Children grow up so fast! Because of that, they keep us on our toes. It seems like every time you turn around they do something new or ask a question that you weren’t quite ready to tackle. At first you mainly notice the physical changes. Crawling leads to frequent vacuuming and baby proofing. Pulling up leads to coffee tables being cleared. Walking causes steps and cabinets to be blocked. Eventually the development shifts to emotional changes in the toddler to lower elementary season. We spend our time teaching kids to share and comforting them through disappointments or owies. We also get to rejoice with them when they conquer a fear or accomplish a new task.
Then comes the pre-teen and teen years where they start to navigate their thoughts and opinions. This new season has brought me to my knees in prayer more often than all the other three. To clarify, my kids are amazing. They are a joy and a delight! They are obedient and love the Lord. We really have it easy. What has brought me to my knees is the state of the world today and the importance of helping my children form a solid foundation before they leave our house. Research shows that a person forms their worldview by age 13. This was a shocker to me. At 13 you really don’t know a lot about life, and even the things you think you know are based on assumptions and other people’s opinions. And yet, by this point most of us will have formed our basic framework of understanding about the world.
As parents it is vital that we don’t passively sit by and allow our children to interpret life and the world around them by themselves. We need to be an active participant in helping them develop their identity and worldview. But how? This question is what brings me to my knees. How do you teach a belief system when you have a hard time understanding it yourself? How do you teach your children answers to questions that you don’t even know the answers to?
I am so thankful for the community and resources that I have been blessed to find as I have navigated the preteen and teen years. They have been so helpful as I navigate the unknowns and do my best to lead my children to the truth about life and about themselves. Today I am going to share 3 of our favorites with you.
Axis’ mission is to “connect parents, teens and Jesus in a disconnected world.” They give parents and mentors hope by being our guide through culture into conversations around Jesus.
You guys, this is an AMAZING resource we have loved for years. They do a great job of taking the HARD topics and breaking them down into bite sized conversations. Their goal is to equip you as the parent to have the difficult and complicated conversations with your teen. It is all about connecting with your teen, understanding their culture and leading them to Jesus.
Here are three aspects of this ministry that I want to highlight:
- Culture Translator: This is a FREE weekly email highlighting the top 3 things going on in culture that week. They answer the questions of: What is it? How does it affect your teen? How do I talk with my teen about it? It helps keep you up to speed with what is going on in their world. It is definitely worth subscribing to!!
- Parent Guides and Conversation Kits: This is part of the AXIS Membership-(It costs). Each guide or kit focuses on one topic. They dive into the topic and explain how it is viewed in today’s culture. Then they help you navigate how to have a conversation with your child about that topic. All the conversations point to Jesus and how to see things through a Biblical worldview. (If you subscribe to the Culture Translator sometimes you get access to free Parent Guides to try them out.)
- Summits: These are by far my favorite part of AXIS. They happen 2-4 times a year. Axis pools together the experts on many different topics and have them give a 20-40 minute talk on their specific topic. Typically it is a 2-3 week FREE online summit. They release about 3 talks a day and then you have 2-3 days to watch the talk before they become unavailable. If you purchase the pass you get to keep the talks and watch them whenever you want. An Axis membership also gets you unlimited access. This is where I have learned so much on identity, gender, race, sexuality, prayer and faith in our teens. (A lot of this stuff I didn’t have to deal with when I was their age! So I have to learn about it now.) You also learn about different experts and resources that are available to you if you want to explore a topic deeper. TODAY is the start of the next one. This one is unique in that it is the first one to focus on Spiritual Growth instead of the hot topics in culture. It runs from March 9th- March 24th. Sign up today to check it out!
Dr. Meg Meeker is a practicing pediatrician, mom, writer, teacher and speaker. Her goal is to “equip parents and children with the tools necessary for health and happiness.” She wants to “help strong parents build strong children for a brighter future.”
Both Nathan and I have learned so much from her books! We appreciate her insight on how God made boys and girls different on purpose and for a purpose. She helps each parent understand their child in new and deeper ways. In her years of experience she has researched and observed what children need from God and from their parents. She calls this out and equips parents to play their role effectively and lovingly.
Here are the Books we have learned from: (She has written several others we have not read, but I am sure they are excellent!)
- For Moms: The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose and Sanity
- For Dads: Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need
- For Dads with Daughters: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know A MUST READ per Nathan!
- For Moms with Daughters: Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy and Safe
- For Parents of Boys: Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons
- More: She also has a website full of blog posts, podcasts and resources.
Dannah Gresh’s mission is to encourage women of all ages to live in the freedom Christ died to give them, to equip them to heal from pain in their past and to experience a vibrant purpose-filled future. One way she does this is by bringing moms and daughters closer to each other and Christ through her ministry called True Girl. She joined with her husband, Bob to start the ministry Born to be Brave where they help dads connect with their sons in ways that are not awkward and discover the simple things you can do to go from being an active father to a strategic father.
These hands down have been the best resources I have come across for raising tweens (8-12 year old) and early teens daughters. Her books, Bible studies and shows have made a significant impact in my relationship with my daughters and have set us up for successful and intimate conversations about modesty, identity, boys and sex. While her boys ministry is quite new I am excited to have my husband dive in deeper with my boys as they reach this stage.
Here are our favorite resources so far from them:
- Parents of Early Elementary Kids: These are great books to help you understand what is to come and how to get ready for the teenage years. Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl: Guiding Your Daughter from Her Tweens to Her Teens and Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy: Guiding Your Son from His Tweens to His Teens.
- For Tween Boys: This guide helps a boy navigate puberty and learn what it means to be a man. We recommend using it as a conversation guide between a boy and his dad. It’s Great to Be a Guy!: God Has a Plan for You….And Your Body!
- For Tween Girls: Dannah’s tween girl books are meant to be used for mother and daughter date nights. Some of the books we have read cover to cover. Others I have chosen different chapters to use as a guide to discussing different topics with my girls. We loved It’s Great to Be a Girl: A Guide to Your Changing Body and the mom companion book Raising Body-Confident Daughters: 8 Conversations to Have With Your Tween. Other books we have used for conversations is 8 Great Dates for Moms and Daughters:How to Talk about True Beauty, Cool Fashion and Modesty! and Talking to Your Daughter About Best Friends and Mean Girls She has several others which cover different topics and has fiction books for girls to read.
- MUST READ for Tween/Teen Girls and Moms!!!! This next resource is hands down one of the best studies you can do with your daughters. I recommend it for ALL women young and old!! Lies Girls Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free and the mom companion guide: A Mom’s Guide to Lies Girls Believe and The Truth That Sets Them Free There is also an Online Video Bible Study to go with the Books. If you have an older teen, her version is called: Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free If the mom wants or needs a little deeper knowledge, her book is Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free
You guys – raising kids is hard! Life is so different than when we were kids and it is still rapidly changing even now. There is no way you can have all the answers or even know all that is going on. These are some of the resources we currently are using to raise men and women who love the Lord and follow in His ways. Check them out and see which one would be a good fit for you today. Start with one and see what God does when you willingly learn and engage in your child’s life!
Share your favorite tween or teen resource. We are always looking for more!