Share what kind of mom you are!

Get to know other mom types!

Should I Make My Teen ________?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

When I was a youth minister, I had more than one parent approach me to talk about a defiant teen. Many teens go through a rebellious phase. They crave freedom and independence, and they often reject the traditions of their parents for the practices of their friends. So what do you do? Can a parent force a child to do something he or she doesn’t want to do? No. But parents can spend time and energy trying.

When counseling parents about their teens, I often suggest that they pick their battles carefully. Sometimes you need to stand your ground, and sometimes you need to let go. The question you have to ask is this: “Should I try to make them do this or might this be a battle not worth fighting?” Here are 5 situations you’ll probably face with your teen and whether to force or be flexible.

1. Should I make my teen participate in a sport?

I once worked with a teen who was an incredibly gifted artist. I knew from conversations with her that she wanted to be an illustrator, but her mom forced her to dedicate a lot of free time to sports. She hated sports. A lot of parents force their teens to participate in sports to strengthen college applications or just to be active. But the truth? Kids can have other passions that are equally impressive on applications. Encourage them to pursue those instead. And as for those couch potatoes, playing a sport is good exercise, but it’s not the only option and it’s not worth forcing just for the sake of some burned calories.

2. Should I make my teen go to church?

As a youth minister, my answer to this question has always been yes. God can work on the hardest of hearts, so even if your teens don’t believe anymore, make them go to church anyway. But don’t tell them it’s because they’ll go to hell or they’ll be kicked out of the house if they don’t. Remind them that attending church is part of your family’s identity and you want them to be an active part of the family. Teens desperately want to belong to something, and even if your family’s traditions or routines are annoying to them, they still serve to reinforce that identity.

3. Should I make my teen attend all family outings and activities?

I once knew a teen who had family game night every Friday. He actually didn’t mind these family nights, but he hated that they were always on Fridays. Because they were nonnegotiable, he had to miss school social events and activities with his friends. While I will be the first person to tell you that family trumps friends, I also think that parents need to be flexible with their teens and include them in the planning process. If your teen has been raised to value family, then he or she will appreciate the opportunity to be treated like a mature, responsible member of your family whose opinion has value.If your teen has been raised to value family, then he or she will appreciate the opportunity to be treated like a mature, responsible member of your family whose opinion has value. Click To Tweet

If your teen has been raised to value family, then he or she will appreciate the opportunity to be treated like a mature, responsible member of your family whose opinion has value.

4. Should I make my teen work while in high school?

I worked when I was in high school, and for the longest time, I was convinced that I would never do that to my own kids. But wisdom comes with age. Part-time jobs teach responsibility, time and money management, and cooperation. They can also offer flexible hours, which is important for teens with busy schedules. But you have to ask why you want your teen to get a job. If it’s because he or she needs to cover the costs of a phone or car insurance, that’s one thing. But if it’s just to teach responsibility and your teen is already learning that through extracurricular activities and studying, a job might just be added stress.

What are some of the best ways you can convince your teen to do something he or she doesn’t want to do?

ASK YOUR CHILD...

Why is it important sometimes to do things you don’t want to do?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Get daily motherhood

ideas, insight, &inspiration

to your inbox!