Teen boy with mom and dad

Parenting Differently Than Our Parents

The relationship between parents and children is a dynamic relationship that changes over time. When children are small, they depend on their parents for all of their needs; food, clothes, cleanliness, etc. As children grow, they begin seeking more independence from their parents. Their developing brains allow them to begin critical thinking, and eventually they are able to decipher between right and wrong. The difficult thing is these children have to be taught how to be independent and how to think critically. With today’s teens is is critical that we’re parenting them differently than our parents may have parented us.

Parents who haven’t emotionally matured cannot raise emotionally mature children. 

As Lysa Terkeurst once said, you don’t know what you don’t know. Now, I fully understand this is a difficult topic of discussion. No parent I know wants to intentionally harm their child. However, it’s important to understand there are zero perfect parents that live on this earth, and where there are imperfect people loving imperfect people, there will be hurt. Give yourself grace for areas you fall short and create space to forgive your parents for what they did not know while raising you. There is hope!

Knowledge is power!

As a Christian counselor for teens, I often encounter parents who want me to “fix” their child. What they’re often not ready to hear is that they are largely contributing to their child’s issues. The parents are the foundation of the household, therefore the children’s emotional wellbeing depends on the parents’. Proverbs 12:1 NIV says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates discipline is stupid.” This Proverbs writer isn’t using “stupid” as an insult, but is acknowledging a lack of knowledge is senseless. A parents’ emotional immaturity may affect their ability to:

  • communicate with each other and their children
  • discipline their child effectively
  • show grace and create room for growth
  • help their child regulate their emotions
  • seek help and suppport

This last one is very important. Parents who wrestle with shame are less likely to seek help because they worry what others will think of them and don’t want to be viewed as “bad parents.” Make no mistake. Satan uses shame as a tool to isolate individuals from those who can help them grow, especially God. We can stand confidently knowing “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). When we walk in Christ, we can begin having conversations with those who may know more than we do, and, in humility, grow to be better parents to our kids. 

Things to Consider

Where do I find my worth?

Am I looking to my children to confirm I am a good parent? Do I feel defeated when my kids have a bad day or consistent struggle? How can I look to God instead of others for my inner worth?

Am I being triggered when I interact with my children?

A trigger occurs when a current event brings up the fight or flight protective coping response from a past trauma. Do you find yourself losing your cool when your kids yell? Do you feel the need to hide when things in the home get chaotic? If you start to identify you are being triggered, seek counseling to help you process some of your traumas and trauma responses. 

Am I leading my children in their relationship with God?

Part of being emotionally healthy includes being spiritually healthy. We cannot walk in grace or give forgiveness unless we deeply know the author of those things. How can you continue to grow in your own relationship with God?

Do I know how to identify and process my emotions?

Children learn how to express their emotions by mirroring the adults around them. Tantrums are a child’s inability to express the big emotions they are feeling in another way. If you find your child is throwing tantrums at an older age, it may be a sign to reflect on your own ability to process and express your emotions. Be sure to be gentle with yourself. You don’t know what you don’t know.

We Are Highly Trained To Help Both Parents And Teens On Their Emotional Journeys

Kayla Wright is a frequent guest author on this blog. She joined the counseling team at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky in May of 2023. The passion of her counseling work is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of  Teens and pre-teens.

Kayla Wright, as well as each of our other counselors, offers convenient sessions at Life Training Christian Counseling in Louisville, Kentucky. She also offers online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime. Please click on this link to learn much more about how our Counseling for teens and pre-teens in Louisville, Kentucky can help the child you love find the highly-effective, Christ-centered help they need. Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at kayla@lifetrainingcounseling.org

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