Milestone Storehouse Parent Resources

Home / Resources / MILESTONE STOREHOUSE PARENT RESOURCES / How Do I Parent My Teenager when they Question their Faith?
Spiritual Growth

How Do I Parent My Teenager when they Question their Faith?

Remember when your teenager was a child and had a question? Most questions were never simply answered but followed by a long string of “Why?” until you were too exhausted to further explain the mysteries of the universe before bedtime. Now that your child has hit the adolescent years, some of those familiar questions of “Why?” begin to work their way into so many conversations, but this time something is noticeably different. When they were younger your child needed information. Now they are looking more for interpretation. In other words, they are looking for ways to process the information they have learned which will often lead them to questioning things you thought were settled in their mind. If your teenager is doing this, don’t worry. In many ways this is a normal process as their brains develop and mature. Your child is moving from concrete thought alone to being able to handle abstract thinking and questions. Sometimes those questions cause parents to become uneasy, insecure, or even scared. 

Always consider the tone of your teenager’s questions. It may be that they are showing remarkable vulnerability into their hearts and you should be thankful for that. Aren’t you glad they feel comfortable enough to ask these questions now rather than later in a college classroom? 

If their questions turn to arguments and battles over who is right and wrong, their questions may reveal that your teenager is not doubting their faith as much as they feel emotionally disconnected from you. You can engage this issue relationally more so than framing arguments. 

Here are a few tips that will help you navigate difficult questions, especially about their faith:

  1. Create a Safe Space – Teenagers will no doubt bring a wide range of issues and emotions to the table with a parent they trust. You can encourage healthy conversation by listening well and avoiding an overly emotional response. Instead, ask good questions and invite their thoughts. You want them to be able to talk to you about anything. The key here is to listen really well.

  2. Turn Questions into Prayers – After hearing from your teenager, you can take their questions, your concerns, and all the emotions that are involved to God in prayer. God is not afraid of questions and you can better engage challenging thoughts from your teenager when you have been seeking God’s help for strength and wisdom.

  3. Talk to Someone – Talking with another parent or someone you trust who has spiritual maturity can provide wisdom because they can often see the conversation from a different perspective. Be transparent with them about your fears and concerns. They may provide the encouragement and direction you need to better engage your teenager.

  4. Work Together – This can be a great opportunity for you to dig into finding answers together with your teenager. Look up resources, read a book, or listen to a message that can equip you both. You can grow in your walk with God and relationship with each other. When you lead your teenager to discover the truth found in God’s word you are helping them move beyond learning information to interpreting that information. This will help them to practice discernment in the future as they take ownership of their faith.

You don’t have to dodge the hard questions. Step in and lovingly turn your teen toward the Lord, His Word, and pray He replaces fear and confusion with faith and clarity.