How do you parent through the transitional teenage years? Your emerging adult can be terrifying. Suddenly, they’re making choices that you wouldn’t make and they don’t want your help making them. So how do you show love during this period? Meg D. Gonzalez – author of Sketchy Tacos – is sharing her testimony from her own teenage years with some ideas for you.
I was raised in a conservative Christian home. I was fairly sheltered growing up, and I was quite honestly fine with that. My parents were (and are) wonderful people who live by example. And throughout my childhood, I followed their example without question.
If they said or if their actions implied something was a sin, it was a sin. Life was as simple as that. Until one lunch with my mother changed it all. I was seventeen, and we were talking about the coming years when I would move away to college when she said, “Well, I still don’t think you should have sex before you get married.”
My world rocked.
Think?! What did she mean, think? Before that moment, my parents had always said, “You cannot have sex before you are married.” I was comfortable with “cannot.” It fit into my neat little world of black and white. But my mother understood something that I did not—one day, my faith would have to be my choice.
To Live Out Love Takes Courage
When I read the call for posts on the topic Live Out Loud, this instance immediately came to mind. With the clarity of time and distance, I can see how much courage it took for my mom to trust me with this decision.
Do you know why so many parents continue to hold on to the reigns of their kids lives and their faiths? It’s out of fear. Fear for the choice their kids might make. Fear their child might not need them anymore if they let go.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)
Too often I’ve seen a tight grip lead to rebellion. But that’s not my story.
You see, because my mom supported and encouraged me, because she trusted me and the many years she and my father instructed me in faith, she let me go and my faith—which had been only a shadow of parents’—became my own.
I dove headlong into the Bible to find the root of these assumptions I’d held for years. And do you know what I found? Waiting for marriage was 100% Biblical and absolutely something I want to (and did) do.
To Live Out Love is to Trust
Because my mother loved me out loud during those teen transition years, my faith became so much deeper and stronger. It’s shaped what I believe — and the fact that I believe — today.
She stepped back and allowed me room to explore my beliefs — but she was always nearby in case I had questions. And I always have questions.
More than eight years have passed since that conversation. Now, I’m married with a home of my own. I’m busy with a job I love writing Christian fiction for teens. My mom’s busy too. But we still get lunch together every other week.
Letting go can be scary. I have no doubt. As the teen, it was scary for me to step out on my own. But I had my parents’ Light to guide me, and it led me to closer to Him.
If you have teens or soon-to-be-teens at home, I encourage you to equip them with the Truth — be it through the Bible, devotionals, Christian novels, youth groups, or summer camps, every kid will be different. And then pray that you will know the right time to take a step back and trust their faith to God.
Support your kids and love them out loud during this transition time when they begin owning their own faith. While there may be some growing pains, when the growth is encouraged (instead of feared), it can lead to truly incredible results.
When Meg D. Gonzalez accepted Alan’s offer of a dance, she began on a journey that pulled her out of her sheltered life and into a big and beautiful world. Living in Mexico for a year showed her a rich culture and varied landscape that captured her imagination, and she just knew she had to share.
The dramatic setting formed the perfect backdrop for the question that plagues thousands of girls graduating high school and college each year: What will I do with my life and how will God fit into it?
Meg loves YA fiction because she believes it can impact teenagers at a crucial stage. Teens are beginning to break from their parents’ beliefs and form their own. They face more freedom and more temptation. Meg believes that fiction can reach them in a way that little else can because it does not preach at them, but instead demonstrates through characters’ actions the rewards and consequences of their choices.
Check out Meg D. Gonzalez’s new teen travel novel, Sketchy Tacos. Explore the relationship between mother and daughter through teenage artist Mila Gulick’s eyes while she struggles to find herself and her faith in vibrant, fun-filled Mexico.
Meg would love to connect! You can email her at meg (at) megdgonzalez.com or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. To get the latest updates, the first two chapters of Sketchy Tacos, and instant access to the adventurers’ and writers’ resource libraries, click here now!