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My biggest parenting challenge

Trial is one of the main tools God uses to mature and complete us.

We cannot give in to thinking that difficulty comes because God is absent or passive. He is in the difficulty, using it as an instrument of maturity (James 1:2-8).

My biggest parenting challenge isn’t my child; it’s me.mother_and_daughtersAge of Opportunity is my all-time favorite parenting book. Age_of_Opportunity_by_Paul_David_TrippBecause it’s not just about the kids, it’s also about the parents.

Paul David Tripp focuses on changing the heart, not just the behavior. Of the child. And of the parent.

He reminds me to check my own heart as I seek opportunities to help my children grow in godliness.

The problems that our teenagers bring home are an intrusion on our desires and plans for our lives. We tend to get angry, not because they are messing up their own lives, but because they are messing up ours.

We get captivated by our own plan, and we tend to lose sight of God’s.

We begin to think of our children as agents for our happiness, rather than remembering that we are called to be God’s agents of growth in godliness for them.

…If we are ever consistently going to see problems as opportunities, we need to begin with humble confession of our selfishness to the Lord.

Tripp gives lots of practical ways to partner with your teen to engage them and you in Christ-like character growth:

  1. Don’t wait around passively for your teenager to talk to you
  2. Don’t settle for non-answers
  3. Be positive
  4. Lovingly expose faulty thinking without making your teen feel stupid
  5. Become a partner in struggle by sharing your own struggles
  6. Always point your teenager to Christ
  7. Prepare your child to deal with culture in biblical ways
  8. Model the character of Christ

He reminds you to remind yourself of your own struggle with sin.

You’re a sinner. Don’t act surprised at your teenager’s struggle with sin.

...You should expect war. You should come to your relationship with your teenager armed for war, not with him, but with the true enemy (see Eph. 6).

If you are honest about your own experience, you will recognize that the battle with sin still rages within you.

He ends the book with small steps that can lead to big change for both you and your child:

  • Never give in to thinking it is too late
  • Stay calm
  • Demonstrate how the Bible interprets life
  • Be willing to bare your own struggle
  • Identify the voices in your teenager’s life
  • Plan for temptation
  • Make accountability your teenager’s responsibility
  • Be a good listener and a good observer
  • Be willing to overlook minor offenses
  • Always deal honestly with your own attitudes
  • Expect, welcome, and respect differences
  • Look for opportunities to put your teenager in the decision-making role
  • Humbly admit your limits

Bottom line, stay focused on growing the character of Christ in both your teen and in you. It’s a win-win.

We do not want to settle for being fruit pickers when we can be root diggers. Lasting change in our teenagers always begins at the level of the heart.

Not just your child’s heart. Your heart, too.

* * *



Saleslady371 said...

This is great advice and wisdom. Thank you for sharing! Have a wonderful week.

Karen said...

Sounds like an awesome book!

Ginger~~Enchanting Cottage said...

I book marked your post so that remember(not a good quality I have)the name of this book.

Ruth said...

what wisdom this is.. very inspiring!

Nikki (Sarah) said...

Reading that first line "My biggest parenting challenge isn’t my child; it’s me," I knew this would be a great post. The advice here is right and true. ☺

Sue said...

Hi Lisa,
This sounds like a great book, I would love to have had it many years ago while we were rearing our teenage children. I read the advice and it is wonderful advice, even though we don't have teens in our home, some great advice for me as a person.Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for coming by and for taking the time to leave me a sweet comment.

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Where were you when I needed you? smile

Great advice! Wish I would have had some of this THEN!

Elizabeth Dianne said...

Love your new bloglift!

Charlotte said...

I'm glad there are books like this to help parents. Parenting teenagers has never been easy but I think it is harder today than ever in my lifetime. Thank you for sharing the pointers. I know it will help others.

Lisa notes... said...

Yes, I thought the same thing: that the advice really can apply to lots of different relationships, not just with teens. So it's a book I'll keep and hopefully refer back to, even after all my kids are gone.

Donnie said...

Such a lovely post. Mine are adults now with families of their own and without God in our lives I don't know what would've happened. We all benefit so much from Spiritual Sunday's. Have a blessed week.

Michele Williams said...

I wish there was help like this book when my daughter was growing up! She's now 35 years old! Bless you for sharing...

Anonymous said...

This post will encourage many. No doubt about that!!!! Thank you for sharing this.

Barbara H. said...

I think I read this years ago -- I have it on my shelf, at least -- but I need to look at it again. Very convicting!

Rhodema A. Cargill said...

Yes. I have two grown children and two teens. Sigh.

Why do they learn what we didn't want them to see in us? I am my own worst enemy in parenting.

Love all of the Tripp books on parenting. Thanks for sharing.

Dawn said...

This sounds WONDERFUL! Thank you!


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