It’s the ultimate challenge. No matter how old we are, there are distractions and temptations in life that keep us from putting God first in our thoughts and choices. Add in school work, extra curricular activities and a heavy dose of peer pressure and you can see how challenging this can be for teens.
As parents, it’s our honor and calling to create an environment where our kids are learning how to keep God at the forefront (and hopefully seeing us model this along the way.) Easier said than done, right? Where do we start?
Top 10 Ways to Teach Your Teenagers to Put God First
- Let them see you serving God with a joyful and uncomplaining attitude.
- Encourage them to serve God in substantive and regular ways that cause them to lean on Him for strength and courage.
- Avoid solving all of their problems for them. Force them to turn to God to sort out relational conflicts and cultural dilemmas.
- Avoid placing unrealistic expectations on the youth leaders in your church. Regardless of the strengths and weaknesses of the program, make sure your kids are a positive presence in the youth group.
- Permit your teenagers to wrestle with the more perplexing problems of life, remaining calm while their faith if on trial.
- Let them find you reading your Bible on a daily basis and acting on what you are learning.
- Don’t be afraid to design dilemmas that force your kids to trust in God and test their faith (what movies to watch, what clothing they choose, working part-time in a very secular environment, etc). Be careful to use your personal veto sparingly and graciously.
- Encourage them to think big when it comes to trusting God for a major need in someone else’s life or their own (health, money, safety, etc)
- Encourage them to team with other teenagers who believe in a big God and serve side by side with them (mission trips, inner-city outreaches, care for the unfortunate, etc)
- Humbly share some of your own battles about who was going to be the master of your life, and walk your children through the process you went through to arrive at your decision.