“Is my child ready for the real world?” This has to be one of the greatest concerns of any parent with a teenager on the cusp of adulthood. Parenting is challenging work – perhaps more so now than ever before as values, ideals and beliefs that we hold as absolute truth are increasingly being challenged by the world we live in. Preparing our children to embrace independence, make wise choices and live successful lives will take intentional parenting.
In a society where many families have live-in domestic helpers, an unintended consequence is that opportunities to help out around the home are few and far between for our teens. Assign daily chores to your teen and share your expectations about how and when these need to get done. Your child will not only learn how to do chores, but also practice obedience, self-discipline and time-management – all necessary and useful skills in adulthood.
Model 24/7 Christianity
As Christian parents, we must recognise that a biblical worldview cannot be taught only from a textbook, or through Sunday School teachers. Knowing, loving and wholeheartedly following Christ are attitudes that our children will pick up from their parents.
We are called to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV). Are we modelling this for our teens? Praying with your teens will also help them cultivate the habit of seeking God when they need guidance and direction, or feel overwhelmed.
Encourage healthy stewardship
Teaching sound financial decision-making is a must-do for parents of teens. The teenage years are when they enjoy a measure of financial autonomy, through an allowance you give them, and perhaps even salaries from part-time jobs.
Teaching them to tithe, save and spend wisely with the small amount they have now will prepare them to make sound financial decisions in the future. Equip them with healthy attitudes towards money, just as Hebrews 13:5 reminds us to “Keep [our] lives free from the love of money and be content with what [we] have”. Take the time to share your personal insights on budgeting, and how you have made sound financial decisions in your own life, to encourage them to do the same.
While these would give you a head start in preparing your teen for adulthood, do not be anxious or stressed if you’ve noticed any gaps in how you are equipping your child – remember that they are still in your home and in your care where they can be taught and nurtured. With prayer, planning and intentional teaching, launching your young adult into the real world can be a time of celebration and joy!
© 2016 Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd.
Pick up your copy of Boundaries with Teens and get equipped with practical tips on establishing good boundaries, consequences and structure while preparing your teen for adulthood.
Judith Xavier –
is a Family-Life Specialist with Focus on the Family Singapore.
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