Parenting

587 posts

Redemptive Purposes in Your Teen’s Depression

The truth that God can work good out of this season of depression (Romans 8: 28) is a consolation to use sensitively. However, it’s not without biblical merit to suggest that God intends to use this season of suffering to spiritually refine both you and your teen. Let’s briefly consider three purposes. First, you may find that your teen’s depression serves as an opportunity for you to share the gospel with him or her. If your child has yet to place his or her hope in Christ, now is the time to extend God’s gracious invitation. It may be God’s plan that your teen comes to saving faith in Jesus because of this trial (Psalm 119:71). If your teen doesn’t […]

Understanding Your Teen’s Depression

While it can be tempting to view your teen’s depression as pouting, or simply the result of hormone fluctuations, the truth is that your child’s despondency is an outward expression of internal unrest. It can be tempting to grow impatient with your teen’s emotional instability. Oftentimes, in frustration, parents may resort to trite slogans and superficial encouragements. Even so, a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality is desperately insufficient to help our teens. In fact, any strategy that invites us to rely upon our own willpower for change is a limited resource at best, and painfully destructive at worst, “for not by might shall a man prevail” (1 Samuel 2:9). It’s important to view depression through a biblical lens. […]

Slow Down and Listen

Foolish responses without listening will make your children disinterested in speaking with you. They will take their conversations somewhere else where they can be heard. If your children are saying “You never listen to me,” it is because they feel you never listen to them. Slow down and listen. There is a perceptive insight in Proverbs 20:5: “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” There is more depth in your children than you might imagine. Drawing those deep waters out requires patience and great skill. It also requires being sensitive to the right moment. There are times when children are talkative and times when you cannot pry anything from them […]

Discipline: Communication and Prayer

Dialogue One of the most destructive aspects of ungodly discipline and correction is the lack of godly dialogue. God has wonderfully provided all the apparatus for meaningful communication with one another. Yet the most life shaping opportunities parents have in their children’s lives are often one-sided. Monologue is not godly communication. Long speeches that try to strong-arm our children with arguments, threats, warnings, and predictions will not change their hearts. It will harden their hearts. All of our conversation with our children should afford them an opportunity to respond—not as peers, but as children interacting with the direction and instruction of parents. We should encourage children to respectfully respond in conversation to help us understand how they are feeling, thinking, […]

From the Archives: Keeping the Gospel Central

Shaming your children is hypocritical. That, of course, is where you will always end up when you are trying to manipulate behavior. If, however, you deal with the heart, you will no longer be hypocritically distanced from your child. You can stand in solidarity with him and his struggles with selfishness. You can put your arm around him and say, “I understand what you are experiencing. I understand selfishness. I have my own struggles with being selfish.” Please note: You are not excusing selfishness as okay since you are selfish too. Rather, you are simply identifying with this common struggle with sin. Not only do you understand the struggle, you know where to go with your struggles with selfishness. You […]

Love for God is the Foundation for Parenting

Our love for God is the foundation for anything we have to say. We cannot impress our children with the fame of God’s name if we are not impressed with him ourselves. If the truths about God’s sovereign power and incredible mercy have melted our hearts and produced a profound love for God, we will impress our children with his awesome glory. If God’s Word is dear to us, it will be important to our children. We must be dazzled by God. We cannot give away what we don’t have. Psalm 34 is an excellent commentary on this point. “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” (Ps. 34:8). Here is […]

Your Children, Scripture, and Everyday Life

Apply Scripture to Everyday Life Children need instruction to apply Scripture to issues of authority, obedience, conflict resolution, and God-given roles in relationships. Everyday life affords scores of opportunities to connect Scripture to life—from lost book-bags to broken friendships and poor test grades. Scores of training opportunities evaporate without notice as we hurry through our days thinking that devotional time with our children is enough. Our responses to the circumstances and crises of everyday life make our theology real. Bible stories glow with illustrations of children whose knowledge of Scripture translated into obedient, bold action. David’s words to Saul sound naïve and childish in the face of the Philistine army and the terrifying threats of Goliath, “Let no one lose […]

Teach Your Children to Live Right-Side Up

Your children live in a culture that is truly upside down. God is irrelevant or mocked in the news media. Prayer is illegal in schools. He has been removed from the history books. The idea of sin and accountability to a holy, righteous God is absent from our government. Pandemics and catastrophic events are connected to random chance, geological and meteorological phenomena, and human error. Your children live in a world that offers no comfort when tragic, unexpected loss occurs. Do not wait until a catastrophic event happens to talk to your children about God’s interaction with their world. Here are some ways you can prepare your children to remain right-side up in a turbulent world. Demonstrate it in your […]

The Painful Path of a Prodigal: Kindling Affection

“I love you Dad.” The words spilled readily from my son’s lips, but a reply did not quickly flow from mine. His call was yet another attempt to manipulate us to get money he undoubtedly would use for drugs. My hesitancy was not because I questioned my love for him. Rather, it arose because at this moment I did not feel much affection for him. The constant lies. The continual efforts to manipulate us. The efforts to make us feel guilty so we would do as he asked. The threats of bad things that were sure to happen to him if we did not fork over the cash. These made our hearts weary of his calls. His glib expression of […]

The Painful Path of a Prodigal: Anger and Bitterness

It is probably inevitable that parents of prodigals will struggle with anger over the endless impact of the destructive choices of their wayward son or daughter. Their manipulation, lies, and repeated efforts to use you to their advantage can provoke an anger you never thought a parent could have toward their child. If not checked, this anger will damage your other relationships, impair your ability to reach out in love to your prodigal, and jeopardize your spiritual health. A prodigal is accountable for the sinful choice provoking our anger, but we are accountable for our response to their choice. Their sinful action does not justify a sinful response on our behalf. We must never excuse our sin because it was […]