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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Turbulent Years of Adolescence

It's normal for your teenager to start testing their boundaries and declaring their independence from family activities, but church is one area where you don't want to give any ground. Spirituality should be nurtured throughout one's entire life, especially the turbulent years of adolescence.
If you're currently struggling with a teen who just doesn't seem interested in God anymore, here are seven tips for steering them back on track and into the light of the Lord.

1: Look Into Youth Groups

Most churches have some kind of youth program where your teen can read, worship and socialize with other people their own age, a much more welcoming environment than pews of silent spectators all old enough to be their parents. If a youth group doesn't already exist at your church, encourage your child to spearhead one.

2: Start A Project

A lot of teens grow frustrated with Sunday sermons because they "don't see the point" or "could be doing other things with their time." By starting some kind of community project, like a clean-up, soup drive or outreach program, you'll give them a sense of purpose, something that makes church worth the trip. They'll have a goal to focus on and a cause they can look forward to furthering every week.

3: Find Hip Pastors

It may not be the preaching they object to, just the delivery system. An older pastor might be seen as uncool or out of touch with contemporary teen culture. Look for a fun, understanding spiritual leader who can really connect with a younger audience and find them back into the fold, like the Creative Pastors Ed Young.

4: Embrace New Media

Just because they outgrew picture books of David and Goliath doesn't mean they're ready for the full and heavy text of scripture. Buy a "common English" Bible so your child can fully understand the words, warnings and messages of God. Arrange for Bible studies with friends and other members of the church.

5: Encourage Involvement

Get your teen re-interested in church by letting them come up with their own unique ways to contribute. For example, you might not have thought of remixing a Lady Gaga song with traditional Christian hymns, but it might be a really fun project for the youth choir.

6: Answer Questions

Teens are quick to point out any flaws or perceived weaknesses in your faith, which is why you'll so often find yourself at the end of pointed questions like "Isn't it sexist that Eve was blamed more than Adam?" and "Why is there suffering in the world if God is so great?" Instead of taking these questions as an attack, think of them of signs of intelligence and critical thinking, and answer them to the best of your ability. If you don't have an answer, admit that it's a thought-provoking inquiry and that you'll have to pose it to the minister next Sunday.

7: Ask For Help
If all else fails, simply ask your teen what you can do to make their church experience a better one. You might be surprised by the answer you get back! Regular dialogue can become a great tool in understanding your child's mindset and guiding them back to God's path, so keep an open channel of communication for their questions, opinions and concerns.

12 comments:

  1. Teenage years are the toughest for anyone because you're neither a kid nor an adult. It's nice to find ways to relate to them.

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  2. I have 11 yr old son, so few more years and I will have a teenager. It is important that they grow knowing Christ and being nurtured with Christ life at home, church and school

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  3. I have a teen sis and you know our story right? We have our ups and downs, mostly downs when she's having a raging hormonal disturbances which teens these days aptly term as "angst" which parents like us don't naturally buy.

    Communication has a great role in bringing harmony in our family. I try my best to understand where she's coming from and try to encourage her to speak her mind as long as she won't be disrespectful. I let her have a voice at home so she'll feel special and heard. We try our best to let her be with friends and at the same time, know her limitations too. But most of all, we always instill in her the values of FAITH. She is a member of the Youth for Christ here in Dubai and I am happy that she has met lots of good people in the community.

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  4. I was a wild child when I was in my teens. I hope my experience as a teen will help me parent and understand my future teens.

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  5. This is so timely post for me. I have a twelve year old and he's fast growing to be a teenager. It's tough having a teenager who has own mind already. I'm keeping these tips to heart and sis Ria's too. One thing I don't want to lose as he meet people on his way to adulthood is his faith and belief in God.

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  6. Very informative, that's what I've been planning sometime soon here since my son is starting to grow and i just want him to learn and love God as much as I was taught on how to welcome God in my life while i was little.

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  7. I am just so blessed to have grown in a church and during my teen years I had wonderful and amazing people surrounding me. Now my worry is for my two boys and with the influence of peers in this side of the world, I am scared of thinking that they might not be able to know God like I do. Thanks for reminding me of this.

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  8. If I may add, don't forget to pray for them. We are blessed that our teen at home know how important it is to be closer to the lord. We are proud of him and we never stop praying that he will continue to do so. Great tips by the way!

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  9. Teeneage years is also called the identity crisis stage. They like to know important people, popular people, and more especially who is God in that stage.

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  10. my son is 13 and so far all is well it's kind of fun having a young adult around

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  11. mommy April wasn't the only one who was a wild child. I was too, but I have learned so much from it. Everyday I worry about how I am doing with my parenting and hope I can guide and help my kid take the right path during their teenage years. Spirituality really is an important key.

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  12. I am grateful that I don't have a teenager yet but I know it will come. Thanks for the tips. I'll keep it in mind.

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A work-at-home-mom (WAHM) with  two  lovely kids and a loving husband.  Passionate in writing about  family, product reviews, and  other related articles.  A Mom, a Wife,  a Blogger/Writer, rolled into one.

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