Thoughts for Parents of Teenagers #87 – Teach Them How to Suffer Well

Living in a very feelings-oriented culture can condition us to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Our teenagers are no different. When life gets hard, like adults, teens look for the button to push, the pill to take, or the course correction that will make everything good again. Just like many of us, they seek the easy fix to their problems. And without experience and wisdom, they often make poor choices.

Let’s face it, most of the time we don’t want to suffer, and as parents we really struggle when our kids are suffering.

The best way to really prepare them for life is to teach them the biblical truths about handling difficult problems. Here are three important truths.

  1. Pain and suffering (in this life) are inescapable.
  2. Pain and suffering are temporary.
  3. God alone is our source of strength during times of suffering.

Jesus told his disciples “when you face problems” not “if”. Sometimes God brings relief in this life, but like Paul, some of our trials may last for the remainder of this life. The solution is not always trying harder to be a “good” Christian. Many of God’s most effective disciples and followers faced tons of trials. Those trials that we endure strengthen our faith, develop perseverance, and prepare us for more effective ministry.

Don’t focus your teen on escaping or solving every problem. Show them how to suffer well as Christ is walking through the trial with them, and remind them that He has already won the victory for us. The best way to teach these principles is the live them out in front your family when WE face trials as parents and adults.

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

in HIS service,

Pastor Mark

P.S. The blog titles and main ideas come from Walt Mueller’s book “99 Thoughts for Parents of Teenagers”. I personalize and modify the message, and also add Scripture.