Resources ideas for strengthening the Will in teens

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  • CrystalN

    I have not done much by way of deliberate habit or will power training in our homeschool. Bible and Biblical standards of behavior have always been an emphasis of course. My kids are good kids, I tell people it is in spite of me not because of me. We are blessed and God is merciful. They are now 11, 14, and 16 and I really want to deliberately help them develop strong wills. As my oldest heads into the world I fear he will be led by desire and pleasure, as he is such a fun loving, easy going guy. Looking for ideas for helping him develop a strong will and good discernment. Any ideas? I just bought him a very nice, readable version of The Holy War. I do have Laying Down the Rails for Children, but I am not sure I could get him to buy into that. He may find it too young feeling. Maybe LDTR for yourself? He isnt really at a place where he feels he needs better habits, so I guess convincing him we all need good habits might be a place to start.  Any ideas?


    Hmm, at his age maybe it could become more of a “What do you think? What would you do?” discussion. Create a list of topics or situations that could come up in his future and talk about one a week. Consider together if there are any decisions/personal rules/goals/plans he wants to set in place so that if he finds himself in that situation he already has decided what to do.

    An example: What does he know about and think about living with someone before marrying them? Yes, I’m going for a divisive topic on purpose, it’s a more effective example. It is something he’s probably never really thought about at his age. You, as an adult, may have strong feelings on this. But can you have a discussion together of why people choose to do this, or choose not to do this? Can you do a bit of research together, or independently before your discussion, about the impact this has on a couple’s likelihood of marrying and staying married, or divorcing? Does it have positive or negative impacts? After studying the issue together, HE can make a decision about what he would choose in this situation. Is he okay with it? Or does he want to avoid this?

    Making a thoughtful decision ahead of time, not in the heat of the moment, is a blessing. It strengthens our ‘will’ because we spend a long time knowing what we plan to do before we are ever in a situation (hopefully!).

    This doesn’t have to be a big topic, but it can be. Other examples: Is college important to him? Or a trade school? Does he want to travel as a young adult? What is an appropriate amount of time to spend on a hobby, or a screen, or a job? If he makes a decision related to one of these, are there related things he may want to do? For example if he decides he wants to travel he may want to start saving now, get a passport, research places to travel. If he decides he is interested in a trade, he can start learning about different possibilities and talking with people who do those jobs.

    Here are more topics: Censoring media/books, active shooter drills, internet safety, school start times, cheating, breaking rules, political parties, dating, military service, impeachment, service, dress codes, child labor laws, vaccinations, sleep.

    A lot of teen ‘will’ is simply bringing to the table discussions and exploring issues together.


    I was thinking more along the lines of Tristan’s suggestions. More of talking points, things he may or may not have thought about. What are his thoughts about them and why.

    We have the Answers books by Answers in Genesis and they bring up things I never would have even thought of. We have had great conversations after reading some of those chapters.

    Now some teen boys would read laying down the rails but I know from knowing my husband in highschool (we go way back, haha), having a brother a couple years older, and seeing my sons growing up, for many guys they want more tangible things, such as projects and hands on, not a book (some do, my son likes to read so I try hard to find books with strong stories that make him think as he enjoys them). So if teaching responsibility, some don’t want to read about it and need more of the cause and effect. In highschool that could be having to juggle a job and school or extracurriculiurs and school and doing well or something  (a privilege is lost).

    I think communication goes a long way. My siblings and I were all homeschooled and we talked about tough subjects often. Open communication and respect as boys grow into men, I think goes a long way.

    The Youngs with Raising Real Men men has some great resources, I would check them out as well.

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