Tag: age: tweens and teens


We were all between eight and twelve years old, and the kids in my neighborhood just knew that we were getting bicycles for Christmas. All of us. But we didn’t know where our parents had them stashed. The days between school getting out and Christmas morning were spent discussing, searching, and wondering where those bicycles were. We knew that our parents often hid Christmas gifts for other families and that other families often hid our gifts. That particular year, they had us stumped; (more…)

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LONG-RANGE VIEW: See small, live small; see large, live large!

Sunday morning worship. I was singing, praying as we worshipped. In my heart, however, I was concerned for my young teens Anna and Patrick. During that worship time I heard God’s truth come to me. It was both a rebuke and an assurance, like a two-sided coin: “I can do more with their sin than you can do with their perfect behavior.”

I was struck by the clarity of that thought and by its immediate application in my life. We had raised our children with clear boundaries, teaching them to “obey with a good attitude.” Nevertheless, life itself was not fitting into such a neat package. They were growing and developing as their own persons and our control was lessening. We would see good fruit but also stuff we didn’t like in them. (It sounded a lot like ourselves, actually.)

God was rebuking me that my faith and trust were not in Him but in my own ability to be a good parent. We were trying to control our kids. As we saw that we were gradually losing control, we didn’t like it. We were asking ourselves many questions: (more…)

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DISCIPLINE: Do you spank a teen?

One of our guys was having an illicit love affair. He was thirteen; she was fourteen. They were communicating . . . and working out ways to see each other . . . and kissing.  In order for these things to happen, there was a breakdown in his relationship with us, his parents. Lying to us, deceiving us. Trying to be great, dedicated, watchful, on-top-of-things parents, we were completely clueless. (more…)

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RELATIONSHIP: Teens, puberty, and clueless parents

The clueless parents in this story are Keith and Patricia. When Anna and Patrick, our two oldest, were eleven and twelve, we thought we had parenting figured out. By the time they were thirteen and fourteen, we were crying out to God for help. What had worked no longer worked. Two happy, cheerful, contented children had become more moody, more withdrawn, and less communicative. At first, we thought they were the problem and told them so. As time went on, we discovered that we were more of the problem, and we needed new tools and strategies. Fortunately for us, there were answers. (more…)

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Working with Father

Sweet Anna was a typical middle school student. Making her way through the hormonal minefield of 7th grade was challenging — for Anna and for her parents. In the fall of that year, Anna won the annual school spelling bee contest. This wasn’t her first win and she knew what was involved for the next level of competition. Probably for a variety of reasons, Anna was struggling. She did not want to be involved. (more…)

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