Shaping Your Teen’s Character Part 7: The Grace/Truth Basics


Remembering that your teen will not always stay a teen can be beneficial. It helps prepare a parent’s mind for the future stage of being a friend and mentor to grown children. Jesus tenderly shared with His disciples that “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). He said that was possible because He shared everything with them that His Father had made known unto Him. Our witness of grace and truth in action will be magnified when parents can practice and promote these five basics of parenting adolescents:1

  1. Love and Connect: Teens need parents to develop and maintain a relationship with them that offers support and acceptance, while accommodating and affirming the teen’s increasing maturity.
  2. Monitor and Observe: Teens need parents to be aware of, and let teens know they are aware of, their activities. This includes school performances, work experiences, after-school activities, peer relationships, adult relationships, and recreation. This a process increasingly involves less direct supervision and more communication, observation, and networking with other adults.
  3. Guide and Limit: Teens need parents to uphold a clear but evolving set of boundaries, maintaining important family rules and values, but also encouraging increased competence and maturity.
  4. Model and Consult: Teens need parents to provide ongoing information and support around decision making, values, skills, goals, and interpreting and navigating the larger world. This can be done by teaching by example and ongoing dialogue.
  5. Provide and Advocate: Teens need parents to make available not only adequate nutrition, clothing, shelter, and health care, but also a supportive home environment and a network of caring adults.

Five basic points. Ten action verbs. Parenting teens is not a passive calling or occupation. It will require effort and action, dedication and follow through, thankfulness and humility, learning from mistakes and saying, “Oops, I blew that one, I’m sorry.” The Book of Esther challenges us to seek and not avoid “such a time as this.” This time of shaping the character of teens may not always be smooth or without some struggles. We can be thankful for the grace and mercies that are new every day as we enjoy and appreciate our teens in this age of opportunity. 

To view the entire resource, Shaping Your Teen’s Character, please click here.


  1. Rae Simpson, Raising Teens: A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action (Boston: Center for Health Communication, Harvard School of Public Health, 2001).

For Further Information:

Teen Conflicts
Focus on the Family link addressing conflict with teenagers.

Age of Opportunity
Author: Paul David Tripp
This 291-page book uncovers the heart issues affecting parents and their teenagers during the often-chaotic adolescent years.