Monday, September 10, 2012

“I want my teen to truly follow Christ, but they don’t want to have anything to do with God and they won’t even open up to me about anything. What can I do?”

Below are some notes from today's show that we didn't get to share on-air.

First we should ask a few questions…

  1. Why don’t they want to follow Christ? Do they have questions? Do they not want to be like those they see at church (perhaps they see a lot of false converts)? Do they feel hurt and are blaming God? Have you sensitively and deeply talked through the underlying reasons—and not just dismissed them with a “read the Bible more” comment?
  2. Are you using the Law to prepare their heart for grace? Don’t aim for a quick decision, aim for regeneration. Don’t give life enhancement as a motive for coming to Christ, follow the apostles and help them see their need for forgiveness.
  3. Why don’t they want to talk with you about life in general? This could be teen rebellion, or it could be more telling that there are some deeper relational issues. Do you offer a listening ear without coming down too harsh on them? Are you demanding? Do you overreact? Do you demand perfection in every area of their life and perhaps come off overbearing? Do you make fun time with them a priority? Do you live your life for Christ—and thus earn their respect or are you closer to looking like a hypocrite? How much quality alone time do you spend with them? How many games, recitals, etc. do you go to? How often to you play video games with them?
    • Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children [drive them to anger]; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
  1. You may be doing everything right… pray! Asking these question is not to say every home problem is the parents fault by any means, but these are healthy evaluation questions to help start treading some water on the topic.
    • Make sure you’re prepared to parent well. We can recommend “Drive by Parenting” by Todd Friel & Ted Trip and “How to Bring Your Child to Christ” by Ray (we have them both on
    • Speak with your pastor. As this is a specific counseling issue, not a general question, there is so much that we don’t know about the situation and it’s hard to give any specific counseling advice.

The best thing you have to offer to your child is your own walk with the Lord. The closer you are to God, the better everyone will be.