Managing, according to the Webster Dictionary means “to have control of something or someone”, “take care of and make decisions about someone’s time, money”. Other definitions include “to handle or direct with a degree of skill”, “to treat with care” among others.
Teenagers are people between the ages of 13 to 19 years old. Teenagers are faced with several problems ranging from their negative self or body image; difficulty in prioritizing and managing time; pressure from peers, parents and the society they find themselves; lack of good role models or mentors; exposure to violence on the screen and unhealthy social media practices as well as unhealthy drive into sexual activities or behaviours, to mention but a few. The teen age is actually a time when several decisions and important choices in life are made such as friends, career, beliefs, etc.
In Genesis 18:19 God testified about Abraham that he knew he would command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord. In the same way, God expects us to manage and care for our own children. In managing your teenagers, parents and guardians must through the help of the Holy Spirit do the following:
Treat them with care: Care is one of the most important things to consider in management. Ephesians 6:4 says “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (KJV).As parents, we must never be harsh to our teenagers; we must let them know that we care about them both in word and deed. Correct them in love and avoid arguing, being defensive and nagging. We must keep talking and listening to them as well as provide adequate answers to their questions and confusions in love.
Disrespectful behavior is a common part of teenage development, but we can help the teenagers avoid and handle disrespect by allowing them build a strong and positive relationship with God and His word. We must understand that the world is battling over their lives so we must ensure that we and God have a strong grip on them so that they are not lost to the world. Showing the teenager that you care about him/her also involves meeting their basic needs as the Lord provides. These include providing them with adequate food, clothing and shelter; loving them and teaching them to love others in the way of the Lord; paying their tuition fees and bearing the cost of their education; attending their school meetings/activities that require our presence; visiting them at school; praying for them and with them and so on. We must also be careful not to spoil them with too much money or make them trust in money. We must help them differentiate between their wants and needs.
There’s a teenager with me that once asked for an android phone at fourteen. I knew he needed a phone that will aid our communication with him, but I equally know that he may not be able to handle all the distractions and ‘time wasters’ on the internet. So I and my husband decided that he should get a phone that cannot access the internet but can make and receive calls. This actually helped him in a lot of ways. We also through the help of God taught him how to build his confidence by letting him know that possessing God is everything, comparing yourself with others is foolishness. Being unique and to stand out for God is all that matters and that’s what God demands. Look out for signs of stress, anxiety, lack of concentration, poor eating habits, poor personal hygiene, disturbance in sleep and lack of devotion to God in your teenager and address them immediately. We cannot ignore our parental duties. Even though they’re in their teens, they still need us just as they did when they were little. Items such as cell phones, computers, TVs, play station games etc that they spend time with cannot give them the nurturing they need. Don’t confuse necessities with privileges, need with wants.
Teach and encourage them to be responsible: Discuss and establish rules for chores, home work, praying and studying the word of God etc. Have a timetable for them and be firm in their execution. This will help them manage their time and avoid unnecessary outings.
In the Bible we can see several teenagers that were responsible in their days. David was responsible, tending the sheep and running errands for his father; Joseph also was responsible, running errands for his father and bringing report of the evil that his brothers committed on the field. In Potiphar’s house and even in prison we didn’t record any lazy or slothful attitude from him. Rachael and Rebecca too are good examples of hard working ladies. We must ensure that our teenagers are not left idle at any point. Some are struggling with masturbation, bad gangs and occultism due to idleness.
I know of teenagers that got their first jobs when they were only 17 or 18 years of age while awaiting admission into the higher institutions. Since managing time and money for a teenager is a huge problem, parents must ensure that they guide and direct them on how to use their time and money to the glory of God.
Never reward or encourage bad and inappropriate behavior. Discipline them in love. Always set and enforce boundaries. Set rules like ‘you may never stay out late beyond 8:00pm’; ‘All your friends must be introduced and known to me as family friends’.
Encourage your teenagers to change positively and offer them opportunities to do so. Be consistent and effective in the execution of your set boundaries. We must always thank and appreciate them whenever they act responsibly. Note that in being responsible, the fear of failure, anxiety and “I can’t do it” often pops up in the heart of our teenagers. We must counteract and knock it out by encouraging and supporting them.
Build strong relationship with your teenagers. Listen to their opinions and offer help whenever needed. Communicate positively with them and avoid cursing. Never teach or encourage your teenager to be irresponsible by making comments like “let them be it is their time”, “they will soon change and outgrow this phase”, “I even did worse and I came out of it”. We would have succeeded to cause harm than good in their lives. Our policies should be helping them not hurting them. Also in teaching them to be responsible, we must not push or lord it over them; we must never withdraw our help and support if they don’t go our way but we must be firm that they go in the way of the Lord.
Be an example of Good Behaviour: Our teenagers lack good role models. Parents ought to be their first teachers and role models. Titus 2:7-8 (LB) says; “And here you yourself must be an example to them of good deeds of every kind”. We must befriend our teenagers and show them how to do things the right way. They learn by observing us. As parents, we cannot teach a teenager about managing his time while we waste time on the internet, watch TV all day or keep late nights that are unprofitable.
In managing our teenagers, we must direct them. The best way to direct a person is via examples. We must deliberately destroy every record of evil; our past records have a way of distracting our teenagers. For example, our pictures with inappropriate modes of dressing (nudity), smoking, partying, drinking etc should be destroyed. In Gen. 4:23-24, Lamech heard about what Cain his great grandfather did, that is, killing Abel his younger brother and so he (Lamech) killed a youth too and was not sorry for what he did because he could refer to the bad model of his grandparent Cain. He copied that example. We must trust God to help us not be the cause of our teenagers’ careless and nonchalant attitude in Jesus’ Name.
Finally, let’s repent and turn to God in all the ways we have not been managing our teenage children well, because God expects us to be a good steward of our home. Pray for grace to care, love, study as well as guide, direct and make them to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for their lives.