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How do we as Christian parents help our teens not only survive but thrive during these days? We can't give you a simple guide to get you through everything you will face as a parent, but we can share some principle and pointers that will help.

Pray for Your Children Every Day
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal for fighting the devil on behalf of your children. Prayer makes a difference! God can do the impossible—and He will—when we pray.

Love Your Teenagers Unconditionally
That means you need to love them no matter what—and tell them you love them every day. You won't always like what they do or how they act (and you can tell them that you don't!), but you still love them. And nothing they do or don't do will change that.

It's important that your kids—whatever their age—know there is a difference between what they do (their will) and what they are (their spirit).

They can control what they do, but they can't help what they are. If they think your love is based on what they do, they will always be working to win your love. Unfortunately, they will never feel that they have earned it.

Many parents make the mistake comparing a child's conduct with the child's person. If Mary does what her mother wants, she's a "good girl," and Mother loves her. But if she disobeys, she's a "bad girl," and no one loves a bad person.

It doesn't take Mary long to figure out that she will only be loved if she does all the right things. And since no child—or adult for that matter—is perfect, Mary feels like a failure. She feels unlovable and bad.

One woman who grew up with this kind of thinking explained it this way:

"I always felt that somewhere there was a line, and if I ever stepped over that line, that was it for me. I had gone too far. I had been too bad. My parents wouldn't love me anymore, and even God would wash His hands of me. I would be without hope.

"Unfortunately, I didn't know where that line was. Every time I failed or made a mistake or sinned, I was terrified that maybe I had crossed that line. So I determined to try harder. I would try to be perfect, but I kept making mistakes.

"Finally, I realized it was futile. I couldn't be perfect. I could never do enough to make myself into a good person. So I lost hope. I got angry at my parents, at God and at the world. I was competing in a game I could never win, because I could never be good enough to deserve their love."

True Love Never Changes
That's not how life is supposed to be. As parents, we should teach our children that there is a big difference between what they do and who they really are. We love them for one reason: because they are our kids. And that will never change!

Always make it clear to your teenager that while he may be acting in an unacceptable way, he's still deeply loved. He has personal worth that is unchanged by what he does. He's of value and is loved simply because he's your child and God's child.

This is especially important for teenagers. They feel so pressured to compete, perform and succeed. The world says that money, looks, brains and ability are what give them personal worth, and teenagers feel that they are lacking in most, if not all, of these areas.

But the world is wrong! Its standards are false and unfair, and we have to help our teenagers understand this.

If they feel that they are unconditionally loved at home and by God, they will be better able to cope with a world that judges them unfairly.

Source: How To Raise Your Kids in Troubled Times by Buddy and Pat Harrison
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Buddy & Pat Harrison
Web site: Pat Harrison Ministries
Buddy Harrison and his wife, Pat, were co-founders of Faith Christian Fellowship International Church. He served as president of the organization from 1978 until he went home to be with the Lord on November 28, 1998.

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