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The One Shift You Need to Make As A Parent When Your Kids Are No Longer Kids

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Each stage of parenting presents its own challenges. If you’re a parent, you know exactly what I mean.

With newborns, sleep is a challenge.

With toddlers, potty training is a challenge.

With preschoolers, everything feels like a challenge.

And the list goes on.

When your child becomes a teenager, one of the biggest challenges of your parenting life is just around the corner. You will usually face it about when they turn 17. And this challenge will last the rest of your life.

What is it?

How do you parent your kids when they are no longer kids?

I know, I know. Your 17 year-old is still your baby. He’s still just a kid. She’s still just a kid. But, they are also hitting the age when they need to make decisions without you.

Young adults today live in a culture that’s significantly different than the one you and I lived in. Options are different. Conversations about identity are different. Pressures are different.

For many of us, especially with our oldest child, look at our kids and we look at culture and we think, “They’re not ready.” And our natural inclination, driven by our love for them and our desire to protect them, is to make decisions for them—just the way we did for them when they were 4 years old.

The problem with that approach … is that if we continue to parent the same way we did when they were preschoolers … they will never grow up. They will never learn.

The key to parenting well when your kids are no longer kids is surrender.

If you fight this transition, you will lose. If you attempt to control them, you will lose. If you shield them from the consequences of their decisions and actions … everyone will lose.

The reason surrender is the key is because the true challenge we face is fear.

We’re afraid of what might happen.

We’re afraid of what might not happen.

We’re afraid of what they might choose.

We’re afraid of what they might not choose.

In those moments, out of love, we typically default to controlling. We typically default to telling. And if our not-a-kid-anymore resists us, we resort to what we did when they were 4 years old … we punish. We take away the phone, the wifi, the car. We fight.

But what worked when they were 4 … doesn’t work anymore.

We need to surrender control. We need to embrace the fact that they are hitting the point in their lives where they need to decide and experience the consequences of those decisions. We need to understand that our role as their parent has fundamentally shifted.

The one fundamental shift we need to make—about when our kids turn 17—is the shift from telling to asking.

We can’t tell them what to do anymore. We have to ask questions that help them figure things out. We can’t impose our will on them the way we used to. We have to ask them what they think they should do and why.

Yes. It’s frustrating.

Yes. It takes longer and feels like a waste of time because you clearly already know what they should do (wink wink).

Yes. They will make decisions that aren’t always the best.

That’s what growing up is.

And if we, as their parents, don’t make this shift from telling to asking when our kids are really no longer kids, we will lose. We will lose the ability to speak into their lives. We will lose whatever positive influence we have with them.

Most importantly, we will lose the opportunity to see them grow and flourish and discover who they are. And we’ve invested too much to this point to miss out on that part of the journey.

in Church

The Persecuted Church- What can you do?

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Persecution: 1 :  the act or practice of persecuting especially those who differ in origin, religion, or social outlook. 2 :  the condition of being persecuted, harassed, or annoyed (Webster’s dictionary definition).

This may well describe persecution as applied to the western church, harassed maybe, often annoyed, right? But for Christians in countries in the 10-40 Window (see below) and beyond, the Persecuted Church, persecution can be described in much more severe terms. If they don’t follow the majority religion of the country where they live they can face discrimination at work or school, be sent to prison and, if they are accused of apostasy i.e. leaving the majority religion, they can be put to death. Now that’s persecution!

Christians are treated as third-class citizens in various Muslim countries often being subjected to Shariah (Islamic) laws, and they suffer horribly under Communist regimes as well. The church in China is undergoing renewed persecution from the authorities and house churches are closed down if they refuse to register with the Communist authorities and agree to their rules on how Christians do church. Christians in North Korea are treated shamelessly by the Communist regime there, everyone is expected to give allegiance only the ruling Kim dynasty. Christians are suffering greatly in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Colombia, Nigeria and Sudan. So as you can see, it’s no fun for those Christians living under Islamic or Communist regimes.

What can we do? The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church falls on 6 Nov this year. So pray with us (and them) and keep on praying for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, they need God’s strength and protection so that they can endure under these harsh conditions, to remain faithful and eventually see their deliverance. Keep Paul’s words as a reminder….1 Cor 12: 25-26b, the apostle tells us that we are all members of one body and when one suffers, all suffer. So, please join the church worldwide on 6 Nov to pray for the Persecuted Church.

You can support the Persecuted Church in other ways, there are several organizations dedicated to helping Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith: barnabasaid.org; opendoorsusa.org; voiceofthemartyrs.org; Christian Solidarity International (csi-usa.org) to name a few …..you can support these organizations with financial gifts.

However you support them, above all petition the Lord on behalf of his suffering people, it is He who “works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed” (Ps 103:6).


The 10/40 Window

A term coined by Christian missionary strategist and Partners International CEO Luis Bush in 1990 to refer to those regions of the eastern hemisphere, plus the European and African part of the western hemisphere, located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator, a general area that was purported to have the highest level of socioeconomic challenges and least access to the Christian message and Christian resources on the planet.

The 10/40 Window concept highlights these three elements: an area of the world with great poverty and low quality of life, combined with lack of access to Christian resources. The Window forms a band encompassing Saharan and Northern Africa, as well as almost all of Asia (West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and much of Southeast Asia). Roughly two-thirds of the world population lives in the 10/40 Window. The 10/40 Window is populated by people who are predominantly Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, animist, Jewish or atheist. Many governments in the 10/40 Window are formally or informally opposed to Christian work of any kind within their borders.

Posted by Ian Tepielow with

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