A Christian's Guide to Teen Identity Crisis
Crisis Is a State of Being. It Starts in Your Mind.
As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our children to renew their minds daily. To help them recognize that the strength that they need comes from within themselves. When you do that, you are showing them that life is not about the external but about the internal. You are showing them the relationship they have with the Christ that can do all things and whose spirit lives within them.
Know Your Word
The most important thing you will do as a Christian parent to help your teenagers through identity crisis is to know the word of God. Identity crisis creeps up on your teenagers quickly. It takes the form of self doubt, rejection, depression, insecurity, fear, anger. The more rooted you are in the word of God the quicker you will be in countering the affects of identity crisis.
Keep Watch Over Your Children
Keep watch. Be vigilant. Understand that you are there to safeguard your teenager but not smother them. You have to be able to watch over them while keeping a safe distance. Easier said then done, some would say. However, being a Christian parent requires you to know that God will protect your teenager when you are not present.
I know it is not easy. Being a parent myself having parented a teen I know full well the challenges of keeping watch while maintaining a safe distance. You keep watch over your children in prayer. God is your co-parent. When you are able to release them into God's care you have peace to handle the bigger things that come their way. Keeping a safe distance means being far enough to watch them but close enough to hear them. Remember that they will eventually lead their own lives. They will walk their own journey. If you smother them you run the risk of either pushing them away before God's perfect timing or enabling them to the point where they are not able to stand on their own.
Your teenagers will face trials, tribulations. They will be challenged by their peers. They will sometimes hurt. As a parent you need to be astute as to what to do when those situations that challenge their identity rise up.
I remember my teenager coming home from school one day and telling me that they thought they were fat. You can imagine my surprise when my teen told me considering they weighed less than one hundred pounds soaking wet. My immediate response was to quote Psalm 139:14 I praise you because you are beautifully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I said every time someone says that you are fat I want you to respond by saying that may be what you think but I am marvelous. I am beautiful.
Teenagers go into crisis when they do not know their weapon against the enemy. When you teach them that God's word is more then just words in a book but that they have power you are teaching them how to battle against those things that try to attack their mind, which is where identity crisis begins.
Teach Your Teenager that God Is Their Strategic Plan Against Identity Crisis
Just like you know that you can use the word of God as your sword. You must also teach your children how to use the word of God as their sword. They do not inherently know. You must teach them. When you do this you can then also have the peace of knowing that when you are at a safe distance they have the means that they need to come against the things that might challenge their identity.
What Do You Do When You Do Everything and Still Crisis Comes?
Sometimes you can do everything right as a parent. You can pray. You can keep watch. You can keep a safe distance. You can trust God. But still identity crisis comes into the life of your teenager. What do you do when your teenager comes to you and says:
- I feel confused. I am not sure who I am?
- I feel depressed all the time.
- I am always angry.
- I feel oppressed and I don't know who to turn to.
- I feel rejected. Everyone in school calls me names.
- I feel ugly. I am not as pretty or as handsome as everyone else.
As a parent take time to really hear what they are saying. Reaffirm your love for them. Help them see what God has to say that comes against their identity crisis. Keep them always in prayer. Trust God.
I trusted God when my teenager came to me. When my teen said "I am confused. I don't know who I am". I reaffirmed my love for my teenager. I told them God has made them more than a conqueror. That they are the head and not the tail above and not beneath. That they are victorious in Christ Jesus.
That was just the beginning of the test. I continued to pray for seven years until God took away their confusion. Always remember that when God gives you a promise he will always complete it. It might not happen right away but it will happen in his perfect timing.
Remember You Are Their Parent—Not Their Friend
What Your Teen Might Say
Mom/Dad I am angry all the time.
What do you think is making you angry? In order to be able to help you I need to understand what is making you angry. When you first noticed that you were angry where were you? Who was with you? Remember that the bible says it is ok to become angry but do not sin. Thank you for telling me that you feel angry all the time. Let's try to get to the root of it so that I can show you how you can try to channel that anger into something more positive.
Mom/Dad I feel depressed.
Thank you for coming to me and letting me know how you are feeling. Let's answer these questions who, what where and why to see if we can get to the root of what is causing you to feel this way. Remember that depression is a tactic that the enemy uses against God's people. Let's try to turn it around so that instead of feeling depressed you are motivated to do the things that God has planned for you.
Mom/Dad am I ugly? The kids at school call me ugly.
I see. Sometimes kids who have insecurities will try to portray those insecurities on kids that are stronger then they are because it makes them feel superior. Now that you know that realize that you are not ugly but that the kid who called you ugly probably feels that way about themselves so in order to feel better they want to make someone else feel bad about themselves. Know that God has called you to be more than a conqueror. Although sometimes kids say mean things that might hurt our feelings. Know that the only truth about who we are is what God says about us. God says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in his image and in his likeness.
Teenagers Are Targets for the Enemy
The enemy does not care who your children are. He doesn't care if they are rich or poor. He doesn't care if they live in a good neighborhood or bad neighborhood. All he cares about is where they are going. He cares about distracting them from the journey that God has carefully planned for them. He cares about being a stumbling block to them, so that they never reach their full potential in Christ to achieve their destiny.
Teen Identity Crisis
Teen identity crisis is the biggest strategy the enemy uses against this generation to distract them from achieving their destiny in the Lord. He makes things that are not godly look normal. The media makes the world look glamorous. If you want to be a supermodel you need to be less modest even though the bible teaches us to be modest. You can be a famous singer but only if you appeal to the appetite of those who thirst for intimacy without commitment. You can be a CEO but only if you never say that you believe in God in public. These are all things that confuse and entice our youth because sometimes we as parents forget to teach them the importance of knowing that when you live a lifestyle worthy of our King Jesus Christ we are entitled to the benefits of a kingdom. These benefits are far richer then what the world could ever provide. The enemy paints them a picture of things that they can attain that our temporal. As parents we need to show them that temporal things will pass but the things that God provides as we walk out his plan for our lives provide us with eternal rewards that will never pass away.
Your Teens Identity Is Founded in Their Knowledge of God
Teach your children the basics. Proverbs 22:6 states train your child in the way he/she should go and when they are old they shall not depart from it. I have always been amazed by God. I believe that he chose these words to serve as encouragement to parents. Many parents are at that point of just hoping that their teenager will remember God. They have done all the right things but their teenager still seems like they are on a crooked path. This verse tells me that even though it may seem as though their path is crooked as long as you as their parent trained them up in the way of the Lord; we have God's assurance that they will return to what they know. They will not depart from the Lord.
I thought that God had forgotten the promise that he made me. I was a parent at the point of no return. I remember praying saying "Lord I have been praying for seven years". I need a sign. I need something. I was in my car driving to work. In that moment I felt his overwhelming peace. I heard the Lord say let your teenager go I am going to meet them out there." I said "Ok God. I am going to let my teenager go and trust you". God turned my teenagers life around in such a way that I didn't even notice it happening. When I took notice I felt this overwhelming joy. I truly understand now what it means in the word of God when it says "The joy of the Lord is my strength."
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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