Several months ago, I was given a resource, Top 10 Things Today’s Teens Want, during a Sunday school class for parents at our church. Granted, I’m not the parent of a teen (yet), but knowing how quickly time flies (my oldest just turned 9!!), I made a note to save this list and have started trying to put several of these tips into practice even now, and I wasn’t surprised to see that many of the items on the list are applicable to kids of all ages.
10. Kids want to meet your expectations
As a parent, you are modeling accountability to your kids. Kids need to know what you expect, and they want you to hold them to those expectations.
9. Kids want to feel your hurt
When life isn’t going your way, don’t be afraid to show real emotion in front of your kids. Show them how to handle their emotions within the context of real life – be in control of your emotions, but don’t hide them. You are modeling authenticity for your kids.
8. Kids want to know you care
Sometimes in my attempts to keep life on course and moving forward, I forget to stop and empathize with my kids when they’re struggling. I need to remember that I am modeling compassion to my kids.
7. Kids want to see you read (& apply) God’s Word
This is one that I cannot stress the importance of strongly enough. My kids need to see me in the Word of God and applying it to my daily life. If all they see is me talking about how they ought to live according to Scripture as we study it together as a family, but they never see me studying it and applying it in my own life, I am no better than a clanging cymbal. Parents ought to be modeling the importance of God’s Word to their kids.
6. Kids want to hear you pray
I am often guilty of letting my kids be the ones to pray when we pray together as a family (especially at meal times). While it’s important for them to have an opportunity to share in this corporate time of prayer, it’s just as important for me to be modeling dependency on God through prayer for them. I need to teach them how to pray, and they need to hear me pray for them!
5. Kids want you to let them off the hook
Does this mean you let them get away with anything and everything? No, most definitely not! But it does mean that you are to be modeling grace to them. You must show them what God’s grace looks like in the every day. [I highly recommend Grace-Based Parenting as a resource for learning more on this topic.]
4. Kids want you to admit with you’re wrong
As a parent, you are to be modeling forgiveness to your kids – not only forgiving them when they’ve messed up, but going to them and admitting your own shortcomings and asking for their forgiveness. Kids need to know that their parents aren’t perfect – that they are in need of a Savior, too. Don’t be afraid to ask your kids for forgiveness!
3. Kids want you to be a parent, not just a friend
Our culture seems to have the parent/child relationship really out of whack – too many parents are trying too hard to be their kid’s friend instead of being a parent. We need to model Christ-like parenting to our kids, teaching them to respect authority through discipline and discipleship.
2. Kids want you to love your spouse
If you’re married, your kids need to see your marriage be the human relationship with the highest priority. We are modeling marriage for our kids, and we need to represent true biblical marriage to this generation. My kids might be “grossed out” when I kiss my husband in the kitchen, but it’s good for them to see us loving one another in the every day moments of life.
1. Kids want you to love Jesus above all else
Kids need to see you pursue Jesus with your whole being – not just talking about the fact that He saved you from your sin, but truly pursuing a growing and vibrant relationship with Him. As you grow in your relationship with Him, you are modeling Jesus to them.
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(This list originated from a resource provided by Pastor Matt Thompson of Redemption Church in Grand Rapids, MI.)
original image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/petukhovanton/16008827304