One of the things that I’ve noticed as a mom with teens is the amount of  pressure that teens are under.  Society tells them that  they have to dress the best, have the best grades, or be a part of a particular group of kids or organization.  As a mom and teacher, I realize that we have the power to encourage the unrealistic ideas or foster healthy, realistic ones.   What can we do to empower kids to be all that they are called to be?

One of my personal goals, as a parent, is to maintain a life of honesty.   Many adults stay away from telling kids about their past.  They think that kids will possibly make the same poor choices they did.  But telling them the truth is not enough.  They need to know that you have grown or learned from the experiences.  Remember, just because you shared a particular mistake with them, as well as what you learned doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t go through the same problem.  Ultimately, their decision-making is their own. 

How can we empower kids and teens to live a life of honesty and good-decision making?  Modeling honesty is important for them to see.  If kids live with dishonest parents, then dishonesty will show up in a kid’s life at some point and on some level.  Also, give kids a foundation for their spiritual development.  Kids need to know that there is a higher purpose for their lives and that there is life after death.  It gives them a peace and a hope for their future. 

Communicating with your child or teen on a regular basis helps them feel that they are not alone.  Kids and teens are under a lot of strain these days.  Be their support and someone they can talk to.  That way, when they do have problems, you will be the one they come to.  You may wonder what you will talk about.  Start with your own experiences.  Their may be some surprising common ground that will begin the process of open and honest communication.  

 If you are a parent who is struggling with the past and present, don’t lose hope.  It is never too late to change your course of life.  While forgiving people that hurt us seems next to impossible during periods of your life, hang in there.  Let yourself process the events and begin finding ways to heal.   Being reactive is a natural response to things that surprise us or catch us off guard.  Being angry and bitter can be an initial response and a coping mechanism for many.  However, anger and bitterness can begin to turn into a poison in your life, if you let it. Take the bitterness and anger and turn it into a passion for change.  Surely, we can celebrate the good that sometimes comes from the bad things that happen.

  I am praying for you today, if you are a parent who is struggling with your past and your present. I have been in that place, myself.  It is when we embrace both, that we can see our future in a new light.  Believe me, if I can kick habits, gain new perspective, and develop a plan for thinking differently, ANYONE CAN.