Advice for Parents of Teenagers
From Gospel Translations
I would say, be sure to listen to your kids. Treat them as human beings. They are human beings.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” How would you like your parents to have treated you when you were your children’s ages?
Show respect to them and listen to them, and you’ll have a grounds for mentoring your teenagers. This is a huge responsibility of parenthood—mentoring your children and pouring yourselves into them. Part of that is to ask them questions and encourage them to ask you questions (and not be shocked at some of the questions they ask!). Even if you are shocked, don’t act shocked—because after all, the questions they’re asking you are right from their hearts and their lives. You don’t want to shut them down.
Teach your children it’s okay to ask hard questions, like about the problem of evil and suffering. People all the time are talking about these problems and issues out in the world. Don’t have your kids wait until they get to a secular high school or off to college to hear the hard questions. Bring them up. Say, “Let’s talk about the fact that there’s a lot of evil and suffering in this world. Why do you think God allows all that? God could make that stuff not happen, right? He’s all powerful. Why does He allow these things to happen? Why does He bring some of these things into people’s lives?”
After being raised in a non-Christian home, I am convinced the Christian worldview has a greater explanatory power than any other worldview. (And everyone, by the way, has a worldview.) So encourage your kids to come to grips with a Christian worldview—so it’s not your worldview they’re just automatically accepting, until one day they’re challenged and reject it because they didn’t have any basis for their own worldview.
Instead, help them look at the explanatory power of the Christian worldview and what the Bible says. It really truly does make sense. Don’t discourage their questions. Encourage their questions, and then go read some good books yourself. Bring valuable insights to them to help them understand the Christian faith and hopefully to hang onto it and develop it as their own worldview.