Tag Archive for: Teens and their faith

Dare You to Think Different as you Parent Your Teens

This week I dared to be different.  

You see, I spoke at an all women’s christian leadership retreat and wore hot pink nails.  Now I know that some of you are saying, “So what?  I do that all the time.”  Others are saying, “You are kidding, right?”

But let me explain further.

I tend to be a conformer.  I don’t want to rock the boat and I don’t want to offend.  I don’t want other people to see something about me and judge me, so I tend to dress conservatively, behave conservatively, and make sure I know my audience before I speak.  After all, I want them to listen.  Right?  

But my daughter taught me something different–something that I think all parents could learn from.

Dare to be yourself.

It is okay to be unique.

So I wore my hot pink nails to the conference in memory of my daughter who loved everything hot pink.  She challenged me to be bold in my thinking, to step out of my comfort zone, and that fun versus conservative can be a good thing.

The christian women attending the retreat were from  different denominations of churches and they dressed in various outfits that may or may not have conformed to a given church’s style.  Some wore shorts, others wore long dresses. I saw long pants and Capri while some wore head coverings.  But regardless, of what we wore, we all had something in common on the inside — the love of Jesus.   

We accepted our differences–without judgment or condemnation.

My question to you is are you trying to make your tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings conform to your idea of how they should dress or act based on possible negative perception by your friends or church?  Are you pushing them to do things your way because you want them to walk, talk, and think like you?

Can we laugh at their hot pink nails, or bold blue hair, or live with the fact that they want to do something outlandish in a fun sort of way?

Or is our identity wrapped up in our kids’ looks or behavior?  Are we trying to clone ourselves?  Or are we wanting to duplicate the people with which we are associated?

A few years ago I picked up a book entitled Bringing Home The Prodigals by Rob Parsons.  I expected the author to give me ways to connect with my challenging child who was making choices that put her in the ‘prodigal’ category.  But as I read the book, I was challenged at all my “rules” as a parent.  I’m challenged to look at “church” from my teen’s perspective.  If church is boxing my child in to conform a certain way, is that what I really want as a parent?  Will that push my kid to be a prodigal?

Yes, it is easier to parent a child who is a “rule follower”.  

But I want to raise kids who are world changers!

I want my kids to follow their calling in life that God lays before them, not what I think the world should be.

I want kids who are dripping with the love of Jesus such that others can see Him.  And sometimes wild and crazy will attract the non-believer and give opportunity to share Jesus in the midst of what we might consider someone else’s chaotic life.

Because of my “prodigal”, people have entered my home who I would never had opportunity to interact with because our lives would never have crossed.  Because of my “prodigal”, drug users have attended my church.  Because of my “prodigal”, people who would have never seen a different side of life have found that there is hope and a different way of living.

 Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The bottom line is that God’s will might not be our will.  He may be creating a world changer in your home.  

Dare you to focus on the love of Jesus in your home rather than the rules of conformity.  And if you do, maybe you’ll have kids wildly devoted to Him.

“Let go…and Let God”,


Interested in leading a parenting Bible study that will have women sharing on a deep level from the beginning?  Want them to walk away with a WOW! experience?  With All Due Respect will do just that and we promise to make it easy to lead.  You don’t need to be a perfect parent; you don’t need to have perfect kids; and you don’t need to have ever led a group before.

A Small Group Leader’s Guide is also available with questions for group discussion. 








4 Things Parents Can Do When Their Teens Complain About Church



Keeping our teens in church can sometimes be a major point of stress for Christian parents.  We realize the value of worship with other believers but we want our kids to find that same purpose for their lives.  When our teens start rebelling about getting up on Sunday morning or complaining that it is boring or they don’t like the youth group, it’s a wake up call to make sure we are fully engaged.  

If indeed our faith is  important to us this rebellion needs to be handled with a Christ-like spirit of love and patience.  We need to talk about our faith with our kids so that they see that we have a heart of relationship with a living God and we want to have that same relationship with them.

Parents need to assume that the church is there to help in their child’s spiritual development rather than to be the driving force.  George Barna in his book Revolutionary Parenting makes the statement that “typical parents know little about the content and conduct of their church’s ministry to young people beyond details related to time and place.”

If we want to our kids to stay in church, we need to lay the foundation at home and make sure that the church is there to support our values and training of our teens in a way that provides depth in character and a deeper faith.  While it is great when youth programs provide entertaining activities to help the kids get to know each other in a more relaxed environment, we need to find a church that focuses on their calling of being like Jesus and loving others in such a way as to woo them into the kingdom of heaven.  If pizza parties and Frisbee golf or Lazar Tag ‘to bring them in’ is the church’s mentality, and all they are providing is friendship and fun, then as our kids get older they can find that same appeal from any group whether or not it is faith-based.

If we want our kids to remain in the church it is our job to make it an integral part of our parenting strategy as our kids enter the turbulent teen years.  Making sure it is the right church is the key.

So what are the steps we should take when our kids start complaining about church?

  1. Don’t freak out.
  2. Create safety for them to share their frustrations with you.
  3. Ask permission to allow you to share a different perspective.
  4. Be prepared to problem solve with a spiritual perspective.

Several years ago my son was complaining about our church.  He didn’t feel connected to the kids in the youth group partially because we lived in a different community.  He knew some kids at a different church and asked to attend there.

We agreed to take him to the other church to try it out  on Sunday mornings for a few weeks. I would attend the new church with my son and my husband attended our church with our other three kids.

The first week my son was enthralled with the new experience.  He loved the new church and was convinced he had found the place where he belonged.  A week later he attended an overnight event so that he could connect with the guys and have some male bonding.  Within a month he was ready to return to our church.  When he returned he was much more content and willing to engage.  

Conflict avoided.

Sometimes our kids just need to be heard.  They need to know that we respect that they might not always like what we like in a given church and that our real desire is for them to cultivate a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Church should be a place where our teen can grow and thrive.  Be open to the potential of a new church for a period of time if necessary.  It will not only strengthen your child’s faith but will bolster his identity as he feels respected by you.

By feeling accepted and valued, your teen and soon-to-be twenty-something will most likely see the relevance of being part of the church long before they start having their own family.  Hopefully, it will become a way of life.

“Let go…and let God”,


Sign up for our on-line eCourse which starts September 26, 2016.  You’ll have an opportunity to go through the new book With All Due Respect:40 days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens with me and a group of moms just like yourself.  Learn and interact while gaining new communication skills. Be sure to get in on the discounted price while it lasts.  I’ll be available for personal interaction in the class.  Hope you’ll join me.  Click here for more information.