A Prayer for Parenting Teenagers
By Heidi Vegh
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
I am smack dab in the middle of parenting two teenage boys. It feels like only yesterday that they were my sweet, snuggly, innocent babies. They needed me, and I felt like their mommy. Today, it’s hard to feel anything but their lunch maker and room cleaning nagger. I feel like they are slipping through my fingers, and I am powerless to stop them. I feel out of control most days when it comes to phone time, homework, chores, eating habits, etc. They are gaining more independence, but with that comes a level of anxiety for me as their mother. I still long to control all that they do, but I know that I need to begin to let go in certain areas, allowing them to make their own mistakes and experience the consequences of their poor choices.
Teenagers are at a sensitive time in their development when their prefrontal cortex is stretching its legs and seeking to understand who this person is and what they will become. This is the decision-making part of the brain, and as it is still developing in these teen years, it goes without saying that they are doing things that make me want to pull my hair out. When teens appear to be rebelling, it can easily be them striving to find independence. This pulling away and desire for space is a natural part of growing up.
Teens struggle for acceptance among peers, and as parents, we need to remind them that they are loved and accepted just as God created them, not because of how they look, what they drive, or the toys that they possess. We need to pray against the negative influence they are most assuredly receiving from their peers. We need to be the loudest voice in their life, filling their hearts and minds with the truth of God’s Word and combating the enemies’ lies that are pouring into them daily.
Teens are desiring to be in control of their own lives. They want to have a say in what they do and how they do it. If we try to force things on them, this will only lead to the rebellion that we are trying to avoid. These are natural and normal parts of development for both boys and girls. The more we understand what is going on with our teens emotionally, physically, and hormonally we can begin to develop compassion for their behavior and react with love instead of annoyance and pour out acceptance and grace instead of anger and punishment.
This is easier said than done, but I believe that God created teens with a purpose in mind, knowing full well that they would need to go through these stages to become the person He created them to be. Let’s not fight against the natural process of maturation in our teens but instead partner with the Lord to assist their growth with love, spur on their independence and give them opportunities to make good choices.
I lift my teenagers to you. Please give me wisdom as I parent them through these tumultuous years. I feel as though I am losing my grip on them as they are seeking independence and control of their own lives. Please give me grace when I notice that some of their choices do not bring life. Give me your words for each specific situation, and give me the ability to react with grace and love. Please protect them from the schemes of the enemy and put a hedge around their hearts and minds that would deflect anything coming at them that is not from you.
Help me to encourage them in their walk with you, and help me to speak truth and life over them every day. Help me remind them how much they are loved by me and by you. Help me to teach them that they will only reach their full potential if they include you in their life. Help me to cultivate an environment where they feel free to make choices but in a space that is bound by love and protection. Help me to let them go in the most supportive way possible without being overprotective or overbearing.
I surrender them to you, Lord, and ask that you lead and guide them as they continue to mature and grow. Show them the right path for their life and protect them from choices that may be detrimental. Breathe your life over them every day in all their activities, and show me how to love them in the best possible way. Thank you for the privilege of parenting my children, and please strengthen our relationship every day.
Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of motherhood. Amen.
Photo credit: ©SalemDesign/BethanyPyle
Heidi Vegh is a writer, speaker, and ministry leader living in Gig Harbor, WA. She is a remarried mother of four, navigating the blended family life after the loss of her first husband to cancer in 2013. She longs to use her writing as a way to encourage others who have experienced loss and guide them on the road to healing. She contributes to her blog found at www.mrsheidivegh.com , sharing stories and devotionals of faith stemming from her loss and healing, mothering, and her blended and complex family. She graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a degree in Creative Writing and English and is working on her first book. Heidi is the Women’s Ministry Director at Gig Harbor Foursquare and has a deep heart for sharing Jesus with women and encouraging them in their faith walk. When she is not writing she loves to travel, read, craft, and experiment in the kitchen. Visit her Facebook and Instagram (@mrsheidivegh) to learn more.
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