If there is one thing I have learned from my years of ministering to teens, it’s that they are craving an environment that provides them with safety and security.  By placing a teen in a loving, nurturing, and secure environment you are much more likely to see him flourish.

Authoritative Community

Your teen is no different.  The home you provide for him must be loving, nurturing, and secure.  After working with teens and families from all across America, it has become abundantly clear to me that an authoritative community is vital for the success of any teen.

An authoritative community is an environment that wherever a child turns, in every facet of his life, there is someone in authority to point him to a common moral standard–whether it be the child’s boss, track coach, neighbor, or another parent.  It’s a system of accountability consisting of people of status and authority who have influence in the lives of others.

When I was younger, the American culture, as a whole, was an authoritative community.  For example, if I got in trouble at school I was not only disciplined at school, but my teacher notified my parents and I was disciplined at home as well.  In general, authority was unified as to how kids needed to be raised–including disciplinary measures.

To establish your home as a secure environment, it may benefit your family to first develop a common vision statement, which I’ve discussed in a previous post.

After establishing direction, there are two obstacles you must address to make your home more stable and secure.

Culture: The culture may be your biggest obstacle in creating a secure environment.  Today’s culture does much to promote for your child a very unstable environment.  The byproduct of an unstable environment leads to insecurities, which can lead to addictions, gang activity, compartmentalization of lives and faith, and much more.  Chap Clark writes extensively on this topic in his book Hurt 2.0.

One way to overcome negative cultural influences may include being intentional about developing boundaries that limit, phone calls/text messaging, social media, video games, internet browsing, movies, music, and other forms of media usage.  Music, movies, and TV are often the most overlooked concerns that yield the most undetected, yet connected problems.

In addition, provide an alternative to media such as:  Family game night, eating dinner as a family, hobbies, sports, playing music, devotionals, or small group conversations.  Make your home secure by limiting accessibility to the negative culture influences.

Relationships: A second obstacle in developing an authoritative community is your child’s relationship with authority figures.  Often times your child will develop relationships with authority figures that have opposing views on the important things in life.  For example, your son’s P.E. coach may think it’s OK to cheat; while his science teacher thinks humanity evolved from monkeys.

A practical solution is to place your child in schools and activities in which the authority figures share your views on life.  Also, be intentional about getting to know your teen’s teachers, coaches, and youth pastors to determine their stance on the important issues in life.  For Christian families home school may be the best option.

Creating an authoritative community is a complex process that will require time and sacrifice. In this post I’ve provided you with a starting point.  Identify any obstacles your family may face when creating a secure home.  Once you have identified the obstacles, make a realistic assessment of your home and determine how you will address them so you can provide a safe and secure environment at home.

What are some obstacles your family has faced when trying to develop a secure environment in your home for your child?