You’ve heard the saying “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me,” right?!
I have the most wonderful fun 17 year old daughter. She is bright, funny, kind, loving, and talented. I could go on and on of course. However, in this past year she has made some mistakes in judgement (or lack of judgement is more like it) that caused us to have distrust for her. It’s been sad, frustrating, and shocking to say the least.
As a parent it’s hard to let your child grow up and be independent, making their own decisions – some of them life changing. That’s what parenting is about isn’t it? Teaching our children to become independent of us and more dependent on God?
When poor decisions are made and trust is broken…how do we move on? After consequences are given and boundaries are set in place…what signs do we look for, for true repentance?
Learning to trust your teen again takes time like anything else in this parenting business, but I urge you not to rush in too fast, so that when you are ready to trust again it is with a full heart.
During our bumpy season this last year, it was hard not to grow weary and give in when glimmers of hope of change would emerge but we resisted the temptation to give full trust back where it needed to be earned again.
So what did we do during this rough season?
- First of all we kept our eyes on Jesus not on our child. Does that sound weird? When all hope seemed lost and we were waiting to see changes in our child…we kept our eyes on the One who is the changer of hearts. We claimed God’s promises for our daughter and chose to have faith.
- We disciplined our child. I don’t necessarily mean the exact consequences, but the length of consequences. It takes time for anyone to learn new habits – a month, they say. So not only did we have specific consequences, we made sure that those consequences had time to take root in the heart of our child.
- We took our parenting job VERY seriously. As we were going through this time, God reminded me of Eli and his sons who would constantly sin and defile the temple of the Lord. Eli did nothing although he knew of it…
“For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them.” 1 Samuel 3:13
This burned in our hearts daily and kept us focused on what was truly right in the sight of Lord and not the comfort of our daughter.
Remember those 6 ways we were teaching our teen contentment this summer? Well those were some of the disciplines we chose to work with.
- We forgave her. Our willingness to fully choose to trust again was very dependent on just how much we forgave our daughter.
- We were very careful not to break her spirit. Every decision surrounding this time was prayed through and no move was made without hearing from the Lord.
What were some of the signs that we looked for as parents that there was true change? At first there was simply more rebelling and an angry heart within our daughter, but as time went on, we began to see a drastic change. A change only God could do.
- We began to see a joy again in her heart. Laughing and smiling again.
- She began to enjoy time with her family again.
- She was kind to her siblings and to us, a genuine kindness.
- She turned back to one of her loves and talents…because she felt God wanted her to. Basketball…this was a miracle and could only have come from the Lord.
- She spoke words that honored the Lord and confessed with her mouth that she was now “living for God.”
- We’ve watched as she’s made right choices regarding her activities and friendships.
We are all enjoying a much more peaceful home again and I believe this rough season has passed. It was exhausting, scary and mind blowing.
Yes she is changed and we are changed. Not because we are perfect parents and not because she is a perfect daughter…
But because we serve a perfect and faithful God, that keeps his promises.
Forever humbled and grateful as usual…LOL.
Have you had a hard time trusting your teen?