Sometimes when you’re parenting a teen, you have to dig deep for ideas… And I have found prayers to be the most powerful tool. My oldest son was a sophomore in high school when our relationship began to suffer. He had the ability to drive, and with his busy school and extra curricular schedule, we rarely saw each other. I felt he was not pulling his weight at home. He felt overly controlled and tension developed. After a semester of this, I began to worry as I saw our communication degrade.
I didn’t know what to do.
We had always been a really close family and the extra contention was really taking its toll. Friends told me this was a normal part of having a teenager, and the reason why we both would be ready for him to leave the house in a few more years.
This saddened me.
Not because I wasn’t planning on him leaving home, but because I hated to think of our relationship getting to that point. It just didn’t seem right, so I decided to get my parenting advice from a better source.
Power of Prayer in Parenting a Teen…
I decided to pray about it.
I knew I could read all the parenting books on the planet, but that no one knows me, my family, or my child as well as God. If we can remember to take these matters to Him, and then listen to and act on the ideas that come into our minds, then I know we will learn to be better parents. If we are humble and teachable, the Lord will help us to feel the love He feels for our children and to know the best ways to parent them.
So the idea that came into my mind was to take him out for lunch once a week during his lunch break. I felt that we needed to spend some one-on-one time together without me telling him what to do.
I think he may have been skeptical about the idea of going to lunch with his mother at first, but the lure of restaurant food quickly overcame any objections. I let him pick the place and the conversation. I didn’t criticize. I didn’t tell him what he needed to do; we just talked. We talked about school, and girls, and car designs… really anything that was on his mind. I listened. I got interested in what he was interested in… And we just got to know each other again.
A miracle happened at home.
We quit with having conflict. He naturally helped out more. I naturally criticized less. He began to count on and look forward to our lunch dates. Every week he would excitedly say, “Mom, what day are you taking me out this week?”
My other three children began to clamor for a turn. I quickly determined that this was a ‘high school thing.’ I promised each child equal treatment when they entered high school.
Another wonderful thing happened. As we sat and talked at lunch, I began to open up to him. I shared things about me. Sometimes I shared concerns about his younger siblings, and my son enjoyed sharing ideas to help them. Not only did my relationship improve with him, but he began to be a helper with his siblings at home. Getting him on board in parenting matters was a brilliant idea.
For the next two years, we cultivated that relationship, and I also began to take out my second son. In November of my oldest son’s senior year, my husband died in a plane accident. I did not know two years prior how much I would need the relationships that I had built with my two oldest sons. It was a tender mercy to me in my life. They were already familiar with helping with parenting issues. We already had a close bond. That bond has enabled us, as a family, to get through the last 18 months.
Little did I know that as I prayed for an answer to how to parent my son his sophomore year, that I would end up with a solution that would literally save my family in the face of tragedy. No parenting book could have told me that, but the Lord knew. By following that counsel that came into my mind and heart, not only was my relationship with my son improved, but my life was blessed in a time when I really needed it.
Prayer is a powerful parenting tool.
How has prayer impacted your parenting?
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