Being a teenager is a difficult season of life; Christian teens face the same difficulty. The big difference with Christian teens is they can choose to cling to their faith.
Mary from Butterfly Living is here to impart her wisdom on a very important topic. Grab a cup of your favorite drink, curl up in your favorite chair, and join me as we navigate the crazy world of teens together!
Christian teens must wade through the same enticing and tempting forces at a time when growth and uncertainty are part of the game. They must overcome feeling different while staying connected to God, remaining hopeful and shining their light.
That’s a heavy burden for all of us to carry but without the maturity and growth that comes from a life of following Jesus, it is truly daunting.
It is a challenge to live a hope-filled life in a broken world for all of us, but for a Christian teen who is undergoing huge physical and psychological changes, it is monumental.
Although being a Christian teen is tough it can be a productive passage and serve as the perfect training ground for a life dedicated to serving God.
When I was a Christian teen, it was a stressful and overwhelming season as I weaved through my own insecurities and issues while trying to understand and grasp my own relationship with Jesus.
Doubt was a big part of my life as it is with most teenagers. I struggled with guilt and unworthiness because of questions and doubts.
But since that time, I have learned that doubt is not the grand enemy of our children regardless of their age. It is more destructive to our teens’ spiritual growth to not leave room for them to investigate their struggles and what a life in Christ offers.
Raising my four children, learning to become more comfortable with their doubt was part of the process. I have also realized that Christian activities are important but do not lead to a personal relationship with Christ.
There is no competition to a relationship with Jesus, He wins no matter what is placed beside Him. Our faithfulness and love for Jesus is our best resource for our doubting Christian teen. That confidence helps us find peace in the journey and grace in the waiting for our Christian teen to find their way to God.
“God will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.” Hebrews 6:10-11 NLT
Is Your Christian Teenager Doubting God?
Is your teenager doubting God? Even if they haven’t mentioned it out loud, they probably have some doubts.
I know I doubted and each of my children has doubted their faith. But our prayer can be that doubt will lead them to greater trust in God as it did for Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples.
“Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand here in my side. Stop doubting and believe. “Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “You believe because you see me. Great blessings belong to the people who believe without seeing me!” John 20:27-29 ERV
When I was in High School joining groups and participating in activities was my goal. Being an extrovert, it was a way to meet as many people as possible while having fun and building my college resume.
Youth for Christ was one of the clubs I attended. We met weekly and by my Junior year I served in leadership. It was a big part of my life with a great group of students. I was also heavily involved in my youth group at church. In both groups we met often and did community outreach. It was fun and a healthy way to spend my time.
But I had doubts. On the outside it probably looked like I had it all together as a Christian teen but it was a façade. There was no one in my life to help me sort and filter my problems, questions, and doubts.
As with most personal decisions, it was mine to make as it will be for your teen. It is not our responsibility to choose God for anyone including our children. We must trust the Holy Spirit and the seeds we have planted.
Eventually, doubts led me to seek counterfeits that snatched me away from my faith for 10 years. I sometimes wonder if the climate had existed for me to embrace my doubt as a Christian teen would I have avoided years of pain and struggle.
One complication of a doubting Christian teen is they often don’t want to disappoint their Christian parents, pastors, or mentors.
This problem limits a teen’s freedom to discuss their doubts with the people they trust the most.
How to Help Your Christian Teens Work through Doubt
The first way to help your Christian teen work through doubt is to give them permission to doubt. Provide opportunities for open communication where teens can share the good, bad, and the ugly.
As a parent, it is hard to hear the ugly from our own children. Their fears and problems can make us feel as if we have failed at the most important job we have.
Parents of Christian teens need to keep their own spirits healthy and growing in order to prepare for the onslaught of adversity that comes with parenting.
Here are 5 tips for helping your Christian teen work through doubt.
- Open communication
Create a format in your home where open dialogue is encouraged. Our family had “meetings” to discuss subjects that needed to be addressed. We also met one on one with our children and asked questions without always providing neat answers.
- Freedom to explore their own theology
There are some questions we won’t have answers to until we meet Jesus ourselves. Leave room for your teen to disagree with you on issues that are not completely clear in the scriptures. Point them to Bible verses and other books that answer Christian teen’s questions. Don’t always read it to them or present it as mandatory. Throw it out there and let them dig.
- Surround them with wise people they trust
We have several close family friends that are part of our children’s lives on a regular basis. Many times, we have directed our teens to call a family friend that has experienced the same problem. Christian teens sometimes need to get answers from people other than parents and immediate family.
- Keep them involved in church
When some children reach the pre-teen or teenage years, they often start pushing back about attending church with you. (I don’t fit in, everyone else knows each other, I am too tired.) With four kids and working in youth for ten years the excuses are creative but usually just that, excuses. Help them push through and find a way to keep them hearing the word, serving with others and being surrounded by believers.
- Pray specifically for your Christian teen and for yourself to be equipped and ready to release them
Prayer is our first line of defense with our Christian teen. But we can also become consumed with asking God to change circumstances and lose our way. Pray for your teen but pray for yourself too. We need to stay connected to Jesus as much as our children do.
“Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
Check out these great posts on praying over your children.
5 Struggles of a Christian Teenager and How Parents Can Help
Christian teens struggle with many of the same things most teens grapple with. Teen problems and adjustments can be exhausting for parents to diagnose and address. But helping teens with their struggles is needed and extremely worthwhile. It is important for parents to stay positive while addressing and overcoming teen problems.
But Christian parents have a different end goal than just solving problems until our Christian teens leave home.
We can’t shy away from hard questions if we seek to have spiritually minded adults that love and serve God. Not just because we say so but because following Christ is a life that leads to contentment and eternal joy.
“For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” Romans 6:4 NLT
There are five important questions most Christian teens consider that can have an impact on their souls. Realizing the questions are normal and expected helps us find the confidence and willingness to listen and support them.
5 Struggles of Christian Teens
- Where do I fit in?
Most teens start to wonder where they fit in their families and in the world. Help them discover how God created them; their unique personality and gifts.
- What does my future hold?
There are great assessments to help our Christian teen analyze their future vocation. Parents can help by discussing their future character which will affect every part of their life.
3. Why don’t I measure up?
Giving our Christian teen the permission and room to fail is an important part of growing spiritually. By testing the waters, they can discover what they are good at but also what is not a fit for them. No one measures up in everything. Discussing this fact and letting them experience it is vital.
4. Is God really out there?
It is better for a Christian teen to have a crisis of faith while still at home. Questions about God and Jesus are important guideposts to help parents lead their children to the truth.
5. Accepting my identity
Most people question their identity and purpose. Researching an identity in Christ is one of the most important assignments a Christian teen can pursue.
We don’t have to answer all of their questions but accept that they have them, stay encouraged and equip ourselves with strategies to guide them to Godly answers.
“Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise Him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5 GNT
Being a parent is a privilege and an extremely complicated task. With God’s help, the job becomes a team assignment and not as daunting.
Trusting God with our decisions and with our Christian teens is an important part of helping them grow into mighty warriors of Christ.
When our relationship with Jesus takes center stage and we produce a crop of love it is our best hope to guide our children to embrace their own relationship with God.
We can also pray that our children make the choice to follow Jesus, ultimately the most important decision of their life.
“There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name.” John 20:30-31 AMP
Mary Rooney Armand has been on a life long journey to discover her Identity in Christ and help others do the same, and believes we were all created to live freely and thrive in our relationships and purpose. She created the blog ButterflyLiving.org and has a Bible Study titled, “Identity” available on Amazon. Formerly, she directed a mentoring program for children, Kids Hope USA, and has led multiple mission trips to Honduras. Mary is a life coach and has a Bachelor and Masters degree. She and her wonderful husband Cory live in New Orleans with their 4 children and 3 dogs! Connect with Mary on Facebook and Instagram!