5 Boundaries Every Teenager Needs (For Parents)
As a young guy who works with students daily, I am so burdened for all that our teenagers are facing. As I try and help students navigate all the temptations of this culture, I am constantly reminded how important parents are in a teenager’s life. One of the toughest jobs as a parent is setting boundaries for your student. But the boundaries you set today will set up your teen for spiritual success tomorrow.
Here are five boundaries every student needs:
1 - APP BOUNDARIES
I am 23 years old and I still don’t know all the apps students are using. But as a parent, you need to know exactly what is on your students’ phone when it comes to the applications they are downloading. A good rule of thumb is this “does this app give my student virtual privacy?” No I don’t mean “is their information safe from hackers?” What I mean is, does this application allow my student to share private information. If it does…just go ahead and hit delete. Because in the app world, anything that protects a student’s privacy will endanger their innocence. And innocence is something you can’t get back. Protect it parents.
“Anything that protects a student’s privacy will endanger their innocence”
A couples apps I would never let my kids have is SnapChat and Kik Messenger.
2 - COMMUNICATION BOUNDARIES
“There is no late night conversation at 4:00AM that is helpful for your teen’s holiness.”
There is no late night conversation at 4:00AM that is helpful for your teen’s holiness. Not to mention, the last thing you want is your 8th grade boy browsing Instagram hashtags and sending Snaps in their bed at night. My practical advice is for parents is to shut the phone off and make your students put it up at a curfew.
I know your student needs their phone for their alarm clock, but a $10 old school alarm clock from Target cost ways less than what your son’s sexual purity is worth.
3 - SEXUAL BOUNDARIES
I really believe that many parents assume their teens know what proper sexual boundaries are. Parents will talk to their students about sex, but will never have an open dialogue about oral sex, masturbation, pornography, making out, and homosexual feelings. These are things that must be talked about so you as the parent can explicitly set the boundaries.
If we as the church, and you as parents, don’t have real conversations about sexual issues, then we can’t expect our students to not try and figure it out on their own.
4 - RELATIONAL BOUNDARIES
The moment birthday parties stop happening at Jump Jam, and start happening in cool dark basements at a friends house is the moment you need to set a boundary. We can’t expect our teenagers to have spiritual strength to go to a party, where guys and girls are present, and not make STUPID decision. So here are some practical questions I would ask before letting your student go to a “harmless” party.
1 - Will the parents be there?
2 - Do I trust that the parents love Jesus more than anything else?
3 - Will your student be hanging out in a place that is above reproach?
4 - Do all of the other students attending have a reputation for loving Jesus?
5 - Do I really believe that this party will help my teenager become more like Christ?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, then it is not safe to let your son or daughter go. Peer pressure, sexual pressure, and the temptation of the enemy is just too strong to simply hope your student makes wise choices
5 - TIME BOUNDARIES
I hear parents say to their kids in high school all time, “you never get this time back.” Often parents say this as encouragement for their students to play as many sports as possible, have tons of friends, go to every social outing, and be part of every society or club that helps bulk up their college resume. Because of this, there are plenty students who have gained the whole world, but have lost their soul.
We must prioritize family time, we must prioritize time for Sunday and Wednesday worship, we must prioritize time for our students to be in a small group or a Bible study, and we must prioritize time for our students to simply just be a kid. As a parent, if you don’t prioritize your teenager’s time, someone else will.
“As a parent, if you don’t prioritize your teenager’s time, someone else will. ”
Don’t let a coach prioritize your students’ time. Don’t let some college recruiter tell you how much your students should be studying. Let God’s word tell you what is important, and protect the priorities at all costs.