13 May, 2022 Five ways to BOOST teens’ maturity
By Summer Lane
In today’s world, childhood seems to be elongated longer than ever before. Gone are the days of working on the farm at the tender age of 10 and getting married at fifteen!
Today, kids are expected to remain children until they are eighteen and graduated – and they are often continued to be treated as “young adults” until they are done with college. Is this mindset healthy for our kids? Is it a good idea to nurture a sense of dependence or childlike behavior among teens and college students?
Interestingly, there seems to be a phenomenon in today’s young adults: anxiety and depression at an all-time high among millennials. In fact, according to an article from Psychology Today, the millennial generation won’t even start making “big” life decisions until between the ages of 25 to 40 years-old.
Some might argue that kids today are pressured with the expectations of reaching a “successful” stage of adulthood without being given the tools to get there. Here are five easy ways that Christian parents today can boost their teen’s self-confidence, inspire independence, and cultivate spiritual maturity.
Set boundaries while they’re young
You are not a mean parent for setting boundaries! Proverbs 13:24 says that, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” It’s our job to set boundaries and parameters for our kids. When they are teens, they are reaching for adult-size dreams and yearning for adult-like freedoms – often without the maturity to live that lifestyle. The best way to prepare your child for adulthood is to have firm but reasonable boundaries and expectations when they are in high school. Don’t turn your kids loose and expect them to just “make good decisions because they were raised in a good home.” It’s good to trust them, but it’s even better to realize that most teens need a little protection from today’s sordid world. Remember, you are the parent. It’s okay to exercise that authority and make a few reasonable demands, whether it’s a curfew or a few restrictions on how and when they can date.
Encourage self-cultivation, creativity, and self-esteem
So many issues with young people today stem from a terrible lack of self-esteem or deeply rooted feelings of unhappiness. Teens are, in general, learning to navigate a crazy world of crushes, dating, and the world of social media – and this takes an especially big toll on teen girls. Encourage your teens to engage in activities – whether it’s sports or academics – that give them confidence and strengthen the gifts that God blessed them with. Cultivate those talents and give them a gentle nudge to branch out when needed. Remind them that they are image-bearers of God Himself, beloved children of a heavenly Father who loves them and cares for them deeply. Speak truth and Scripture into their life every day they are living under your roof.
Many schools today leave kids empty-handed when it comes to real-world life skills, like balancing a checkbook or doing taxes. As the parent, you can step up to the plate and fill in the gaps where your kids are lacking. Don’t expect the school to teach your kids everything. In fact, school settings are so controlled that many kids are actually conditioned to be dependent on outside entities to know whether or not they should proceed with something. Boost their independence by equipping them with real-life skills. Take time to cook with them. Show them how to pay bills. Include them in financial conversations. Have them help with landscaping the yard or caring for their younger siblings. If you treat your kids like kids forever…they won’t grow up. Teens crave the privileges of adulthood, but something they crave even more (especially teen boys) is respect.
Don’t trust colleges
Another pitfall to avoid is trusting a college – especially a “Christian” college – to inspire your teen to magically mature during their time on campus. Often, college will have the opposite effect. College is a sudden explosion of independence and access to all kinds of freedoms. Even worse, most Christian colleges today are lukewarm, espousing progressive ideology in the classroom that is highly likely to affect the way your teen views the world. If your teen needs a little help in the maturity department, consider keeping them at home while they attend college (if they want to attend college at all) and work out some kind of deal with them. Let them pay rent, make sure they do their chores, and make sure they follow your house rules. Sending them far away to college – on your dime – is not necessarily a foolproof way of guaranteeing that they will return with the maturity your hope to see.
Spiritual maturity is everything
In the end, the most important thing you can do for your teen is to cultivate a rich and hearty Biblical worldview. If they stand firmly on Scripture as their foundation, then they will easily be able to spot counterfeit ideologies or doctrines when they enter college and the workforce. There is nothing more powerful than the Word of God. All of the self-confidence in the world can never take the place of God’s truth.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
Check out the Counter Culture Mom Show with Tina Griffin and listen to this inspiring interview with entrepreneur Josh Burnette. Josh has authored two incredible books about “adulting,” and talks about how he took the tips and advice he doled out to his Chick-fil-A employees and ended up writing about it!
Summer Lane is the #1 bestselling author of 30 books, including the hit Collapse Series and Resurrection Series. She is an experienced journalist and columnist who reports on news within the U.S. and abroad. Additionally, she analyzes politics and policies in weekly op/Eds on The Write Revolution.
Summer is also a mom and wife who enjoys rural country living, herding cats, and gardening. She is passionate about writing about women’s issues, parenting, and politics from a theologically-grounded perspective that points readers to the good news of the gospel.
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