What Parents Need to be Sure They Teach Their Kids & Teens
Joey and Carla Link
Someday, your kids will be preparing to move out of your house. About that time, parents start to wonder if they have taught them what their kids need to know to go out and live in this world in a way that is honoring to Jesus Christ. This is especially true for those parents who have heard of the statistics that show over 75% of kids that grow up in Christian homes walk away from their faith in Jesus in the College years.
This is why this series of Parenting Made Practical’s email blogs will focus on “What Parents Need to be Sure They Teach Their kids”. While it’s not meant to be a final checklist, we hope it will be a starting point for you to develop your own list to start conversations with your middle schoolers and teens and then look for opportunity to test them to be sure what is in their hearts. Knowing the Biblical principles you have taught them all their lives are embedded in their hearts will give you confidence these principles will motivate your kids on how they need to live for Christ.
If you don’t have teens, this series of blogs will be a good starting point to teach your kids 6 yrs. on up the way God wants us to live to show the world His glory. If you start teaching them these principles when they are 8-12 years, when you test them it is probable they will pass with flying colors!
If your kids are teens, we encourage Dads to begin taking your kids out to lunch or breakfast once a month and use items from this list to discuss what your kids believe and what kinds of choices they will make in various areas of their lives that could compromise their belief in God.
Some questions to ask and talk through with your kids/teens:
- Do they really believe Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior or do they go to church just because the family does? Are they living your faith or have they taken ownership of faith in God for themselves? “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10
- Can they ever doubt God or their faith and still be a Christian? How can they deal with disappointment, trials, suffering, if things don’t turn out the way they planned? Will they blame God for failing them, for not answering their prayers their way? “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5
- How are they growing as a Christian and what will their plan be to grow spiritually when they leave your home? “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 3:18
- How will they find a good church? What will they look for in a good church?
- What does “fear the Lord” mean? Do they think that is the way they should live? “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
- How will they convince themselves to forgive others when they don’t think that person deserves it? Do they know they must forgive no matter what or God won’t forgive them? “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
- Jesus said, “if you want to be great, you must become a servant of all.” What do they need to do to live a GREAT life? “And he (Jesus) sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’” Mark 9:35
- What beliefs vs. convictions do they have? Do they believe there is a difference between the two? Do they think the difference would make a difference on how they should live? “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
- Will they stay true to the family identity you raised them with? If yes, what would they say your family identity is? If no, what would they want to change if they could?
- How will they treat others? Will they put the needs of others first if they don’t like that person? “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
- Are they being ruled by “the love of money?” What would stop them from being ruled by money? What would that look like? “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” I Timothy 2:10
- How are they going to resist the lust of the eyes and lust of the flesh in regards to keeping their bodies pure? “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” I John 2:16
- How are they going to resist the lust of the eyes when it comes to wanting new video games or clothes and jewelry? “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” I John 2:15-17 (All Scripture taken from ESV)
We could list a lot more, but this will give you a starting point for some areas parents need to be sure their kids have convictions in, but also ideas for mom’s and dad’s to discuss with their teens how they are doing in their walk with the Lord as they look to leave their home one day.
Some of the best memories I have with my kids is taking the out to lunch to just talk. Sometimes I had an agenda of something I wanted to ask them and sometimes it was a time to just chat and let me hear about their world and offer some insight and wisdom to save them from some normal teen pitfalls.
Next up “How to Test Your Kids”