Last Updated on June 22, 2018

  1. Hide your past mistakes. Put on an act that you’re perfect and they’re the ones with all the problems. (After all if your teens hear what you did in your past, they might want to follow.)
  2. Don’t worry about where they are going and what they are doing. You didn’t want to be hounded at that age. You didn’t want to be asked all those questions. Instead, trust they know how they should act and where they should go.
  3. Don’t worry about them getting a summer job and having to work to make money. Teens are only teens once. They need time to have fun with friends and relax. There will be time to work later. They don’t need to worry about a work ethic now.
  4. Don’t force them to attend church and youth group. Things are already touchy — you have to hound them about homework, about their friends, and about their clothes — don’t make church another thing you hound them about.
  5. Don’t worry about talking to them about sex and purity. You’re their parent, for goodness sake. You don’t want to bring the subject up and have them thinking about you having sex. And you don’t want to think about them in their sexual lives. There are other people more knowledgeable and trained to talk to your teens; leave it to them.
  6. Shelter your teens from the outside world. Kick the television out of your house. Make sure they don’t watch secular movies or listen to secular music. Hide the newspapers, too. Their “world” should only be about your family, God, and your service to Him. They don’t need to learn about all that bad stuff out there. They don’t need to learn to deal with it or make wise media choices.
  7. Tell them, “Do what I say, not what I do.” Make them accept the places you fall short, but train them to do better.
  8. Buy your teens whatever they ask for. That’s your role as a parent—to make your teens happy.
  9. Don’t let your teen get involved in an oversea’s mission trip. There are all types of scary things that happen on those trips, and your first priority is to keep your teen safe.
  10. Don’t become your teens’ sounding board. They’ll need to learn to figure things out on their own in the future, so they might as well start now.
  11. Don’t share with your teen how important God is in your life. A personal relationship with God is personal, and it should stay that way.

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  1. Kim Ochsner says:

    This is awesome! Thank you for sharing and for the encouragement!

  2. Shannnon @nwaMotherl says:

    Love this, Tricia. I'm not there yet, but my day is coming soon…

  3. Julie Coney says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I get the strangest looks from people at church when I let the kids make a choice ( especially one that wouldn't be the one I would make ) and then we talk about the movie or the music after the choice…. and try to relate it to what we believe and want to portray as followers of Christ. It is as if the folks at church think we are nuts sometimes for not sheltering them completely from all things of the world. Sometimes the best lessons learned are the ones where we make wrong choices.

    It is important for us to allow our teens to work through their own relationship with the Lord. We need to remain available, and encourage and disciple them. being a control freak doesn't work. 🙂

  4. Christa Sterken says:

    I have been sharing some details of my past with my 15 year old daughter this week. I dont tell her nitty gritty, but do explain graphically what it is like to lose your innocence and the life consequences that follow you.
    Funny that many people have thought that because we homeschool our kids we are sheltering them too much. I find in our family, that the shelter allows us to choose when and how to address some pretty deep topics. We are trying to teach them that in the end God is with you all the way. THAT is something I wish I had known when I was a teen.
    THanks for the encouragement!

  5. This was very well written, and I loved reading your bio. Sounds like you're a very positive person who doesn't shy from using her experiences to help others. Totally dig that.

    Would like to talk with you more about getting a guest blog out of you for http://www.JustThink.org, if you're interested. Our audience is low income, and includes a lot of young, single mothers.

    Thanks for your writing.


  6. wendy machacek says:

    I have 4 kids and i want to home school them. Which program would be the best to use? I would prefer to have a live person to help with the english. Also need it to be affordable. Please help.

    1. Levi Laubenthal says:

      Hey, where did all the posts go from people who disagreed with point #6? There are many of us out here who have trashed our t.v. etc… And are experiencing the many blessings of our children learning real life with they're parents, in and out of the home.

      We don't need Hollywood or any other worldly media to warp our view of reality. Real life works just fine.

  7. I guess I should have been ruined as a teen because my parents violated several of these tenets and then did things not even mentioned:

    ~My parents never pushed me to get a summer job. I wanted one
    ~My parents never forced me to go to church. I wanted to. My parents never forced me to go to youth group and there were times I just couldn't stand the cliques. It was no big deal.
    ~My parents never would have paid for me to go on an overseas mission trip and I never did.
    ~My parents never shared how important God was in their life: They did things like family devotions after dinner every night and prayed with me and prayed for me.

    I must be RUINED. Absolutely RUINED.

    The very very sad thing about articles like this, which I *know* are written in jest is that I know many parents who have done *all* of these things and their children are not walking with God. This is not an insurance policy.

    And, sadly, this list could be given to any one of my Mormon friends and they would not learn a lick about the gospel in it. They would embrace it!

    I felt utterly burdened reading it. Utterly. And as my husband and I read it, there is NOT ONE of these things that we don't do. But I have no confidence in any of them or all of them together. Only that the Lord will take out their hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh that He will convict them of sin, of righteousness and of judgment and that they would repent of their sin and hate it and love Him and His ways. Most people who look at our kids would say they do that. They see them at church (and my kids LOVE church, they LOVE Bible study –and it's with the adults) and hear them answer questions (again in the adult Sunday school class) and see how eagerly they listen to the pastor. My husband and I know. We know the traumas of before we adopted them at 7 & 8 and we know that trust and faith are hard for them.

    Lists like this exhaust me and give empty promises. Where is the list of praying for our children, of reading the Word to them, of teaching them the Westminister catechism or the Belgiac Confession or Heidelberg catechism. This is all law…law….law. No hope of the gospel. No realization that none of this ever gave life.

    This list would not work for believers in North Korea or believers in Sudan. Overseas missions trip? Pulllllleaze! Summer job? Pullllllllleaze.

    Give me a list that is verifiable in the Word of God and I will listen.

    Saddened utterly.

    1. I am in total agreement with you! I'm saddened by this bogus list. I'm a Christian but I'm NOT someone who pretends to be better than others. This article to be says if you don't this you are NOT a good parent. Hogwash. Many people hide behind religion and this to me is hiding. Our children know the Lord, they have since they were very little. We do not attend Church every Sunday and I do not think that makes us any less of a Christian! Values are instilled and always will be but making them attend Church I do not find necessary. Its all about how you life your life and the example you give them. I see many people "pretending" at Church. Its a lot more about who and how you are outside that building.

    2. Fuller Ming says:

      I am a father of a 14 year old – she just turned 14. I think that if we take the list literally or legalistically, then yet, it is a sad list, especially with the title. HOWEVER, I’m sure Tricia Goyer is simply being humorous. Even so, if you can extract some parenting principles which are biblical and do transcend cultures, then you get the point of her humor. Let’s not make ourselves guilty or create a false causality based on humor. Maybe the problem here is the nature of sarcasm, which should be used carefully to avoid such misunderstandings. Anyway, a few of the principles I extract from the list are:
      1. Stay involved with your children, even when they are teens
      2. Be a parent, not a best friend – but don’t be a mean, controlling, over-bearing parent.
      3. Don’t be a hypocrite (see note below)
      4. Be an example (see note below)
      5. Teach appropriate responsibility and help your children accept that responsibility – This may include chores, school, working, community involvement, civic engagement, ministry, helping siblings, or other things. But consider the child’s bent/character/personality.
      6. Don’t be afraid to create or allow tension, stress, or conflict in your child’s life. Real life includes such things and they need to learn how to navigate it. (Also, see #4)
      7. Be appropriately honest with your children. They don’t need to gory details of your sins and failures, but it is sometimes helpful to explain with a real life personal example that you are not perfect. This also includes basic appropriate interactions with your children such as apologizing when we mess up, loose it emotionally, or make some other mistake that impacts our teenage child (or anyone else that may be affected by our errors)

      Note: Regarding #3 and #4, it is true that your children will ultimately make their own decisions – good or bad – but your example should be a godly one, to the best of your ability.

  8. Trish Preston says:

    I can see the point in some of these, but I don't think there's a "checklist" of do's or don't's that will guarantee a great kid. Life is made up of choices, so ultimately, if our children learn to make good choices, but don't make those good choices, the end result will not be the same. It's their choice to follow God, their choice to live their life as they do. All we can do is trust God and follow His Word and pray for them to make the right choices. Right?

  9. Forcing kids to go to church when they are teens is wrong if they do not want to.