Raising teenagers in today's world is both an exquisite privilege and a monumental challenge. Recently I've been reading Foster Cline and Jim Fay's groundbreaking book,
Parenting Teens with Love and Logic.
I commend it highly. The thesis is that neither hovering like a "helicopter parent" nor drilling like a "drill sergeant parent" will prepare teenagers for the real world because they learn responsibility like they learn everything else: through practice. That's where love and logic come in. Love means that parents give their children opportunities to be responsible and empower them to make their own decisions. Logic means that teens be allowed to live with the natural consequences of their mistakes and shown empathy for the pain and disappointment that they will inevitably encounter.
Using such love and logic seems to be win-win in my book. Here parents love in a healthy way without resorting to anger, power struggles, and threats, and teens logically learn responsibility by solving their own problems and acquiring the skills needed to cope with real life in the real world.
Yes, easier said than done, but still a great principle to live by. May we who are parents all be blessed with such wisdom as we raise our children to be strong, independent, happy, and faithful.
The real world doesn't operate on punishment. It operates on consequences. Teens must never be allowed to think that the consequences of their poor decisions will be 'Mom and Dad will get angry.' They should be thinking of the natural consequences of their actions. Whenever we lay something on a teenager that doesn't happen in the real world, it's a punishment and not a consequence.
-From chapter 8, Parenting Teens with Love and Logic
Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.
Prayer for Today
Lord, in this day and time it is so tough to be a parent.
We pray that you would give us all the fruits of the Spirit, including patience, that we might faithfully raise our children to be productive citizens and more importantly faithful disciples. Amen.