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Why didn’t anyone tell me? I was not prepared for raising teens or being the parent of young adult children. It is nothing like I imagined! Read on to hear my best advice on Powerfu​l Secrets How To Parent Teen and Young Adult Children (advice I wish I’d heard from someone years ago!).

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But, First, My Disclaimers

I have to make a few introductory comments and disclaimers, before I get myself in too much trouble talking about parenting teens! There is a vast difference between a 13-year-old and a 19-year-old. There is a world of difference in how you should interact with your child at each age.

A child of 13 to 16 years old is certainly included as I talk about showing love and respect, and general principles, but keeping the duct tape over your mouth is advice more for how to treat your 20-year-old and older child. (And, it applies especially to how you relate to your married child! (A thought for a different post:)

When I say “your teen or young adult children,” I am talking more about a young person of 16 years old and up to 20-something, than an early-teen person. I encourage you to know your child and their maturity level, and how well you have trained them. The tips may apply to a younger teen, but only you as the parent really know that. Know the state of their spiritual walk with God. Evaluate these comments in light of your relationship with your child up to now. Go to the Word of God and pray before acting! Use wisdom, discretion and discernment in how you parent!

So, please don’t take this advice and apply a one-size-fits-all approach to it. You need to go to God and ask Him. I am suggesting that we need to prepare ourselves as parents to let go much younger, training our children to be responsible adults much sooner. I’m discouraging being a controlling parent at any age. I’m going to repeat that: I discourage you from being a controlling parent at any age! That often occurs as we react out of fear instead of faith. (Don’t ask me how I know:)

What is Most Important In Parenting Teens and Young Adult Children

Treat your teen or young adult children like you would want to be treated. Practice the Golden Rule. Show them love and respect. Honor them and their opinions. Don’t overreact when they say something that you think is crazy. Know that often they are just talking off the top of their head, and that crazy idea they just said they were going to go out and do–well, they won’t. They’re just talking (most of the time). Don’t react. Especially don’t overreact

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Feel like a failure? Tweens and teens aren’t listening? Kids addicted to social media? Or maybe you are! Things out of control? Do you crave connection, yet feel alone, even when together? Here’s help from someone who’s been there on how to get out. Click the image below and buy my Ebook, “A 2020 Vision For Raising Godly Kids” now!

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If your teen comes to you with a dream, something that is in their heart, and they share that with you, mama, you count yourself so blessed!!! Never mind what kind of hair-brained idea it is, or that YOU know it will never work! Do. Not. Say. Your. Thoughts. Out. Loud!!! He has just entrusted you with his precious dream!!! He gave you the amazing honor of telling you his dreams! 

The first thing to realize is that we need to think of our children as adults, and treat them like adults, WAY YOUNGER than we are! In Jewish culture–in the Bible–a 12-year-old became basically an adult. There were children and there were adults. Sometimes a “youth.” We have a wrong philosophy today that has this long period of being in limbo, preparing to become an adult, and wasting years of your life! Playing, when you should have been living a disciplined fruitful life for years already! Never growing up!!! Listen to “What to Expect From a 12-Year-Old,” by S. M. Davis, for an eye-opening account of what “children” were expected to and could do in other generations! Whenever I listen to it, I am convicted that I should be doing more!

The Best Advice I Can Give To Parents of Teens and Young Adult Children Is…

Keep your mouth shut. Pray. If you have done your job in training, they already know exactly what you’re going to say anyway. You don’t have to say it again! They could probably quote it verbatim! Trust that God is at work in your teen or young adult children. And pray like crazy! The Holy Spirit is way more powerful than your words. Don’t quote Scripture at him. Please. Don’t leave books out that you think he should read. You will just turn him away. 

A thought occurred to me as I was giving this one more read before publishing: when you are wondering if you should say that thing or do that thing to your young adult child, think through, “Would I do or say this to my adult friend?” Hmmm. Do I give free advice to my friends? Uh, I don’t think so! Do I tell my friends that something they bought was a lot of money, and question their spending? Um, NO! Do I tell my friend that her skirt might be too tight or her top a little low-cut, or that she should wear her hair differently if she’s going to reflect Christ well?

Are you crazy???!!!!!

Think about it. Are you more and more treating your young adult, and for sure, your adult, children, like friends? Or are you controlling? (or trying to control)

How Do I Keep The Duct Tape Firmly In Place With My Young Adult Children?

Don’t tell him what’s wrong with his hair, how she should change the length of her skirt, why the tattoo or body piercings he plans to get or the music he likes or the friends she’s suddenly so tight with are wrong and unBiblical. Hard as it is, keep your mouth shut. And, just pray. If your teen is influencing your younger children, your husband can have a talk with them but make sure that only happens after you and your husband talk deeply, pray hard, and decide it’s absolutely imperative that you do so, and that you can do so with a calm, and non-judgmental spirit! (Nobody said parenting young adult children was easy.)

 Questions For Parents of Teens and Young Adult Children:

Here are 5 Questions to Ask Yourself if You have a Teen or Young Adult Under your roof:

  1. Do I show respect to my teen or young adult? Have we written rules out that we both agree to? 
  2. Do I display in my attitude and actions that I trust him? (clue: if he doesn’t feel trusted, you’re not)
  3. Do I listen more than I talk?
  4. Have I realized that most, if not all, of my parenting, is finished by this time?
  5. Am I communicating graciously, with salt and love, or am I lecturing, reprimanding, rebuking, and accusing, with my words?
  6. Is my example so Godly that they could just imitate me and if they turned out exactly like me, God would be pleased?
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Prayer is The Most Powerful Tool You Have as The Parent of A Teen or Young Adult Child

Spend time in the Word of God and on your knees before the Lord in prayer for this child. Cry out to God for your children! One of the most important jobs in parenting now is to pray, fervently, imploringly, Biblically, for your teen or young adult. Yes, pray Biblically. 

This teaching comes out of my own failure. I didn’t do parenting well as my children matured into adults. As I said, I was not prepared for it. My expectations were way out of line. I compared, copied, and coveted other families’ lives and the lives of their children.

I thought I knew what was going to happen, and when that did not go as I’d expected, I didn’t take it well. Then, God changed me. It was during God’s training of my heart on this subject that He transformed my prayer life.

God Used My Failure As The Parent Of Adult Children

Out of my failure and what God taught me during this time of crying out for my adult children, I created “Powerful Prayers For Your Family,” which is available to you when you subscribe to Your Home For God. I can not overemphasize the power of prayer! You must grow in faith in God, and develop a deeper prayer life!!!

You can change your family through your powerful prayers for them. But, mama, if you are thinking it’s all about changing THEM, and not you that needs to change, then, if you’re like me, you have some things that God is going to teach you! God brought me to my knees, humbled me, showed me how wrong I was, first.

You can change your family through your powerful prayers for them. But, mama, if you think it’s all about changing THEM, and not you that needs to change–God will be teaching you some things! 

Praying For My Adult Children, Crying Out To God For Myself

God caused my heart to cry out to Him, “Change me, Lord!!!” Then it was as if God said to me, “Ok, now I can do something in your family. But, we’re going to change you first.” God is at work and He is listening! Are you humble and ready to be the first to be changed? Or are you proudly, arrogantly thinking, “These people just need to listen to me! If they’d just change, everything would go like it’s supposed to!”?

If you’re thinking that way, you’re looking at the outward actions and not on the heart. I found out how much I was the one at fault, and how much God wanted to change me. Get my Powerful Prayers For Your Family Free Guide by subscribing now, then begin using it, and see God transform you and your family!

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Praying For Godly Character Requires Character Evaluation

We need to pray for Godly character regularly. It should be on your daily (or weekly) list of prayers to ask God to help you and your family to grow in Godly character. 

Do your younger children know what Godly character is? Do you know where you’re at in Godly character, and whether you’re growing or not? I created Character Evaluation Forms (with definitions, Bible verses, and questions for evaluation, to help you determine where you’re at in exhibiting Godly character) that you can use in your family to begin character evaluation. Grow in Godly character. Get them today and start using them.

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You can grow Godly character in your family, but you have to know where you’re at first, and evaluate character, to know if you’ve improved! To know how to do evaluations, Read this post! Here is a tool to use to begin Character Evaluation in your family! This Character Evaluation Form, in conjunction with the Character Evaluation Questions, which includes character definitions and Bible verses, both of which you can get FREE here, will help you begin to talk with your children about what Godly character is and evaluate character together, to achieve the goal that is so important to you–Raising Godly Kids!

What Character Can You Praise In Your Teen or Young Adult Today

Look for the good, and the Godly, character in your teen and young adult children and speak up about it! Tell them about what God is doing in your life, be humble about your faults and failings! Share with them your Word of The Year, and why you think it’s a good fit for you. Ask them if they have a Word of The Year. (You can take a fun and helpful quiz to find your Word of the Year at DaySpring!

If they recommend a book or movie, be interested! Don’t assume you won’t like it! Don’t condemn their choice! Encourage them to share with you, by listening attentively. Give positive comments constantly, and let God convict of sin

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It’s time to treat your teen and young adult children as friends, and let your example and prayer do the work of training. If you’ve been thinking you were raising your children and it was all dependent on you, and if you just did x, y and z, you’d raise Godly children, this is going to be a tumultuous time for you as a parent. Being the parent of a teen or young adult is not going to be the way you expected. Start to believe in God’s power at work in your child, if you haven’t been before. Believe in the Holy Spirit and the power of prayer.

Struggling through this time, or want to avoid it by training your younger children well? Let me know in the comments where you’re struggling.

Series on “How to Love Your Children”: Read them All!

Have a Great Day Making Your Home For God!

Wendy Gunn at Your Home For God helps Christian women raise Godly kids, find & fulfill their purpose and achieve God's goals for their life.

I help Christian moms raise their kids according to Biblical principles, get organized to manage life, achieve their unique God-given goals and dreams, and fulfill God’s purpose for them to make a difference in the world through my workshops, courses, and coaching founded on Biblical principles. You are already successful in many areas. I can help you in those that you’re not. Dream big dreams, and see God transform and use your life in amazing ways! Let’s work together for your success!

In Your Home For God’s Store, discover resources to help you get organized, raise Godly kids, and have the support and encouragement to know who you are, know what God wants you to do to fulfill His purpose for your life, and achieve His unique goals for you!

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