Ready to Launch: Tips for Parents Raising Teens

The transition from middle school to high school, and then eventually college or career, is a big step for both parents and teens. It can cause uncertainty, fear, and even angst in both parties. But it doesn’t have to be arduous. Parents can prepare their teens to launch into adulthood in healthy ways while still providing the safety they need during this vulnerable time in life. The teen years can be an exciting and enjoyable time for both the parents and the teenagers. Promote independence by embracing these strategies that will help your teens be ready to launch in a loving family environment.

Guide Your Teen in Their Relationship with God

As a parent, you most likely want what’s best for your teens. You teach them manners, guide them through school, and cheer them on when they go for something they want. But one crucial aspect that sometimes gets overlooked is faith and trust in God. As adolescents navigate through the challenges of life, learning to trust in God’s plan will help them their entire life, and now as they’re getting ready to launch. By establishing a strong foundation of belief and trust in God and his promises, they’ll be better equipped to handle the uncertainties of life. Help your teens develop a relationship with God, and encourage them to pray, read the Bible regularly, and meditate on God’s Word. It’s an investment that will set them up for success, both in this world and beyond.

Teach Your Teen How to Make Responsible Decisions

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “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.” Encourage your teenager to seek God’s wisdom in all their decisions, big or small. Teach them to weigh the pros and cons, consider the consequences, and listen to the Holy Spirit when making choices. Alongside this, cultivate an atmosphere of trust and communication so that your teen feels comfortable coming to you when they need advice. By instilling these principles in your child, you are equipping them with the tools they need to make responsible decisions and navigate life’s challenges with confidence and grace as they get ready to launch out on their own.

Create a Safe Environment for Open Conversations

Proverbs 18:13 states, “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.” As parents, it is essential to create a safe environment for your teenagers to express themselves openly. Your teenagers are faced with countless challenges every day, from the pressures of academics to the complexities of personal relationships. By actively listening and engaging in honest and open conversations, you can help guide them through these tough times. Create a safe, non-judgmental space where they feel comfortable sharing what is on their minds. Providing them with support and understanding will not only strengthen your bond with them, but it can also help shape them into confident adults who have the skills to face any obstacle that comes their way.

Dealing with difficult topics such as peer pressure, addictions, sex, depression, and bullying can be overwhelming, but if you have fostered a safe space for them to communicate their fears and their feelings, it can be a joy. As your teen navigates through life, knowing they can talk to you about hard topics will help them address them in real life. The more open they can be, without fear of judgment or rejection, the more healthy they will be emotionally. Your child will spend their teenage years trying to figure out who they are and what they believe. Encourage questions, even if they come to a different conclusion than you would. Learning to think for themself and address hard topics will help make them ready to launch out of your household and into their own with courage.

Encourage and Support Extracurricular Activities, Education, and Internships

When you’ve got multiple children with multitudes of interests, it can be exhausting. But encouraging and supporting extracurricular activities, education, and internships is a great way to ensure that they develop their skills and interests outside of school. By guiding your teens toward extracurricular activities such as sports, music, art, or volunteering, you help them discover their strengths and passions. In the same way, supporting their educational efforts and internships gives them the chance to grow and learn as individuals. Remember, as you cultivate your children’s God-given potential, you are also nurturing their character and paving the way for a bright future.

Remind Them Often of Your Love and Acceptance

As your teen navigates the challenges of getting ready to launch, your unconditional love and acceptance will help them be confident. Just as 1 Corinthians 13 teaches, “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” You are their source of unconditional love and unwavering support. Let them know that they can always turn to you, even in their moments of deepest distress. They will mess up. Be assured of that. Because everyone messes up. But 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” If you emphasize their behavior more than their heart, you will only be encouraging them to hide behind a mask of obedience rather than having a heart that is good and kind. By reminding your teen that you will always love them, you are building a strong and trusting relationship that will last a lifetime.

Raising your teen doesn’t have to be the stereotypical conflict-filled experience. You can get them ready to launch into independence in a safe, love-filled environment. When you keep open, non-judgmental communication with your teen so they can feel comfortable to come to you about anything, you are building a lifetime of trust. Support them by encouraging extracurricular activities, education, and internships that align with their values and interests. Above all else, emphasize the fact that no matter what choices your teens make in life you are here for them always. To help you make sure you are grounded in your relationship with God, download the Abide app for daily guided meditations. They will help center you on God’s Word and experience his peace through your teen-parenting journey. Faithful parenting has its rewards—it encourages you to remain close to your teens now and into their adulthood.