5 Tips to Successfully Navigate the Teen Years

If you’ve been following along with our little series here, you’ll know that I’m writing about the things I’ve learned while interviewing many 2nd generation Christians on their childhoods. Many young people are leaving our churches, but I wonder…why do those that stay remain? Perhaps there is something we can learn from their childhoods.

So I began asking them many questions, and the results are in my upcoming book, Lionproof, due out in October. But I wanted to share the things I’ve learned with you all here first!

Today we wrestle with the age-old ponderous question: “Why is the little Chihuahua so eager to get out of the fence to the huge Rottweiler?” In parenting teens, is seems as though they are so eager to get out on their own, and yet they know so little about the hardships they’ll face. Join me today as we learn again from our 2nd Generation Christians!

For the rest of the series, click here.


“In my opinion, Dianne told me, “I think my parents were not strict enough on us as teenagers especially with the boyfriend/girlfriend issue.  Of course, now that I’m married, I see how God protected me, but I don’t think my parents quite knew what to do with us when we were teens.”

While Dianne spoke (and I typed!) I wondered if any of us really know what we’re doing. Yet I was struck by the thought that ignorance is nothing we can afford when our children approach their teens.


How do successful parents handle the teen years?  Do they, as I’ve often heard, put the young person in a barrel when they turn thirteen and take them out again when they turn twenty-one?  It may not be a bad idea, but somehow I don’t think it will go over very well.  There must be some better way to deal with young people.


I believe it is possible to know what we’re doing.  Successful parents, and their children, know the answer.  I learned the principles through these interviews, and now you will know, too.


Successful Parents Expect Questions


One young lady, Shaunna, told how her father understood the spirit of questioning things. She said, “In his mind, our questions were not challenges, they were simply questions wanting to know how or why.  If he didn’t know the answer, he was honest and told us so.” 


Questioning helps kids understand what they believe and why.


We cannot afford to ignore their questions!  Rather, expect them.  Successful parents did, and now that you know how important it is, you will anticipate them too.


Successful Parents Respond Rationally

In addition to expecting questions, our response to questions is vastly important, as well.  How should we answer when our young people ask questions?  Certainly, we should try to prepare in advance for their questions.  But even if we’re unable to prepare in advance, we can rationally respond, and then search for the answers. It would be foolish to respond roughly and not give them any answer other than, “Because I said so!” In addition to answering rationally:

Successful Parents Taught Their Young People the Reasons Behind the Rules!

Remember how the people I spoke to understood why they were sheltered?  They not only understood why, but eventually embraced the values their parents taught them, and now they themselves are sheltering their own children.  The parents took the time to explain the rules, and the reasons behind them, in a rational, casual manner, and in a happy, relaxed atmosphere.


Successful parents understand that some lines will be crossed. 


Several of the young people I talked to told me what their parents did when they crossed a line. But the most important event took place BEFORE the young person did something they weren’t supposed to.


Before the line is crossed, parents need to decide in advance what their response would be.  Without having clear lines and definite responses, things are up for grabs.  Like we said before, children do not need an “anything goes” atmosphere in the home.


Remember that a life lived straining against authority can never be happy.  Let’s not doom our children to a wasted life; don’t let Satan catch them in his claws.  Let’s do whatever is necessary to make them LIONPROOF.
Successful Parents Take Swift and Decisive Action.


Some parents will deal strenuously when their young person crosses a line, while others respond calmly and deliberately.  One example of the effectiveness of the latter response was given to me by Steve, who remarked how he backslid from God for a short time. His mother was very frank with him, and told him, “Steve, I didn’t raise you to serve the Devil.”  The strength of her relationship with him is what enabled her to be so bold.



The teen years need not be turbulent ones, though they may be difficult.  With God’s help, we can expect questions, respond rationally, teach the reasons behind the rules, understand that some lines will be crossed, and take swift and decisive action.  We can make the right decisions and set our lines carefully.  The Lord will help us stick to the decisions we’ve prayed about . . . the ones He Himself has given us.  God is not willing for Satan to catch any of our young people in his claws!  It is not only possible, but necessary, to make them LIONPROOF!

Question: What do you think are some good ways to handle the teen years? What can parents do to make the transition to adulthood easier?

Special Announcements:

  • I have many people who follow along on my Facebook page for daily encouragements, reminders, and exciting assignments! It’s a great group of folks – come join us!

  • The date for release of my new book, Lionproof: Keeping Your Children from the Claws of the Devil, has been changed from September to October. That will, Lord willing, allow enough time for us to implement some deals I have planned for you! In this book, there will be:
    • Not just information telling parents why kids are going astray, but proven parenting practices that have worked for generations that are successful in raising godly children.
    • Dozens of interviews from those 2nd generation Christians who KNOW what their parents did RIGHT.
    • Charts and graphs detailing the results of the interviews
    • Assignments to help the reader implement these principles in their own parenting.
    • And much, much more!

Also, several folks have requested review copies of the book, but I’m having trouble connecting with you (I think it’s a case of technological retardation 😉 So if you have a blog and would like a review copy of the book, let me know, even if you already contacted me before. Email me at: lisaraub at rocket mail dot com, and I’ll give you the details. I only ask that when you’re done reading the book, you post about it on your blog!

Linking up with: Monday: Alabaster Jar, The Better Mom, and Moms the Word, and Happy Wives Club Tuesday: Titus Two Tuesdays, Mercy Ink Blog, The TimeWarp Wife, Messy Marriage Wednesday: To Love Honor and Vacuum




  1. Beth says:

    These are all great, Lisa and once again, you’ve provided some important “handles” for us to grab hold of as parents of teens. The only one that I would add is to not just expect questions but to ask questions–important questions. In our household our three sons are very private and one of the three is worse than the others and really doesn’t like to elaborate on any part of his life. But we keep asking him questions to give us more understanding about his life and feelings. He resists us at this point and often begrudgingly and half-heartedly replies. But I know there will be a tipping point when he recognizes we care about him and want to know him. I love the work you’re doing here, my friend! Always a blessing to visit.

    • Lisa says:

      Very good thoughts, Beth! Asking questions is just as important as expecting them! And it doesn’t need to sound like an FBI investigation, either, but just like you said – a kind and gentle probing for more information because we love them!

      Privacy is a good thing, but can be a dangerous thing as well. especially considering our media age we live in. But if our young people know we love them and want to know them, it can go a long way to establishing solid relationships with them.

      Thanks again, Beth!

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