daughter. She will temporarily hate your wife and need you. Take her for coffee, a walk, dinner. She is trying to learn what her man should be like and how to go about it all. Why teenage girls hate their mothers is still a mystery – it will hurt a lot (she can reduce you to tears with one of her looks), trust me - it's only temporary and when it changes they transform and suddenly you have the best friend in the world.
Mums - have fun with your boys. Support all their sports and games. Take an interest in their latest fad (I had to love, approve of and be interested in a skateboard half pipe being erected in our back garden)
Teens need to make mistakes – don't make all the decisions for them – just be there to pick up the pieces.
Do things as a family when you can. The best thing our family did was enter the whole family as a team in a floorball competition at the Uni. Once a week we all got excited, travelled together, had fun, shouted at one another, improved our fitness and skills – and amazingly won quite a few seasons. They still play and even now (youngest is 21) they ask Dad to join them. Mum is cheer squad only now. Your kids need to see you be real, fun and not a parent sometimes.
As a couple, display your affection – your teens need the best example available. They are getting ready to do it all themselves.
Don't let the teens run the house (they will try) It's your household, you pay the bills, you make the rules. Just don't make unreasonable ones.
Mums - talk about how wonderful their Dad is to your kids.
Dads – require respect and appreciation for their Mum. Protect her from their bad behavior.
When love is in the air, be excited with them. Don't get all heavy and start pronouncing rules and regs. If you have set a good example they will know how to behave and the best reward you can give them is your trust. Welcome their girl/boyfriend into your family. If you don't approve of their choice – give it time, it's likely they will realise they don't really like them either: after all they mostly have your values now.
Mum when you can't deal with it all – admit it and leave it to Dad. Don't talk toooo much. Teens hate listening. Boys especially, can't deal with verbal overload. Be kind (to yourself and to them) it's tough.
Above all else, Pray and ask God to look after them when you can't, ask him for the best equipped angels to be on duty. You can only do it with his help. Stick together and accept that during these years all you will do is survive. It's not the time for moving house, fancy holidays, big mission efforts, lots of committees etc. These can all be done when the kids are self-sufficient. Right now you are the captain and co-captain of an army, fighting a major battle.
If any of your children do make bad choices or head in a direction you don't condone: Your love is UNCONDITIONAL . They need to know that, welcome them – who knows when they might change. Nothing can be gained from closing doors. While we are on this subject – be kind and thoughtful to other couples whose kids are AWOL. It's tough and in our community they can be left feeling like failures. They are not and they need to know that.
Be sure to have some of your own friends. We suddenly realised when our youngest got married a couple of months ago – that after 18 years of teens, youth group, camps, couples, conferences etc. etc. our friends were all under 20 (we are 50). This is a bit sad. Don't worry we're working on it and that will be the subject for our next post.
Thanks to Eliza for this Marriage Moment!
1. Don't Give Up!
2. Determine to stick together.
3. Remember that the teenage stage is only temporary
4. Wives this is the time to let your kids know Dad is the head of the house.
5. Husbands, be the model man for your daughter.
6. Wives - talk about how wonderful their Dad is to your kids.
7. Husbands – require respect and appreciation for their Mum. Protect her from their bad behavior.
8 Be a team.