Today we cover the final chapters in our Shepherding a Child’s Heart book study. These chapters cover one of the seemingly “scariest” topics in parenthood – teenagers! Tripp basically builds on the principles laid out in the previous chapters. Many people cringe when they think of their children entering the teenage years, but Tripp says this need not be so. Parents often seem surprised when their teen rebels, but Tripp points out that often the seeds of rebellion were already present in the younger years. It’s just that as the child grows, he or she realizes that Mom and Dad are not all powerful and they no longer fear the consequences so they begin to act on the rebellion that already existed. This is why it is so important to begin this shepherding process early. A few things that stuck out to me as I read:
Young people generally do not run from places where they are loved and know unconditional acceptance. They do not run away from homes where there are solid relationships. They do not run from homes in which the family is planning activities and doing exciting things.
You can accomplish nothing of lasting value simply by being an authority. You must seek to counsel and influence.
Encourage your children not to run from their questions. Everyone does not have to have every question, but everyone must find resolution for the questions he has. Christian faith is robust enough to stand close scrutiny.
Overall, as I finish up the book, I am reminded that as the children grow older, my relationship with them counts more than the rules I make. I must work to influence them during the teen years, not simply command them. I can set all the rules I want, but what good do those do when the child leaves home (or can circumvent any rule I come up with while still in the home)? He or she needs to be able to think for themselves, and it is my role to guide them in that process.