Parenting Teens Blog

Parenting Teens Online Class: Guiding Without Controlling

Dear Parents,

Have you ever seen that mom that can turn on the tears in an instant to get her teenager to do what she wants them to do, or that dad who has a certain look that brooks no argument whatsoever? Did you have a parent that was able to elicit the desired response from you whether you agreed or not? Are you a parent that can be manipulative or coercive with your teen?

Parents will often tell me that they just want what’s best for their teenager. And I believe them. But, unfortunately, so many parents go about it the wrong way. They try to control their teens instead of guide them. And there is a very big difference!

Guiding them teaches your teenager the power they have in making a choice. It teaches them that they are responsible for any consequence that may come with their choice. Trying to control them through manipulation only pushes the growing young adults far from the wise choices we are so desperate for them to embrace.

Take a moment and ask yourself this question. “Do I control or guide my teenager?” And be very honest in your answer!

The great thing about this is that it is not too late to begin again!

Check out this month’s video that focuses on how we guide our teenager without controlling them. I hope this is a help to you!


The difference between controlling and guiding your teenager is a pretty important topic!

It can make the difference between a healthy, growing relationship or a struggling one with your teenager!
Now we know that every teenager is different and needs different types of guidance. But one thing that is the same in all teenagers is their passionate desire for independence. And it often seems that they are constantly, almost intentionally, choosing the opposite of what we think is wise!

I don’t know about you, but that sounds an awful lot like my relationship with God! How many times have you made a decision or choice only to realize God was working in the situation the entire time? But did He ever once force you to choose His way or did He give you the freedom to make your own decision?

The crazy thing about the love of God is that it came first! John 15:16 says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” And that is the very thing we can relate to as a parent! We know that same kind of love when it comes to our teenagers. And the way we choose to love God back is by humbling our free will to His will. We don’t always do it, and neither do our teens.

Here are a few ideas that will help you guide your teen and not control them.

  • Agree on a signal that your teen can use when they feel like you are trying to control them. But you both have to be willing to listen to the other persons viewpoint!
  • Don’t try to rescue them from the natural consequences of their own choices! That’s a really tough one!
  • Make sure that always know that your love is not dependent on their decisions. You will always be there for them.
  • Know that you won’t always agree with your teen’s choice. And they shouldn’t ask you to!
  • Recognize when you need to step in to a situation that your teen is not equipped to handle. Prayer is absolutely necessary for discernment.
  • Just remember that your teenager is becoming an adult and you are the best one to parent them through this.

Otherwise God would never have chosen you to do it!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • Controlling and guiding are two very different things! #remember
  • Ask your teenager’s opinion on what they think the difference is!
  • Agree on a signal that allows your teen to tell you they feel they are being controlled.
  • Our free will is our greatest gift to Him!
  • Don’t rescue your teen from a consequence, but let them know you are there!
  • We love God because He first loved us! Do we love our teenager that way?
  • Don’t forget He chose you to be your teenager’s parent! #youcandothis
  • John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…”
    Encourage your teenager today by telling them you believe in them! #biggestcheerleader
  • Your teenager watches you more than they listen to you! #speaktruthwithoutwords

Feel free to forward this email to other parents of teenagers and have them email me if they would like to join our online parenting class.

 If you want to see previous issues you can view them here:

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –

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Parenting Teens Online Class: Investing in a Strong Relationship

Dear Parents,

Investing in a relationship with your teenager is not a new concept. To any of us. As parents, I would tell you nothing new if I said that you should spend time with your teenager to encourage a closer relationship. You already know this. You know that you should spend face to face time with your teen when they have your undivided attention. You know that it is important to spend shoulder to shoulder time with your teenager when you are doing something with them that they enjoy.

Yes, you know in your head all the “right” things you, as a parent, should do to invest in building a stronger relationship with your teenager. Then there is the proverbial “but” that we all throw in when contemplating just how to make this work out realistically.

“But” my teenager is always buried in their phone!

“But” my teen always just wants to be with their friends!

“But” my teenager just won’t talk to me!

“But” my teen doesn’t even seem to notice me let alone like me.

For some reason, we tend to gauge our effectiveness and success as a parent according to our teens current reactions and responses. We must remember that our teenagers are still trying to figure out who they are in this big world, so their reactions and responses are often the result of pure emotion.

I want to encourage you to look past all of their reactions and responses and keep building that relationship! Even when it seems you are the only one that seems to care. That’s hard! But then what part of this parenting journey hasn’t been difficult to some extent? Can I remind you that the rewards are well worth it?

Remember when you had to watch them fall time and again when they were learning to walk, and the time you had to walk away on the first day of kindergarten, or the time you held them as they cried because their best friend decided to have a different best friend?

There are going to be times when our teens are just not going to understand our motives. And that’s ok. As long as they know we love them, they can trust us even if their phone is permanently attached to their hand!

Here’s a quick video with more thoughts:


Did you know that the meaning of relation is “being connected to, or linked to.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that meaning. The “ship” of relationship means “state of being.” So basically, the word “relationship” means the state of being linked or connected to another person. Hmmm.

My mind cannot wrap itself around the fact that the great God of this universe which He made in just a few short days not with the sweat of His brow but by the mere sound of His words desires the “state of being connected” to us! Mind blowing but true.

So let me take a step back for just a minute. He wants to build a strong relationship with me, His child. I want to build a strong relationship with my teenager, my child. So we are truly not alone in this parenting thing, are we? He knows the frustration of not being listened to, of being ignored, of being disobeyed. He knows how I feel as a parent!

I know, some of you who read this are saying, “Yeah, but He is God!” Which means He knows what He is doing, and we, as parents, can trust that! We mess up, but He doesn’t. How awesome is it to know a parent who has never once messed up in parenting their child!

There is a verse in Matthew 11 that I truly believe was put there, because God knew that parents would desperately need to hear it. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and LEARN from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light!”

As a parent, one of the greatest things you will ever invest in is a strong relationship with your teenager. Ask God how it’s done! Search His word and learn how Jesus invested in those He mentored! He wants you to have a strong relationship with your teenager as much as He wants one with you!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • Matthew 11:28- 30 “Learn from me…” #Godspromises
  • If your teenager loves to text, then text them daily!
  • Ask for your teenager to give you ideas on what they think is something fun to do! #betterideasthanmine
  • Tell your teen you love them.  Daily.  Even if you never have before!
  • You are born into relations.  You choose to build relationships!
  • Look what happened to Wall Street during the Great Depression when everyone pulled their investments out!  Don’t quit investing in your relationships!
  • Did you know that all ten commandments are about relationship?  That’s how important it is to God!
  • Relationship is the state of being connected.  Have you connected today?
  • He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” #Ineedanap, #parentingcanfeellonely
  • Parenting doesn’t have to be lonely.  You just have to look up! #Wearehereforyou,

Feel free to forward this email to other parents of teenagers and have them email me if they would like to join our online parenting class.

 If you want to see previous issues you can view them here:

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –

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Parenting Teens Online Class: Training Your Teen to be a Leader

Dear Parents,

Let me ask you a question. What would you do if you came home from work today and your teen had started the laundry or washed the dishes or even began mowing the lawn without you asking them to do it?

Would that just thrill your soul? It’s amazing that one small act of kindness and consideration from our teen can reduce us to blubbering adults with fluid streaming from every orifice in our face!

Our teenagers can appear to be selfish, self-absorbed individuals whose only concern is how many likes they got on their last picture on Instagram! Or at least that’s how we often see them through our tired, stressed out viewpoint.

But can I ask you to stop for just a moment and consider us from their viewpoint? We can appear demanding, selfish, and power hungry to them. Always harping on the same thing, never acknowledging what they did do right, only seeing what they didn’t do.

You are the main leader in their life and they are learning how to lead from you. Do you encourage them, do you manipulate them, do you nag them, or do you serve them. Yes, I said serve. That is the strongest and most effective trait of any Godly leader.

So, let me ask you one more question. What would your teen do if they came home from school and you had made their bed, or you showed up to school and took them out for lunch, or just simply texted them and told them how proud you are of them and how much you love them for no other reason than because God allowed you to be their parent?

Maybe they wouldn’t react at all. At least on the outside. But I can guarantee you that you have fanned a small ember in their soul that over time and with care will become much brighter!

Here’s a quick video with more thoughts:


You know, when I read about Salome, the mother of James and John, I realized I saw a lot of her in me. I saw some fear, some pride, and some determination on her part. But I also saw a mom who had decided it was up to her to make sure her kids would do well. She wanted seats of prominence and success. As parents, I think we all want that for our kids. But at what cost? At whose cost? Am I willing to do whatever it takes to make sure my teen shines the brightest? But what if that is not God’s plan?

Our society has defined success as something to be achieved over a period of time. But success in the eyes of God is something achieved with every decision we make to live in His way and in His time and in His will. Success is a life lived totally for His glory.

Matthew 20:26-28 says, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life- a ransom for many.”

Humbling ourselves to the idea of being another’s servant is not easy. Often we want to create a drive in our teen to be a leader so that we can be proud. Could it also be that we allow their success and leadership ability to define whether we are a good parent or not?

The best way to teach our teenager to lead through serving others is to emulate that ourselves. Serve them to show them that it is not a weakness but a strength. Serve them because you love them. Serve because He loves them.

Tweetable Thoughts

  • A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.- Max Lucado
  • Text your teen a favorite quote on leadership today.
  • Text your teen how proud you are of them.
  • Ask them 5 ways that you can serve them.
  • “Whoever wants to become great among you, must be your servant!” Matthew 20
  • “It is better to lead from behind and put others in front”#NelsonMandela#leader
  • Tell your teen 5 ways to serve their friends.
  • Be willing to have no expectations when you serve your teen. Just love them anyway.
  • When a true leader’s work is done, others will say they did it themselves.
  • Don’t quit serving, even when it isn’t noticed. Then you will be a great leader!

Feel free to forward this email to other parents of teenagers and have them email me if they would like to join our online parenting class.

 If you want to see previous issues you can view them here:

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –

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Parenting Teens Online Class: Teens in Crisis

Dear Parents,

One of the hardest things for a parent is to watch your child hurt. Whether it’s the pain of a bumped knee at 2 years old, the pains of a first broken heart in second grade, or the pain of disappointment because they didn’t make the high school basketball team, it all hurts to watch.
Do you know why? It’s because we can’t fix it. We can’t make the world right for our teens and that is a really hard truth to swallow!

What is sometimes even harder is when that pain is caused by the teenager themselves. The decisions and choices they make can often introduce heartache into your family.

I want to encourage you! I want to tell you that you have done a good job raising that teenager. I want you to know that your teenager’s choices do not reflect whether or not you are a good parent! It is so easy to own our kids choices, good or bad. But they are our teenagers’ choices. Not yours and not mine.

And when they make the wrong ones, and they will, show them grace. That’s what our Heavenly Father does for us. Show them mercy and forgiveness. Allow them to bear the consequences for their choices without rescuing them. Basically, show them unconditional love no matter what!

It sure was easier when they were two with a hurt knee.

Here’s a quick video to encourage those of you who are struggling with this:


“The sun’ll come out…tomorrow…bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun!” That song from the Broadway show “Annie” never ceases to put a smile on my face. Now sometimes it looks more like a grimace, but that depends on how bad the day actually is! And as the parent of a teenager sometimes this is all you have to hold on to. The sun does come up the next day no matter what you are dealing with today. And in that there is hope!

And that hope is the gift that God gives us each day as we walk with our teens. No matter what you are going through right now, no matter how grim or hopeless it may seem, God gives us unquenchable hope in Him. Not in each other or in our ability to control circumstances but hope in Him.

If you are in crisis with your teenager right now, hope can seem pretty far away. You are probably weary and discouraged. Isaiah 40:31 says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint!” Oh how we, as parents, need that! Renewed strength, refreshed spirits, determined hope!
When we hurt for or because of our teens, know there is hope. When our teens hurt, show them that hope!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • “Christ in you, the hope of glory!” Colossians 1:27
  • When your #teen hurts, listen, listen, listen! #goodidea
  • Crisis doesn’t last forever, it just feels like it. Hang on!
  • Close your eyes, click your heels three times and say, “there’s no place like hope!”
  • When it gets to be too much, hide…in Him! #Psalms32:7
  • Write your #teen a note today telling them you love them!
  • Look in the mirror and see a really great parent!
  • Encourage another parent today with some of the encouragement God has given you!
  • “The sun’ll come out tomorrow!” Don’t forget there can be a purpose in the clouds!
  • Let God encourage you today so that you can encourage your teen!

Feel free to forward this email to other parents of teenagers and have them email me if they would like to join our online parenting class.

 If you want to see previous issues you can view them here:

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –

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