Whether you’re in the midst of raising teens, you have yet to reach that stage or those times are in your rear-view mirror, most everyone agrees they can be very difficult years to navigate.

As you and I know, being a teenager is rife with challenges – hormonal changes, brain development, peer pressure and cultural influences. Together they created a minefield for us when we were that age. Remarkably, teens today are dealing with so much more.

The culture that we’re living in today is a powerful force that is bombarding our teens with complex issues. They are being told varying and often conflicting messages about who they should be, what they should believe and how they’re to live. It can feel like a tsunami and it’s why we need to help them stand firm in the values and truths of our Christian faith and against the tide.

We know that God is bigger than the culture and we can have assurance that he’ll guide us as we guide our children through these difficult years if we trust in him (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If you’re in the midst of your child’s teenage years or you’re on the threshold of this new phase, I want to encourage you not to lose hope and to believe that God will help you.

Now, more than at any other stage of their young lives, we have a unique opportunity to deepen our relationship with our teens. When we’re able to adjust our expectations, let go of control and trust God that the foundation we’ve worked on over the years will carry them through, we’ll be in a stronger place to be there for them when they have questions, when they face challenges and when they fall short.

You may be wondering how to connect with your teen if you let go of control. Invite them into conversation. Engage with them on doubts they may have or decisions they may be facing. Instead of simply telling them what to do, offer to come alongside them with support, guidance and the listening ear they so desperately need.

Teenagers are in a crucial stage of learning how to be adults and learning how to be independent. They want to be grown up, but they also need our guidance. Above all, though, they crave your respect. When you can respectfully engage with them, they will hear that they have value. They will understand that their ideas and voice have worth. And they will know that their parents offer a safe place to discuss issues, differences in opinions and decisions.

The fact is that, as much as they’re testing their limits with us and practicing their independence, they’re still watching us, listening to us and wondering how unconditional our love really is.

This transition period of no longer a child but not quite an adult is a difficult one for us as parents, but also for our teens. We need to have compassion and empathy for where they’re at, but we also need to remember the value of setting an example.

Our teens are savvy and can easily see through attempts to brush aside their curiosity and their doubts. Instead, I would encourage you to lean in and tell them you can research topics together. By joining with your child in the pursuit of truth, he or she will see the value in asking questions and where they can find trusted answers. Honing their critical thinking is a skill that will assist them throughout their lives.

Having teenagers is a constant learning process and every parent-child relationship will look different, but when we invite them into a new relationship, show them respect and lead by example, we can create a new kind of dynamic that will continue to grow and mature as they grow and mature.

To help you learn more about how to build this new kind of relationship with your teen, we’ve compiled a list of articles, broadcasts and resources that speak into this unique stage of parenting.

From broadcasts on how to help your child navigate these years, to articles on teaching them to use tech well, to resources encouraging them to stand firm in their faith, we want to help you guide your teen in order to set them up for success as adults.

Simply click here to find resources grounded in God’s Word to help you make the most of the next few years with your teen.