Raising Christian Teens in a Non Christian World

Raising children in today’s society is one of the most difficult things we parents have to accomplish. Teens are constantly faced with a variety of situations many of us cannot even begin to understand. Parents must balance their teen’s need for acceptance among peers, along with maintaining a hold on Christian values and beliefs. These two notions do not have to be mutually exclusive. Having open lines of communication, strong amounts of involvement, regular church activities, and positive peer groups can help your teen become the strong spiritual adult both you and God desire them to be.

Communication is the Key

Although most of them will not admit it, teens thrive on communication with their parents. They like to talk about their day and hear about yours. Your words offer comfort, reassurance, and advice (though oftentimes they don’t take it). But, communication must be consistent and honest. Teens will only rely on you as long as they can trust you. Allow your teen to lead many of your conversations. Their questions may even amaze you over time. However, do not react harshly or shocked when they bring topics up for discussion. Instead, think about your answers, talk together about the differences of the world’s expectations, God’s expectations, and your family’s expectations and help them formulate well-thought out conclusions.

The Importance of Involvement

There are two key types of involvement necessary to help keep teens maintain safe, solid footing as they navigate the confusing waters of life: individual and parental. Both are critical and both are equally important. Individual involvement is exactly as it sounds; your teen needs to be as involved as they can be in activities they are passionate about. Research has indicated the more engaged teenagers are, the less likely they will be in falling victim to the mores of society. In addition to encouraging your teen to be involved in activities, you also have to be involved in their life. While you certainly know it is best for your teen to learn and experience the world on their own, they are still children and they still need your guidance. Parental involvement is critical because it allows you to remain aware of what is going on in their life. You should know their friends, where they are when they are hanging out, and what things are important to your teen. You have a responsibility as a parent to question them and ensure they know you will not hesitate to step in if you feel they are making dangerous decisions.

Church and Youth Activities

As important as involvement in a variety of organizations is, the best way to help raise your teen with Godly values and ideals is to raise them in the church. Being active in church and youth activities allows your teenager to move beyond simply living a better life than society urges to living the spiritual life God desires. They will have the opportunity to explore leadership, serving others, and group communication while they are strengthening their prayer life and learning to have a daily relationship with God. More than anything else, it is this daily relationship that will enable them to live as Godly teens in a difficult world.

Positive Friends and Peers

In multiple locations throughout the Bible, God cautions His children on the importance of choosing friends carefully. In both the Old and New Testaments, scripture offers reminders that iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) and believers should be cautious of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). This certainly does not mean believers should live and move in isolation, only befriending those who think and believe like them; however, it does remind believers their friends can and will have a huge influence on their lives. The teenage years can be extremely difficult. They will spend a large amount of time developing who they are based upon the people who become their friends. Many of their decisions, both short and long term will be based on this peer group. Reminding your teenagers of God’s words of wisdom will help them greatly. Who their friends are will play a large part in defining who they are.

Growing up is difficult. There are so many possibilities for who your teenager might become. Raising them to be aware of Godly principles and how they can be applied in society today will help them transfer those ideals and values as they shape and mold their futures.