RAISING TEENAGERS THAT AREN’T REBELLIOUS

Our four children walk in Truth. They all love the Lord and for this, we are very thankful. There is no greater joy, as God’s Word tells us. I am going to tell you how we raised them. I know there are no guarantees. Some parents raise their children in the Lord and they will still turn away from the Lord. There’s no special formula, but I will share what we did.

We were strict parents as I have shared many times, even when they were in high school. When they were young, we dealt with any hint of rebellion from the moment we saw it. We didn’t allow disobedience or temper tantrums. Our children knew that when we said, “No!” that we meant it. We taught them that they couldn’t cry or throw a temper tantrum if we told them no. The earlier you begin to train them, the easier it is. They grew up knowing we were the ones in authority over them. We taught them to respect God’s authority structure.

As they grew older, we worked a lot with their thinking since the battle is in the mind. Satan caught Eve in his trap by making her question in her mind God’s will for her. People turn to sodomy and changing genders because they’ve allowed a thought into their mind that sprouted and became reality for them. We taught them to kick out thoughts that weren’t biblical and replace them with truth. If they came to us with a wrong thought, we taught them truth.

We took them to church faithfully even though looking back, they were lukewarm churches but I always had a hunger for God’s Word and His will. My children knew this. I was always sharing with them what I had learned that day. (Now, I have Twitter to do this!) I love learning and I love teaching, so my children were always getting an earful of what I was learning and being convicted about.

I faithfully took them to AWANA every Thursday night even though I was terribly sick during those years. I worked with them weekly on memorizing their verses. I read the Bible to them often. We spoke about the Lord to them consistently. I was determined to raise godly offspring.

Thankfully, my husband and I were on the same page in disciplining them. We didn’t want brats. We wanted good children. We backed each other up. I did the bulk of the training and teaching when they were young, since he was often gone traveling away from home. I was strict, however, and they knew they couldn’t get away with anything with me.

They all attended the local elementary school. Something happened that made me strongly convicted about not sending them to the public junior high, so I homeschooled them. (Each had a different time line of when they were homeschooled and when they eventually attended a small Christian high school.) Homeschool was very casual. They would read great literature for two hours and then do an hour of math. That was it! I figured if they were great readers and good at math, everything else would come easy for them.

We carefully monitored their friends and what they watched and read. We backed up all of our “rules” with reasons and God’s Word. We wanted them to know that once they left our home, the rules we taught them were backed by God Himself.

They attended a small Christian high school that we all loved. The headmaster was a godly man who knew the students and taught his staff the Word consistently. My children loved it! They had a uniform policy so that made it easy. My oldest daughter was heavy into ballet. My sons played baseball and basketball all four years. My youngest daughter took some ballet and played some soccer.

We didn’t make the girls only wear dresses but we wanted them to dress modestly. We had a 10:00 pm curfew even through high school. We didn’t allow them to go to the movies if they were garbage. They didn’t do sleepovers. We had a good relationship with all of them. They weren’t perfect, but they were good teenagers whom we enjoyed immensely. The teachers and coaches raved about them to us.

We taught them self-control from a young age, and it has served them well all of their lives. We taught them that life isn’t fair. They saw me suffering for most of their childhood, yet I never questioned God nor walked away from the faith. My faith only grew stronger. I had them listen to strong, bold preachers in high school.

We didn’t let them date to date. We wanted them to date to see if he/she was the right one to marry. In high school, everything had to be done in groups. They were all emotionally stable and secure so this was fairly easy for them to do. They all wanted to marry godly spouses and were willing to wait until they found one.

We still have a great relationship with them. We know we are blessed and thankful. We did the best that we knew how to raise them. Of course, we weren’t perfect parents, but we did seek the Lord for wisdom in raising them. They felt deeply loved and cared for by us even though we were strict. I actually believe children feel more loved and cared for by parents who are strict and protect them. Our children sure did!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
3 John 1:4

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