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Parenting Today

Updated: Oct 4, 2023




I’m grateful I never agreed with the countless voices that said to me, “Just wait until they’re teenagers”. That statement never felt right to me; I flushed it every time I heard it. It sometimes made for an awkward moment of silence because I didn’t nod my head and agree.


Our kids aren’t perfect, and we as parents certainly aren’t perfect! If you know me at all, you know I’m the first to admit I don’t have it all together. I often pray the Lord fills in our gaps.


Raising teenagers is an honor, not a burden. Challenging, yes, but never a burden. It’s honestly not them that’s the challenge so much, it’s this crazy world they’re having to grow up in. God tells us as parents to, “Train them up in the way they should go…”(Prov.22:6), while the world around them relentlessly attempts to brainwash them with ridiculous doctrine and tell them they’re in charge. If we don’t pull them to safety while intentionally teaching them truth and intentionally loving them well, they’ll be caught in the raging current.


This is a biblical principle. Jesus said, “…I gave them your word; the godless world hated them because of it, Because they didn’t join the world’s ways, Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world, but that you guard them from the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world. Make them holy-consecrated-with the truth…” (John 17:13-19)


Our children are being bombarded everywhere they go with lies that need them to open their minds up just a little bit to whisper to them that they don’t know who they are, they’re not loved, valued or significant… fill in the blank. Being a teenager is hard enough. It’s the most vulnerable age and the enemy knows it. Our children are under attack and the world is completely oblivious. The world tries to disguise it as love.


It is not love to encourage a child to question who God made them. It’s abusive. Boy, girl… cat? Seriously?!


We can’t just say, “Well, the world is different now. We’re in a new age.” No. God’s Word also says He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) God didn’t change his mind. What the world is calling love is wrong. Always has been, always will be. Yes, love people. I agree. Love them sincerely. But I won’t love their sin. And I won’t accept the world’s agenda in trying to make it okay and celebrate it.


God doesn’t make mistakes. If he created you a female, he did that on purpose.


God says that He knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). That’s the truth. We did not evolve from monkeys. Our world is not here by chance. We have a Creator; the One and Only God. Evolution and the big bang theory have been taught in school for years as truth. At an early age, children are being taught that we’re all here by accident. How insignificant is that?! No wonder there’s so many identity issues. What if our kids were taught the truth. They were created by God on purpose, and He has a plan for their lives.


Our boys recently had the opportunity to minister in Buffalo. As they came across people on the street, parking lots, or in stores they asked them if they knew that Jesus loved them and had a plan for their life. Many of them ended up in tears because no one had ever told them that before. Ever.


People need to know who they are.


Parenting is harder than it’s ever been. There’s so much pressure and opinions and advice. Let’s stop judging others and encourage instead. Let’s remember that we are still the parents. No matter what the schools, clinics or government say, we are the parents.


I took a parenting course a while back and they taught that children need two things: power and significance. We as parents however decide where they use that power. It starts in their early years. As a toddler we give them that power by letting them pick out their pajamas or deciding what kind of juice they want with breakfast. We would not however give them the power to decide their bedtime or to have candy for dinner. This concept is the same as they get older. They have power to make choices, but it’s in the safety under our guidance where they use that power.


Something has shifted and somehow, we as parents think we can’t tell our kids no anymore. No is actually a very powerful and necessary word. We can still tell them what they can and cannot watch or listen to. What they can and cannot wear. Who they can and cannot spend time with.

We are the parents, and they are not.


I have chosen to stop listening to that lie in my head that says I’m a nagToo uptightToo old fashionedI’m just going to push them away. I’m over it. They’re lies. The truth is, we’re teaching them and protecting them.


In Galatians 1:10 it says that if we live to please man we would not be servants of Christ. That includes our children. God didn’t tell us to live to please our children, or anyone else. He told us to train our children up in the way they should go.


Our kids’ phones are monitored and at night they go on lockdown. If they don’t manage their time well, it’s gone. It’s not about trust. Trust is important and can be earned and lost. I get that. But it’s about accountability. It’s about setting yourself up to succeed. There’s too much at stake and too much potential yuck and bad habits at their fingertips.


I hope this isn’t sounding like advice. I know you didn’t ask for it. Trust me, I get it. Hear my heart, we need conversations like these. The attack is real. And it’s not just the kids, it’s us as well. We have a real enemy. We need to do this together.


Here’s my encouragement to you.


Porn and sex are words we must have open conversations about with our kids. Earlier than later. We had to do this in 4th grade when a fellow 4th grader was telling other children at the lunch table to go home and type in P-O-R-N and see what comes up. Thankfully our child didn’t have a device and he could tell something was wrong.


There’s a sermon by Kris Vallotton in which he shared a version of the The Law of First Mention. He said as parents we want to have the first opportunity to teach our kids because the first time we learn something new it creates a truth, whether it is or not. Every time after that when we talk about that thing, it is filtered through that first initial experience. That’s a paraphrase of course. Pastor Kris said it much better! Literally, within days of hearing this message we talked to our boys about sex. We were on a road trip at the time and that talk ended up taking place in a random motel room in Iowa somewhere, but we were determined we would be the first! We were so grateful for that wisdom.


I think these conversations that are normally uncomfortable are the best kind to have. And often. They create a safe place. Let’s talk about why we should wait for sex until marriage. Let’s talk about how destructive porn is.


Teaching our kids to wait for sex until they’re married starts when they’re toddlers. Seriously. When they ask for ice cream and we tell them they have to wait until after dinner, we just began to teach them how to wait for something desirable for the right time. How to say no to their flesh.


I have made jokes to my kids telling them, “You’re welcome” when I make them wait for something. I tell them they’re in training to wait for sex until marriage.


I’ve never agreed with the parenting that says, “Because I said so.” I think it’s important for kids to understand the whys behind our decisions. They don’t have to agree, but at least we’ve attempted to bring understanding.


“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Prov 22:15


There’s going to be things we do that our children don’t like and they don’t understand. They’re learning. They can be upset; that’s okay. We just need to make sure they know they’re loved, they have power to make choices and they’re significant.


If there’s one thing I wish I would have learned early on is that things don’t have to be dealt with right away. I always felt like there needed to be resolve or a consequence given right away. This never went well in the heat of a moment.


For younger children it’s different, but when it comes to the older ones, I often tell them we will deal with it later. Usually later in the day, but sometimes I’ll even wait a day or two. My husband and I honestly just need time to pray and seek wisdom in how to deal with something because we’re not sure. God has been so faithful in this. And our children receive their consequences with humility and feel our love in it.


Waiting on that discipline protects us from depositing shame. Instead, the discipline with wisdom lifts them up and encourages them knowing that we believe in their ability to make good choices.


I can only share this because we’ve done it wrong too many times. I don’t write this because we’ve got it all figured out. There’s been a lot of apologies in our home because of it. Just ask our kids. But God uses our messes for good as we come to Him with them.


I’ve had successful days where I feel like I should have received a parenting badge of some kind, maybe a crown. Actually, yes, definitely the crown… that’s more fun! But then the next day I’ve sat on the bathroom floor holding my son with both of us in tears because it’s just so hard sometimes.


The standard that the world has for what family looks like is not God’s standard. To God, family is love and unity, but also friendship. I will not agree with the stereotypical sibling rivalries. I just won’t. We have a sign in our home that says, “In our home, family become friends and friends become family”. We tell our kids, if we don’t do relationship well in our home, we have no business doing it outside our home. Sibling friendships are incredibly important. It doesn’t matter the age difference. They can find things to do together and genuinely enjoy their time together.


What we want our home to look like and what it actually looks like can be very different. We’ve had seasons where we’ve had to hold our own family intervention meetings. We’ll talk about what’s happening that needs to change and why, and we’ll come up with a plan together on how to bring that about and pray together for God’s grace to help us carry it out.


There’s so much value in asking children for their opinion. It doesn’t mean that what they say always goes, but for them to know we value what they bring to the conversation is powerful. I love the simplicity of young wisdom.


I try to look for opportunities to talk my kids up to them or somebody else when my kids are around because I want them to know I believe in them and that I’m proud of them. Even if you have a struggling teenager, highlight every single positive thing in them and their life. When they know we believe in them they won’t go looking other places for acceptance.


Too often out of frustration, weariness, or even joking we speak negatively about our kids, either to them or someone else while they’re listening. Our words have power; let’s use them to build them up and encourage them. There’s too much in the world already trying to tear them down.

It’s never too late and there’s always hope. Don’t give up, don’t give in, and never settle for less.


Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9)














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