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This topic is adapted from the FLEXTALK YouTube channel. This topic is adapted from the book Boundaries with Teens by John Townsend.

It can be a hard adjustment coming out of the early years of parenting into the teen years, when they become more independent.This forces your parenting strategies to change. Teens are looking to differentiate themselves more from their parents in order to make a name for themselves. This also adds to the challenges of raising teens.

[Related: Parenting Teens]

In the video, Tracy shares some insights into what the struggle is all about with raising teens and some practical things you can do to help make these years less tumultuous.

Video Highlights:

  • There is a real tension between parents and teens. Teens want total independence and parents want total control. It’s important to recognize this tension so you can deal with it well. Parents, your teens need to learn independence. It won’t do them any good if you micromanage every aspect of their lives. They need to increasingly take ownership of their own lives. But it’s also important for teens to realize that they aren’t ready for total independence and they still have a lot to learn. This is where the idea of boundaries can be helpful in acknowledging and dealing with the tension of control and independence.
  • A boundary is your personal property line that defines who you are and who you are not, sets limits, and establishes consequences if people try to control you. It teaches a person to know who they are and how they’ll interface with the world around them.
  • Parents need to set boundaries so their teens have the chance to learn and develop structure and discipline in their own life. Boundaries are a great tool for parents to teach their teen what’s appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Boundaries teach the reality that there are consequences for every action, whether good or bad. When parents have clear boundaries and expectations for their teens, they’re accomplishing their task of coaching their kids along while also teaching them to take responsibility for their actions.
  • It’s important that parents always keep the big picture in mind. Don’t get caught up in the little battles. Remember that you are teaching your teen to be a responsible adult. Choose to focus on the big lessons and let some of the little stuff go.

[Related: The Failing Power Tools of Parenting]

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Describe what it was like growing up in your home. What were the rules, how were they enforced, and what were the main lessons you learned in your home?
  4. What are the main values you hope to teach your kids?
  5. What are your biggest fears of raising a teenager? Why?
  6. In your own words, why are boundaries important? In what areas does your teen need more boundaries? What do you think those boundaries should look like?
  7. Read Proverbs 22:6. What do you think it means that we should train up our kids? How can boundaries help you with that training?
  8. Read Ephesians 6:4. As a parent, do you get caught up fighting over the little things more than the big things? What can you do moving forward to change that dynamic?
  9. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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