Dear Parents,

Have you ever seen that mom that can turn on the tears in an instant to get her teenager to do what she wants them to do, or that dad who has a certain look that brooks no argument whatsoever? Did you have a parent that was able to elicit the desired response from you whether you agreed or not? Are you a parent that can be manipulative or coercive with your teen?

Parents will often tell me that they just want what’s best for their teenager. And I believe them. But, unfortunately, so many parents go about it the wrong way. They try to control their teens instead of guide them. And there is a very big difference!

Guiding them teaches your teenager the power they have in making a choice. It teaches them that they are responsible for any consequence that may come with their choice. Trying to control them through manipulation only pushes the growing young adults far from the wise choices we are so desperate for them to embrace.

Take a moment and ask yourself this question. “Do I control or guide my teenager?” And be very honest in your answer!

The great thing about this is that it is not too late to begin again!

Check out this month’s video that focuses on how we guide our teenager without controlling them. I hope this is a help to you!

The difference between controlling and guiding your teenager is a pretty important topic!

It can make the difference between a healthy, growing relationship or a struggling one with your teenager!
Now we know that every teenager is different and needs different types of guidance. But one thing that is the same in all teenagers is their passionate desire for independence. And it often seems that they are constantly, almost intentionally, choosing the opposite of what we think is wise!

I don’t know about you, but that sounds an awful lot like my relationship with God! How many times have you made a decision or choice only to realize God was working in the situation the entire time? But did He ever once force you to choose His way or did He give you the freedom to make your own decision?

The crazy thing about the love of God is that it came first! John 15:16 says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” And that is the very thing we can relate to as a parent! We know that same kind of love when it comes to our teenagers. And the way we choose to love God back is by humbling our free will to His will. We don’t always do it, and neither do our teens.

Here are a few ideas that will help you guide your teen and not control them.

  • Agree on a signal that your teen can use when they feel like you are trying to control them. But you both have to be willing to listen to the other persons viewpoint!
  • Don’t try to rescue them from the natural consequences of their own choices! That’s a really tough one!
  • Make sure that always know that your love is not dependent on their decisions. You will always be there for them.
  • Know that you won’t always agree with your teen’s choice. And they shouldn’t ask you to!
  • Recognize when you need to step in to a situation that your teen is not equipped to handle. Prayer is absolutely necessary for discernment.
  • Just remember that your teenager is becoming an adult and you are the best one to parent them through this.

Otherwise God would never have chosen you to do it!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • Controlling and guiding are two very different things! #remember
  • Ask your teenager’s opinion on what they think the difference is!
  • Agree on a signal that allows your teen to tell you they feel they are being controlled.
  • Our free will is our greatest gift to Him!
  • Don’t rescue your teen from a consequence, but let them know you are there!
  • We love God because He first loved us! Do we love our teenager that way?
  • Don’t forget He chose you to be your teenager’s parent! #youcandothis
  • John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…”
    Encourage your teenager today by telling them you believe in them! #biggestcheerleader
  • Your teenager watches you more than they listen to you! #speaktruthwithoutwords

Feel free to forward this email to other parents of teenagers and have them email me if they would like to join our online parenting class.

 If you want to see previous issues you can view them here:

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –