My eight-year-old son asks a lot of questions. I mean, A LOT. He didn’t even ask this many when he was four.
Only, he’s not just asking questions so much for the sake of knowledge anymore. They’re more like challenges.
8-12 year olds no longer accept what their parents say at face value, like they did when they were younger. They may push back, argue, or directly question our reasoning and commands. While it can be exhausting at times, it’s actually a positive part of their faith development since it means they’ve grown past blind acceptance and are ready for deeper understanding.
Our kids are seeking answers and unfortunately, if we don’t have them, the world will be all too willing to provide those responses. You should be your tween’s primary source of information, rather than their teachers, peers, social media, and television.
Several years ago, I heard More Than A Carpenter author Josh McDowell give this startling statistic: nearly half of all Americans who come to Christ do so before reaching the age of thirteen (43%). And the probability of a person accepting Jesus as their savior after thirteen? Just 4 percent.
We’d assume that 14 year olds still have plenty of time to come to Christ. But by that age, they have already formed a lifelong worldview. The real work has already been done – at a much younger age.
That’s why we need to equip our kids with a biblical worldview while they’re still tweens. These years are crucial for establishing an unshakeable foundation of faith in them. Our tweens don’t only need to know what they believe, but also why they believe it. Here are some tips to help you do this:
Saturate Your Home With God’s Word.
In Deuteronomy 6:5-7, we find this commandment given to parents:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Verse 7 implies that we should be instructing our children biblically throughout the day. Don’t abdicate your responsibility for your child’s training in Scripture to their Sunday School teacher or Jr. High Youth Group Leader.
Instead of making the Bible something we read together once a day, it needs to become something we live. We should be integrating biblical truths into each of our children’s daily activities, struggles, and school subjects, and providing biblical reasons for why we do what we do.
Get your tween to hide the Scriptures in their heart by having them copy, memorize, and sing them. Use the Proverbs to converse with them during moments of correction. Involve your kids in service opportunities and find a fitting verse for each project.
Most of all, help your child establish his or her own morning devotional time. It’s not good enough to rely exclusively on devotionals, though. Our tweens need the meat of the Word, and a lot of devotionals on the market today are just fluff.
Have them read a chapter per day of the Bible and then write a summary of what they’ve just read. It also helps if they jot down one or two sentences about how they can personally apply what they learned to their own lives. Both of these things will get your tween in the habit of meditating on and digesting God’s Word.
While they’re still developing this routine, offer to get on the same reading plan with them. It’s vital that our kids understand how all those books of the Bible fit together in the larger context of God’s design, so I would recommend a read through the Bible in one year plan to start out with. Set aside a specific time of day to share and discuss what each of you have learned and pray about it. You’ll be amazed after a while at your child’s insight!
Without thoroughly knowing what God’s Word says and how to read it on their own, your tween’s spiritual development will be significantly compromised. They’ll learn to depend on what other people tell them about Christianity, whether it’s true or not.
Read the rest over at Like Minded Musings where I’m joining up with other mom bloggers for 30 days of tween parenting encouragement, and enter the awesome giveaway too!