Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not Alone Parenting Teens

Back when our oldest daughter was climbing into her wooden swingset tower wearing a princess costume, the thought of parenting teens seemed akin to driving through the Rockies with bald tires, a broken power steering belt, no guardrails and a thin layer of black ice.

I joked about boarding school.

It’s not a ‘Kids today, geesh,’ sort of attitude. Adolescence brings so many challenges to young people, and to their parents.

As time passed, my attitude changed. Friends with kids older than ours enjoyed the process, and their budding young adults. The teenagers weren’t always surly. They bubbled over with energy, compassion, and, oh, yes, humor.

Every stage of parenting brings with it elements that could make it my favorite. My husband and I are raising two lively, warm-hearted teenage girls, and their bouncy, sweet, watchful-of-his-sisters, 10-year-old brother.

Before we entered the parenting teens arena, I noticed the people involved in our church’s youth group, PRAY, Prairie Ridge Awesome Youth, drew close to the kids. Now, this ministry has been feeding our girls for several years.

Our youth director and the team of PRAY small group leaders and sponsors encourage and model intimacy with God. The group offers ways for the kids to reach out to their peers, the community and the world at large. These friends of ours weren’t alone in the journey of parenting teens.

Neither are we. Praise God.

As Mom, I try to delicately balance helping our kids find and develop their God-given passions, and respond to His leadings. Right now, our oldest, a senior in high school, is looking at colleges in places that seem more distant than, “Once upon a time in a land far, far away. . . .”

I understand her desire to go on an adventure with God and grow. She’s even looking at a university in a city that doesn’t need snow plows. Pardon?

Our eighth-grader loves music, horses, friends, PRAY, social media and God – not in that order. So, for her, we need to teach making choices, and showing her the importance and blessing of rest.

Not easy, imparting these important values and habits, protecting and inspiring, but for our family, better in Christian community. Thanks, PRAY-ers.

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