BLOG for Youth & Teens. We all know that kids grow up but did you know your parents are growing too? Invite them into conversation so that you can grow together.
Why is the family good? It is because it can become a base of truly free actions centering on true parental love.
- Sun Myung Moon (First CSG, p. 1811, Blessed Family - p. 930)
Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
- Proverbs 1:8-9
The depth of the love of parents for their children cannot be measured. It is like no other relationship. It exceeds concern for life itself. The love of a parent for a child is continuous and transcends heartbreak and disappointment.
- James E. Faust
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Hey, I'm glad you stopped by to read this. I got a secret for you, sometimes your parents have no idea what they are doing. Sometimes they are lost. They want the best for you but sometimes they are trying to figure out their own lives, jobs and relationships all the while trying to teach you how to live your best life.
Sounds crazy huh?
I know this because I’m a father now, I do my best, I really do, but I know I fall short sometimes. I want the world for my kids and I hope everyday that I’m doing enough.
The thing is though, even though your parents don't always know what to do in any specific situation, they know the hopes and dreams they have for you. They know how much they love you and want you to know that love. They know what they see in you, how amazing you can be and they want you to find your way. They want to protect you, yet give you wings to fly. They want to teach you and save you from mistakes but they also want you to learn from experience.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11
It might seem sometimes that your parents have unrealistic rules, why can’t they just let you do what you want? They tell you not to date because they want to protect your heart from pain; they want you to prepare yourself for your future love. They might stop you from going to parties because they don’t want you to end up in situations that you may regret, hurt yourself or hurt others. It might seem your parents don’t let you do what other kids do, but it’s because they don't want to be mediocre parents who just adequately engage with you, rather they want to be great parents who can support you and help you create the best foundation for your future.
A parent's Love
You see, the first time your parents held you they cried, thinking how beautiful you were. They couldn't believe that God made something so precious through them. The first time they held you they were afraid to hurt you, you looked so tiny and fragile. All of their love was manifest in you. In that moment they could see the past, present and future all in one little bundle.
As you grew they delighted in all of your ups and downs. They would brag to anyone that was in earshot about how amazing you were. “Hey look my kid can say "mommy," he's got such a way with words.” “Look she took a step; she's probably going to be an athlete.” “Wow did you see him build that block tower? There's a future engineer there.” That first time you sang Twinkle Twinkle, your parents imagined you up on a Broadway stage, look at my little star. No matter what you did or how you executed an action, they celebrated you and rooted for you to succeed in each of your milestones, relishing in your growth and development as you mastered new skills.
As You Grow
As you've grown older, your parents did their best to guide you to become your best you. They tried to give you opportunities to explore your passions and develop your talents. Sometimes they scold you and you get into fights. Sometimes they challenged you to work harder, to push yourself more, to apply yourself. Other times, they may put in place rules that may seem to you as unfair and too confining.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” - Hebrews 12:11
You are in a weird time now too. You are old enough to start taking on more responsibilities and to be more independent, yet you are young enough that you need your parents to provide for you and guide some of your decisions. You are in the final stages of growth- physically, emotionally and mentally. Did you know that your brain development won’t finish up until your mid 20’s? The frontal cortex, that guides decision making, is actually still forming. So having your parents at your side can serve as a support for making the best choices.
But that’s hard, you want to just make your own way but they don’t always let you do what you want. It might even have been said “As long as you are living under my roof, you follow my rules.” Ughh, so many rules.
Remember, even though you are older now, your parents still love you just as much, they still hold the hopes and dreams for who you are becoming. Your parents guide you because of their deep love for you.
They also know that they won’t always be there to give you that help. You are getting older now and they might feel they don’t have much time left to help you. They want to instill in you the lessons, values and guidance you will need in order to live your best life.
As a result of their desire to see you grow, you might bump heads sometimes. You might get into yelling matches. Your desire to be independent and your parents feeling that they know better is bound to cause a few flare ups. Just remember you're all human and that means that you both are subject to growth.
As you grow older, your parents will also expect more of you. They believe you can do more and know they have to put more on you so that you can learn from it.
“All parents are happy when sons and daughters are born. But if they don't fulfill their responsibility as parents the children will accuse them and say, "Why did you have me?" Parents have the responsibility to raise their children. They have to help them to acquire all the necessary skills so they can go and be active in society.” - Rev. Sun Myung Moon
The goal of your parents right now is to make sure you are a loving, responsible and capable adult.
Earn Your Parent’s Trust
There is more and more being asked of you but you may also notice that you have more freedom. As you become more capable you are able to take more ownership of your life. When your parents can see that you are considerate of what you are doing, you are more able to fix your mistakes and you are more able to look for what else needs to be done, they will stop having to watch your every move. What a relief.
Trust and respect are things we all yearn for. We want our parents to stop treating us as children. In order for them to change their view on us we need to start showing that we are capable. Actions speak louder than words, if we act trustworthy, we will be trusted.
Trust is earned by living responsibly. Some ways to earn more trust include: get your homework done on time, clean your room, help around the house, make good choices like staying away from drugs and alcohol, come home when you say you are coming, check-in with your parents often and let them know if you’re running late, honestly share your victories and your struggles openly and upholding any commitments you make.
This is also the time for you to get what you can from your parents. Your parents have a lot of experience and can be a wellspring of information for you.
Ask them about anything.
Ask about how they decided what to do for work. Ask them about the first years of marriage. Ask them about balancing their finances. Ask them about dealing with bad teachers or bosses. Ask them what mistakes they’ve made and how they fixed them. Ask them how they overcame weakness.
Ask your parents about the things that matter, even if it can be uncomfortable sometimes.
Ask about their first crush. Ask about how they dealt with unwanted sexual advances. Ask them about what they think about porn. Ask them about dating. Ask about preparing for sex the first time. Ask them about handling being horny.
Parenting requires parents to know when to give advice and when to just support quietly. Make openings for your parents to offer advice. They don’t want to overwhelm you with their instruction but they definitely want to help where they can. By asking questions you are letting them into your life and they will cherish those moments.
Parents also don’t know what you are struggling with at any given time but when you ask questions they can know better how to support you or just lend a listening ear. Asking questions is a part of building trust.
Go deeper. Share your heart with them on the things going through your mind and heart. Relationships go both ways, you should ask your parents questions but you should also be willing to share your own life with them as well.
You’ve been going through so many changes, your friends are changing, your interests are changing, your body is changing, your desires are changing- so share that with your parents.
One of the hardest things for a parent is watching their children struggle but not knowing what they struggle with.
Looking back, I realize my parents saw and knew so many things I struggled with but I didn't share those struggles with them. They were either forced to pry into my life, which often caused unnecessary fights or quietly watch me suffer. Both options were terrible and unnecessary.
I needed their help, but my pride, fear, guilt and shame blocked off that wellspring of love and support.
So, let your parents in on the struggles you are having. Believe it or not, they know you are having attractions now, they know that you think about sex, they know that you have thought about dating. Tell them what you think about these things. Let them into the conversation you are having with yourself and your friends so that they can help you take the right steps.
It might surprise you to know that your parents may have something to contribute and something that you can learn from them. They were teens once too, dealing with many of the same struggles you are currently facing , and maybe even more serious situations. They want to support you and share with you so that you can learn from their experiences, mistakes and victories.
You don’t have to struggle alone with your doubts, fears and mistakes. Let your parents in.
As you are more open with your parents you also will earn more trust. You will find that your parents are not simply arbitrators of justice but are actually your greatest supporters.
Parents as Lifelong Cheerleaders
Your parents might not always provide a roof over your head, but they can always be there as supporters and cheerleaders for your life. Build your relationship now. Engage with them and pick up the lessons they learned the hard way. Find out the best ways to draw out their knowledge and apply it to your own situations.
Your parents have loved you since you were born. They loved you through all your tantrums, failures, mistakes and growing pains. They love you now and they will love you long after they are gone. Your parents' love is one of the few things you can always rely on. They will be with you even when you feel the whole world is against you.
You may not believe me now, but one day you are going to miss these days. Make the most of the time you have and learn to love your parents fully.
Investing in your relationship with your parents is one of the best things you can do as you prepare yourself to be an awesome spouse one day!
1. Be patient
with your parents, they are still learning to be parents, and it’s a steep learning process. This is unchartered territory so as you grow and change, your parents are having to grow and change as well. Sometimes you might bump heads but take a breath, take a walk, get some space and try to talk through it when you are more calm.
2. Try to see through your parents’ eyes
What are they seeing when you are making mistakes? Why are they so strict sometimes? Why do they ask so much of me? Remember your parents want the best for you and when they guide you, they do so with love.
3. Make time for your parents
I know, life is busy. You're a teen, there’s so much to do. At the same time you have this special time with your parents now. Soon you will be out on your own in the big wide world. Spend time with your parents and soak up their love.
Help me see my parents the way you see them.
Help me forgive my parents for past mistakes.
Help me take more responsibility for my life and show my parents that I’m growing.
Help me to be vulnerable and real with my parents and things I’m going through.
Help me to understand my parents and where they are coming from.
Help me to trust and to be trustworthy