Preparing Your Teen’s Heart for Graduation means taking steps to move towards separation while fostering communication. With the right choices, you can equip your child’s heart to transition to a healthy, happy college career.
I’ve been a homeschooling mom for twenty-five years with two college graduates and one child in the process. (I also have a kindergartener and two preschoolers, but that’s a different blog!)
Preparing Your Teen’s Heart for Graduation
My kids did (mostly) awesome in college. They got good grades, made good friends, and blossomed into godly adults. All my kids went to secular local and state colleges, yet their relationship with God grew. Looking back at their teen years, here are some things that prepared their hearts most.
John and I loved having teens. We had dinner nightly with them, we served in church together, and we enjoyed long talks. To do this we had to be open and available. We cut back on our personal recreation, work, and goals to have time with them. This prepared our children’s hearts by proving they were worthy. They had the attention of their parents and didn’t seek it from unhealthy relationships in college.
Two of our teens were involved in homeschool basketball. In Montana, this meant driving hours and hours for one or two games. During this season, our whole family piled into our SUV. We drove them, and we cheered them on. For our son who didn’t play basketball, we also took an interest in his pursuits. Our teens had our praise, approval, and cheers. They didn’t enter college with gaping holes in their hearts that needed to be filled up with substances or risky behavior.
An Open-door Policy
John and I wanted our home to be the one where all the teens hung out. We had an open-door policy. Our house was open for their friends to join us for dinner, for games, or for just hanging out. We made sure our house was teen-friendly and filled the fridge and pantry with snacks. And sometimes their friends came to hang out even when our kids weren’t there! Our children had solid friendships with other godly teens when they entered college. Their foundation allowed them to be friends with unbelievers, too, yet also remain strong in God.
Other Supportive Adults
Our teens had an amazing youth minister’s family who was deeply involved in their lives. They had other caring adults they could turn to for encouragement and advice. We encouraged these relationships, knowing that sometimes it’s easier to talk to an adult friend than a parent. They had a support system that gave their strength for the challenges of college.
A Knowledge of God’s Word and a Deep Commitment to God
Our children were not perfect in college. There were times they messed up. (Like when our daughter performed in a theater production we considered questionable!) Yet when they didn’t want to listen to our advice God’s Spirit and God’s Word spoke to them. When my husband and I couldn’t get their attention, God did! Their relationships with God pointed them to the truth for college and beyond!
What about you? In what ways are you preparing your teens’ hearts for college?
Steps You Can Take in Preparing Your Teen’s Heart for Graduation
- Make time in your schedule for your teen.
- Create a teen-friendly home and atmosphere.
- Encourage your teens to have a relationship with other godly adults.
- Spend time in Bible reading with your teen or provide your teen with the tools for effective study.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for our teens. I thank you for all the ways they’ve grown in you. Please guide me today in having the desire and the time to prepare their hearts for college and all the challenges that come with that.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Preparing Your Teen’s Heart for Graduation and Beyond
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What a timely post!! My son will be 13 this summer and I have cut my hours back at work for over the summer to be intentional in his life. During the school year I only work while he is in school. Your tips are great the one thing I am looking forward to is serving together. Thank you.
Tricia Goyer says
It sounds like you’re doing great!!
Laura Hix says
i love all of this advice. A friend of mine just wrote this blog
http://nblo.gs/XcXzy about 5 things a HS Senior needs to hear on graduation day and then this
5 Things Every First-Time College Parent Needs To Hear http://jwalkergs.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/5-things-every-first-time-college-parent-needs-to-hear-but-probably-wont-listen-to-anyway/
and I added this,
great words of advice. I would expand on the cellphone though, be PREPARED for them to go over their usuage. It’s even a little better if you get their OWN account, so your account is not going over also. Whether you pay the bill or they do. At that point, you don’t jeopardize anything. (speaking from experience with 1000 text messages a mth) first semester there were over 30K (yes I said 30K)…. thank you JESUS for the wonderful lady at verizon that just went through that with her child and backdated for us!!!!
however, one of the BIGGEST things through all of this, is that college is NOT for everyone