Your preteen is embarking on the era of adolescence, when many of life’s choices will be made, and they need you now more than ever. Preteens are unique because, unlike most teenagers, they still invite participation and close friendships with parents—an attitude that will be changing soon. While you have the opportunity, take advantage of this time to make long lasting impressions. Here are five reasons why your preteen needs you:
1. They are laying the foundation for adulthood.
Your preteen is testing the waters of personality, style, and goals. They’re asking questions like, “Who am I?” As a parent, this is an opportune time to influence those decisions. Create thought-provoking conversations to help them work through the answers. Time in the car is a great opportunity to talk about issues that happened at school. And a few minutes before bedtime can be ideal for discussing the troubling questions deep in their heart.
2. They need your discernment.
As your preteen grows, they will explore new ideas and boundaries. As with any testing period, they will be faced with tough choices, and you must teach them how to discern good and bad. When the pressures of the world are overwhelming, they need you there to guide them through. They won’t always want you to tell them what to do. They want to find out some things on their own. But they need to know that no matter what happens, you will be there, just like God is always there for His children.
3. They want your input.
Your child is still young enough to appreciate your interaction, so take advantage of it. As the teenage years approach, your children will start to pull away, and you’ll have to struggle to be a part of their life. Start building a relationship now that will extend into the teen years. That means you have to take time to listen, laugh, and create memories. If that’s too difficult, maybe it’s time to rearrange some things in your busy schedule until these years of opportunity fade away.
4. God ordained you to teach your child.
God set up the family so that His principles would be passed down from one generation to the next (Psalm 78:5-8). The responsibility of guiding your child falls to you, not to teachers, your child’s peers, or even church staff. Maybe mistakes in your past make you feel inadequate to guide your preteen, but you are not insufficient with God’s help and grace. You don’t have to be perfect to be a good parent. You just have to share the testimony of how God’s grace has made such a difference in your own life.
5. They need your unconditional love.
Your preteen is going to make mistakes . . . especially as they grow into a teenager. Just as your heavenly Father extends grace, do the same for your child. When your preteen falls, be there to catch them. Make your home a place where they will always feel loved. It can be easy to see all the things they do wrong. A parent may feel like it helps to point out mistakes, and sometimes it does. But don’t forget to look for the good in your child and praise them for the things they do right. No matter what, tell them every single day you love them and you are glad that God gave them to you.
Copyright © 2019 by Sabrina McDonald.