5 Tips to Help Teens Navigate Their Busy World

When you walk around the house, it’s probably not hard to see you have teenagers living there. Backpacks in random corners. Coffee tables piled with notebooks. Bedrooms where you haven’t seen a floor in weeks. Kitchen shelves you can hardly keep stocked with food. At least that’s how it is at my house.

If that’s you too, first of all, you’re not alone. Parenting teenagers in 2019 is not for the faint at heart, but God put those teenagers in your home for a purpose—to love and care for them as you help them navigate their world.

On the surface, it appears teenagers primarily eat (pizza, gum, and anything with the word sour in it), sleep (nightly campaigning to push their bedtime an hour later) and go to school (begrudgingly). But if that’s all they do, why do they find navigating their world so difficult? Why are they stressed out? Why do they seem so anxious? Why do they seem so busy all of the time?

Believe or not, research shows that Generation Z is the most stressed out generation ever. The reality is that teens are feeling caught in their schedule, their access to culture, their constant connectedness to the world through technology, and the pressure to succeed. In fact, kids begin to experience these feelings at younger ages than ever, even before they enter their teen years.

Days of rest really don’t really exist anymore. We expect teenagers to act a certain way, maybe because we remember the way we were as teens or because we still see them as children. Often the expectations placed on teens are too unrealistic for them to handle.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, and you have role in that. In fact, the most influential person in a child’s life is a parent. And along the way, you can influence them lean into the power of God to help them navigate the complexities of being a teenager in the twenty-first century.

Here are five things we can do to prepare our kids to tackle anything throughout their busy lives:

Pray for them and with them.

The most important thing you can do for your teen is pray for them. The world they navigate can feel like a battlefield. Pray that God will be their strength through the ups and downs they face. Let them hear your prayers. This communicates how much you love them and are on their side at home, no matter what happens at school.

“You can talk to Me lying down, sitting up, or with arms stretched up to heaven. Your eyes can be opened or closed. I don’t care about the position of your body—I care about the position of your heart. And when your heart is seeking Me, I will hear you.”
– Jesus Calling for Teens: 50 Devotions for Busy Days


Help them find community.

We can’t do life on our own. Help your teen develop strong friendships. Find a church with a great youth ministry and bring them consistently. Make your home a place where your teen wants to hang out with their buddies. Friends are a strong influence at this phase of life. Be sure your child’s friends are pointing them toward the ultimate Friend: Jesus.

“My friendship is practical and down-to-earth. As your Friend, I am always here to listen and to help. Together we will face whatever each day brings: pleasures, hardships, adventures, disappointments.”
– Jesus Calling for Teens: 50 Devotions for Busy Days


Make fun a priority.

As teens navigate life through school and extracurricular activities, they face immense pressure to succeed from teachers and coaches and even parents. When it comes to letting go of stress, laughter really is the best medicine. Make fun a priority during their teenage years, because adulthood will have enough pressures for a lifetime. Yes, help them accomplish goals, but make sure they’re having fun along the way!

“Don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s okay to make a mistake. Everyone stumbles and falls. Everyone does something embarrassing sometimes. Learn to laugh at yourself, and don’t worry if other people laugh along. Besides, you have Me on your side, so what are you worried about?”
– Jesus Calling for Teens: 50 Devotions for Busy Days


Be the encouraging voice in their life.

The world is filled with voices trying to define how we see ourselves. This is especially true of our teens. Voices from pop culture. Voices from friends. Voices from teachers and coaches. But even though it doesn’t seem like it, a parent’s voice is still most important to them. Be the voice that reminds your teen how God defines them: His beloved child, created in His image, who has what it takes to accomplish His purpose for their life.

“Ask My Spirit to help you hear My voice above all the others. Listen closely to what I have to say, and then follow Me wherever I lead.”
– Jesus Calling for Teens: 50 Devotions for a Thankful Heart


Allow them time to rest.

The pace of the teenage life can be nonstop. Going to school, participating in extracurricular activities, hanging out with friends—not to mention fitting in homework and studying somewhere along the way. This pace of life will wear on them at some point. Before that happens, make sure they’re scheduling time to rest and rejuvenate. Help them learn to find peace in the only One who can give true peace for their busy life.

“Stop trying to figure everything out, and hang out with me. I created you to need rest. Not just the kind of rest that comes from sleeping, but the kind that comes only from spending time with Me—rest for your soul .”
Jesus Calling for Teens: 50 Devotions to Grow Your Faith

Parents, your role is crucial when it comes to helping your teen navigate their busy world. You may wonder if they’re listening. You may question if anything you say is having any impact on them right now. Please be assured: what you do matters.

When we step into their messy world and love them unconditionally through these formative years—even if we don’t get it right all the time—our kids will know they have someone on their side who loves them, no matter what’s happening. Our homes will be a place where they can take a break, find a place to breathe in the middle of their busy world, and find peace in the arms of their Heavenly Father who loves them beyond anything they can imagine.


About the author

Daniel Scott author of Jesus Calling blog on teen relationshipsDan Scott has been working with kids for over 20 years as a teacher, pastor and communicator. He is passionate about engaging the hard-to-reach preteen age group and is the author of Caught in Between: Engage Your Preteens Before They Check Out, which offers the latest research findings on preteens. Dan and his wife, Jenna, live outside of Atlanta, Georgia with their four children. For more information, please visit www.caughtinbetweenbook.com. And if you unsure of how to move forward and support your preteens through one of life’s most challenging times? Take Dan’s Preteen Engagement Assessment, here.

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