Parenting Teens ~ Have You Done What You Needed To Do Yet?

parenting teens, Parenting Teens ~ Have You Done What You Needed To Do Yet?
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Parenting teens ~ a final challenge for any parent

Parenting is a more like a marathon than a sprint but when your kids hit Junior High you know the finish line is finally and unavoidably coming up fast. 

If you’ve already done what you needed to do then these last few years may be the most fun you’ve ever had with your kids.

If not, don’t freak out.  Not yet anyway.
There’s still plenty of time and opportunity to fill in the gaps in your cooperative people building venture.

parenting teens, Parenting Teens ~ Have You Done What You Needed To Do Yet?

Parenting gives God an opportunity to work in and through you at the same time

Remember that what you’ve been doing for the past 12-13 years or so is some of the most important work you’ll do in your entire life.
It’s work most of us weren’t really prepared to take on when we originally got the project handed to us—all wrinkled, naked, and crying.
Trial and error were our constant mentors.
Along with fatigue and confusion 😉

Life has a way of making us feel like pizza dough.
Invisible hands pull in every direction at once and then toss us up into gravity’s iffy grip?
We feel the torque and tension of relationship struggles, business or work challenges, financial difficulties, a limping economy, looming health concerns—and oh yeah—‘trying to raise kids’ while coping with all the other issues of life.  Not to mention car repairs and trying to agree on plans for the Holidays. It all stretches us and our faith!

parenting teens, Parenting Teens ~ Have You Done What You Needed To Do Yet?

The day to day operations of a family can pull focus away from our highest aspirations as parents.
It’s easy to get ‘in the weeds‘. (*See note below about this phrase)  

Our parental tractor beam loses power and so we lose our connection with the intended target.  We begin to deal with the everyday minutiae without reference to our larger, righteous calling and commission. A million little jobs obscure the one big job.

Parenting is a partnership with God.  

It’s a sublime privilege to help shape and refine the heart and mind of a human being.   And God, who never wastes a good opportunity to do more than one hard thing at a time, also uses the experience of parenting to shape us—the parents— into the image of Jesus.  God works on us through our kids as we work to raise them to know and love Him.
Parenting is a sort of symbiotic relationship that’s divinely designed to spiritually benefit both the parents and the kids.

See each Teen as an individual

Take some time to think about your kids individually.
Try to think objectively.  What are his or her strengths?  Weaknesses?  If you’re like me this is where your thoughts begin to resemble the path of a hamster in an activity ball.

parenting teens, Parenting Teens ~ Have You Done What You Needed To Do Yet?

I hope this list of character traits will help get you rolling in the right direction.
It’s a simple tool to help you see what’s been accomplished and what’s still left to do in your child’s heart and life.
Read through it prayerfully with just one child in mind.
Get input from your spouse.
Sometimes one parent has a blind spot about a kid and needs the other parent’s 20/20 vision to accurately see that particular child.

Ask God for clarity and insight into your son or daughter.  There’s a promise for this in James 1:5.

You’re looking for the big picture here, the consistent expressions of character, not the occasional outburst or violation of trust.

Try making a list of the traits that currently describe your child’s character.
The good and the ‘not so good’—these are the areas that still need direct input from you.

The Proverbs 31 Mom of Teens

Proverbs 31:27 tells us that a woman who fears God looks carefully to the ways of those in her household.  She doesn’t ignore the signs of character deficiency in her kids.  Stubbornness, dishonesty, laziness, selfishness, etc. . .are on her radar and she’ll address them before they become entrenched in her child’s character.  

parenting teens, Parenting Teens ~ Have You Done What You Needed To Do Yet?

For more on The Proverbs 31 Woman see this post:

She also notices and encourages the good—every single bit of it.

Learn to Notice the Good

Use this list to give a name to the good you see in your kids.
Then look for opportunity to comment on what you’ve observed.  

Let your kids know that you’re proud of their good qualities and the way they’re maturing.  This isn’t manipulation, it’s encouragement, and we all need it!

Personally I’d trim this list to these 21 traits.
*** I’d add Kindness Ephesians 4:32

God intended that we exert a powerful force for good in our children’s lives.   It’s reassuring to know He’s in this enterprise with us.

“In the weeds is restaurant slang used to describe a server who is hopelessly behind.”. . .
An online glossary of restaurant terms puts it like this: “A colloquial expression used when persons are near or beyond their capacity to handle a situation or cannot catch up. Struggling. Very busy.”

Every mom I’ve ever known has fit this description at one time or another!!!  Ask any Mom who is also a waitress which job is harder.

I’d love to hear from you over on Instagram. Find me @kellyjgrace and share what character traits you think are most important and what you are doing to try to build them into your kids?

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  1. Sherry says:

    I take being a grandmother very seriously and I want to support and instill your list of qualities in them….even from very far away! Love you for sharing your wisdom and heart again! <3

  2. Kelly Grace says:

    It always makes my day when someone is blessed by a post 😉 Thanks Victoria. I love that you realize God knows what He’s doing when He matches up parents and kids. We sometimes wonder. . .

  3. Oh wow, this is so timely. Just this morning I was feeling sorry for myself, and saddened that I’ve failed so badly in my mothering, feeling it is too late, and wondering how I will ever be able to explain myself to God. (Melodramatic? Me?!) deep down I know God doesn’t make mistakes, so I must be their mother for a reason; and there are no perfect parents, but I can’t help looking 10 years ahead and wondering what all our relationships will be like. My husband reminded me that fear doesn’t come for God, and just looking through this list for one child gives me greater peace already. It’s also a great way to notice where we need to focus for each child, and most importantly for ourselves, their role models. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom xx

  4. Kelly Grace says:

    I think the power of the list is that it gives a name to the attitudes and beliefs that make up character. Character isn’t only what we do—it first grows out of what we believe. That’s why it can be taught.
    And yes, I <3 lists too!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m a list person, and I think this is a very good list to work off of. These are great goals for mom’s.The main focus, really, is their heart. Help us Lord to take every opportunity to instill in our kids virtues that are pleasing you You.

  6. Kelly Grace says:

    You’ve got oodles of time & years of opportunity to get it done. Aren’t you still in the Lego years? But, character is a slow build. It happens little by little as you see the ‘what is’ and keep pointing that kid to the ‘what should be’ in attitude and behavior 😉

  7. Melissa D. says:

    Again, thank you for your words of wisdom! I think they were written just for me (I’ve been in the weeds, dealing w/minutiae, for a while) 🙂 I’ll be printing this out and refering to it often!

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My passion is to help you discover how God’s word can reach down into your heart and produce amazing transformations in you, your relationships, and your influence in the world around you. 

Hi, I'm Kelly

Blogger, Jesus Girl, Grace-believing optimist


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