Being a parent can be challenging...especially if you have teenagers who are maturing and entering a fast-moving, complex world. How do you get your son or daughter ready? How can you help them hold on to their faith? How do you know if you’re doing a good job as a parent?
The good news is you don't have to be a perfect parent! Even good parents can learn how to connect with their son or daughter in deeper, more meaningful ways.
We invite you to follow along this FREE, 8-part video series (from Focus on the Family) called “8 Essential Tips for Parenting Teens” designed to give you practical, action-oriented steps for raising your teen. (Or you can sign up to have the tips sent directly to your inbox by clicking here). Teenagers need a lot — freedom and responsibility and encouragement and boundaries. But mostly, they need you!
Here are the 8 short tips that will be covered in this series:
Tip #1: Be open with your kids about your imperfections.
In this first video of the series, teacher, author, and counselor Chip Dodd shares how being honest about our imperfections, as well as being real with our emotions, can help your kids grow up to be healthy adults. Good parents aren’t perfect. Living authentically can be a powerful tool in building relationships with your children and teaching them about Jesus Christ.
Click here to watch Session #1 video, learn 3 quick tips, and pray together.
Tip #2: Nurture Your Teen’s Faith by Modeling Your Own.
Just like their growing bodies, teenagers’ faith lives are changing too. Bible stories and silly songs are things of the past. Tough questions and personal decision-making are front and center now. The second video in this series features author Jessie Minassian, who says that building your kids’ faith begins with you. Let them watch you follow in Jesus’ footsteps and seek to be His disciple. An authentic, living faith will speak volumes!
Click here to watch Session #2 video, learn 3 quick tips, and pray together.
Tip #3: Stick with your teen through the tough times.
Post-prom breakups. Season-ending sports injuries. Bombed mid-year exams. Your teenager is going to face setbacks and struggles and will wrestle with a spectrum of emotions — loss, grief, loneliness, guilt, anger. In video 3, counselor Chip Dodd shares a story about his own son and reminds you that you are uniquely positioned — as a mom or dad — to simply be present in your teen’s life. More than anything, he or she needs to know that you’ll be there.
Click here to watch Session #3 video, learn 3 quick tips, and pray together.
Tip# 4: Keep lines of communication open.
Eyerolls and attitude are going to happen — because, hey, teens are going to be teens. But your communication with them is most effective when you purposefully connect with them, get into their world, and give them chances to earn your trust. In the fourth video of this series, author Jessie Minassian shares practical ideas for bonding. Ask questions casually. Prioritize one-on-one time. Discover their personality. Just have fun together.
Click here to watch Session #4 video, learn 3 quick tips, and pray together.
Tip #5: Leverage the uniqueness moms AND dads bring.
Mom’s style and Dad’s way — they are definitely NOT the same. But BOTH offer something valuable to a growing teenager. Whether you’re part of a two-parent home or parenting solo, trust your unique strengths to breathe life into your child. In tip number 5, author Connie Albers says there is beauty in the varying ways parents seek to shape and care for their young adult’s tender heart.
Click here to watch Session #5 video, learn 3 quick tips, and pray together.
Tip# 6: Encourage your teen to grow in their strengths.
For all the difficulties and dangers in the world, now really is an exciting time to be a teenager. Thanks to technology, there is great opportunity for young adults to be world-changers and kingdom-shapers for Jesus. In the sixth tip of this series, author Connie Albers encourages you to help your teen find their passions and discover how to use their talents to serve the Lord. Your voice means so much to them. What words will you speak into them?
Click here to watch Session #6 video, learn 3 quick tips, and pray together.
Tip #7: Don’t make decisions for them — talk to them about values.
You’re right to have concerns about what’s on social media these days. But using Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and other platforms wisely can be valuable teaching moments. In tip number 7, author Jonathan McKee shares that moms and dads can boost their teen’s maturity and growth by having everyday conversations about values and truths and reading God’s Word together. Then let go and let them make some choices — not just abide by your house rules.
Click here to watch Session #7 video, learn 3 quick tips, and pray together.
Tip# 8: Talk about technology use and embrace the "why."
Do you have rules for screen time? For cell phones? For Netflix? Parents today have to set a lot of boundaries, especially about technology in the home. In the eighth and final tip of this series, author Jonathan McKee says that you should have an ongoing family talk about the “why” behind those limits. If your teen understands the heart behind those guardrails, they’re much more likely to choose boundaries for themselves.
Click here to watch Session #8 video, learn 3 quick tips, and pray together.
We hope you enjoy this parenting series! As always, I encourage you to contact Pastor Christian or Pastor John for additional marriage or family support.
May God bless you and your family!
Marriage - the joining of two people with distinct backgrounds, personalities, and perspectives is a beautiful thing, but it’s guaranteed to come with challenges as well.
And if marriage can be tough, you can imagine that remarriage is even tougher! You might be adding children from one or both spouses’ previous relationships. You’re also adding the pain that accompanied the end of those previous relationships, whether it was divorce, the death of a spouse, or other factors. You’re adding a whole new set of extended family members. And the list goes on. The challenges are real, and they go way beyond anything you saw on The Brady Bunch.
If your blended family is feeling frustrated, misunderstood, or alone, there is good news for you. Focus on the Family has produced a FREE series of seven short video clips called Thriving Stepfamilies — Overcoming Common Challenges in Blended Families. These brief segments are brimming with practical tips and advice to help you and your loved ones find peace, harmony, and trust in your blended home! And each video includes discussion questions and additional resources to help you on your journey.
Episode 1: Making a Good Blend: Challenges and OpportunitiesEpisode 2: Triangled: Your Marriage, the Kids, and Your Blended Family.Episode 3: Former Spouses, Co-Parenting, and Between-Home ChallengesEpisode 4: The 6 P's of StepparentingEpisode 5: Freedom for Those Between HomesEpisode 6: Financing Family TogethernessEpisode 7: Turning Points—Research Insights for a Good Blend
I encourage you to contact Pastor Christian or Pastor John for additional marriage or family support.
May God bless you and your family!
Here's a message from Dr. Greg Smalley and his wife Erin on keys to success in a blended family. Enjoy!
How has your marriage been in the last year? My wife, Erin, and I have spent a lot of time together this last year. You and your spouse probably have, too. Some of it has been great! The pace of life was slower. We learned new things about each other and about ourselves.
The COVID pandemic has helped many couples appreciate their spouse more. I certainly gained greater appreciation for a mental load that Erin had been dealing with for decades. I didn’t realize she was thinking about meal planning and preparation as much as she was, how it was always in the back of her mind ... until I took over cooking duties.
We also experienced some loss and learned to grieve together. Like so many other couples, we have had to adapt to very stressful conditions, not only in the world but in our marriages.
One special type of marriage takes even more effort and intentionality – remarriages. Blending two families after a death of one spouse or a divorce demands extra commitment and grit. Often, couples headed for a blended family believe the dynamics are the same as in a biological family, and everything might seem fine — until after the wedding.
If you’re in a blended family, Focus on the Family has resources to help you build a strong marriage while building relationships with stepchildren and your biological kids. Take a look at the resources below. We’re here for you!
Dr. Greg Smalley,
Vice President, Marriage
Improving Your Marriage as a Blended Family Couple | Broadcast
Author and speaker Ron Deal offers couples in blended families advice on how they can assess the strengths of their marriage and improve on areas of weakness in light of the particular challenges they face in parenting stepchildren. Listen online.
Creating a Shared Vision for Blended Family Finances | Article
At some point, every couple should talk about their values related to money and how they will create a shared vision for combining incomes and debt while planning for the future care of their children. Blended family finances can be even more challenging, but that shared vision for your family’s financial future is still possible by building relational trust and carefully considering financial agreements. Read here.
The Smart Stepfamily Marriage: Keys to Success in the Blended Family |This Week’s Special Offer
Whether you're dating, engaged, a young stepfamily, or an empty-nest couple, The Smart Stepfamily Marriage gives you the tools you need at any stage to create a remarriage that will last. Each chapter of this book explores one of the key qualities of happy remarriages as identified by research. Like a GPS for your relationship, this book has built-in discussion questions that can help you and your partner discover where you are, where you'd like to be, and how to get there. Get this best-selling book for a gift of any amount.
The Focus on the Family Broadcast | This Week’s Episodes
The broadcast covers other unique family situations too, for parents and those considering living together before marriage. See which broadcasts interest you:
Loving Your Spouse in the Midst of Parenthood
Fighting for Joy as a Special Needs Parent
Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life
Does Living Together Help or Hurt?
Blended family or not, if you’re struggling in your marriage, there’s still hope!
Schedule a free consult to see if a Hope Restored marriage intensive is a good option for you.
More free resources for Stepfamilies | Announcement
Remarriage is tough. We can help. Learn how the five love languages can help blended families, or sign up for the Thriving Stepfamilies free video series (or check them all out here!).
Find the Focus on Marriage Getaway event that’s right for you Strengthen your marriage by attending one of our Focus on the Family weekend marriage retreats. Check getaway themes and schedules here.
As always, I encourage you to contact Pastor Christian or Pastor John for additional marriage or family support.
May God bless you and your family!