The Ultimate Secret on How to Deal With a Difficult Teenager

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Would you like to know how to deal with a difficult teenager? There are many little tips and tricks to parenting a difficult teen, but this one secret needs to be at the core of your plan.

How do I know this works?

I have raised two kids–a boy and a girl. They were great kids, but just like any other teens, they had areas in their life I could not change. 

I can’t tell you how much nagging, pushing, and yes, controlling I did when they were teens. And what I got were short term results. Not the heart change I was desiring.

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how to deal with a difficult teenager

After years of frustration, I decided to start praying scripture over my kids.  Specifically, I inserted their names into certain verses to pray directly over strongholds in their lives.

It wasn’t long before I started seeing small breakthroughs and changed attitudes. I couldn’t believe it.

Over time, I started seeing new behaviors in the areas of concern. Miraculously, the changes were lasting.

In this post, I am going to teach you how to deal with a difficult teenager. More importantly, I am going to teach you how to pray.  It can be used for any age, but the prayers I have composed are written with the intent of addressing issues during the ages of 12-21.

FYI: Don’t be shocked or discouraged if things get worse when you pray for your stubborn teenager. I have found strongholds have to break apart before they can be put back together on a solid foundation.

RELATED: How to Pray for Your Kids in Your War Room

How to Deal With a Difficult Teenager Through Prayer

1. Good Attitude

God, I lift up _____ to you, and I ask You to help him to do all things without grumbling or murmuring (Phil. 2:14-15). I ask you to remove the bad attitude and change my teen into someone who is teachable and willing to listen to authority (Phil. 2:3-5).

Please allow the sighing to flee (Isaiah 51:11) so that he will consider it all joy when tested (Jam. 1:2). I pray that all strife would cease, and you would replace it with a humble, contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).

Let joy and gladness overflow out of my son’s heart to the point of it touching other’s lives (John 15:11). I pray for his joyful heart to be contagious within our whole family.

This awesome prayer is how to deal with a difficult teenager.

RELATED: 4 Brilliant Tricks to Stop Teen Entitlement in Your Family

2. Wisdom

God, I ask for _______ to be known for listening to reproof so that she will be counted among the wise (Prov. 15:21). Let her stay away from the wicked whose words are perverse and foolish (Prov. 2:12). Help my teen to surround herself with people who speak wisely so she will learn from them (Prov. 22:17) and not be counted as a fool (Eccles. 10:12).

Let______hear the instruction of her father and mother so she will not be delivered into the hands of those who would oppress her (Neh. 9:26-27). Instead, I pray for your commands to make her wiser than her enemies as she goes throughout the day (Ps. 119:98).

Give _______  discernment to make wise choices when she leaves this home every day (Prov. 14:33). May her eyes and ears be opened to see the truth and remain in it even when others are choosing differently (Prov. 1:10) Help change my teen to see that wisdom is better than strength (Eccles. 9:16).

Deep intercessory prayer is how to deal with a difficult teenager.

RELATED: The Best Way to Raise a Smart Child Who Is WiseEstranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart book.

 Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

3. Work Ethic

God, I ask you to help _______ to be disciplined in every area of his life. Let _____ not run away from hard work so that he will gain knowledge and not be counted as stupid (Prov 12:1). I pray for my son to embrace schoolwork even though it may seem painful. Help him to see that studying reaps a great reward, and it pleases You (2 Tim. 2:15).

I ask that you would send other people (teachers, pastors, etc.)  into _____ life to encourage him to be the best person possible in every area. Don’t let my son run from reproof, but let it be a catalyst to do better (Prov. 3:11-12). God, change my teen to be more like You.

Thank you, God, for filling  _______ with the Spirit of God, skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts (Ex. 31:3). Help me to encourage my teen to find his gifts early and for him to be motivated to develop these skills to the fullest potential. Please let him use these gifts to serve others faithfully so You get the glory (1 Peter 4:10).

I love that this is how to deal with a difficult teenager.

RELATED: Creative Ways to Raise a Strong Daughter

4. Friends

I pray you would surround _______ with godly friends. If there are friends in my teen’s life who are a bad influence, I ask You to remove them from her life or change them to be like You. Let my teen choose her friends carefully so she will not be led astray (Prov. 12:26).

I ask You to remove the scales from my teen’s eyes so she will see the truth about who her friends really are  (Acts 9:18). Let ________ be repulsed when she sees others doing evil (Prov. 8:13). Help her to lose the desire to associate with those who do not follow Your ways.

Do not let my daughter join forces with the wicked, but deliver her so he will not be punished with the others (Prov. 11:21). Change my teen if she is a bad influence. Please change her to be like You so she will lead others into paths of righteousness (Daniel 12:3).

This powerful prayer is how to deal with a difficult teenager.

RELATED: Teen Dating: Best Secrets When Talking to Your Kids

5. Addiction

I come against any addiction that would take root in _________ life. Please help my son to listen to advice and accept instruction so he will not fall into this horrible trap (Prov. 19:20). Keep him from hardening his heart from the reality that these substances will only bring death, not life  (Deut. 30:19).

I pray that if there is any temptation to experiment, You would take the desire away from him. Do not let sin be his master (Rom. 6:14). Replace the desire to please the world with the desire to please You, God (Gal. 1:10).

Change my teen if he has already set his foot in this trap. I pray for You mercy (Ps.23:6). Please deliver my teen from this desire and set him free (John 8:36). I pray my son would no longer live according to the flesh but will live according to the Spirit (Rom. 8:13). Thank you for your complete deliverance in this area.

This is an excellent way on how to deal with a difficult teenager.

RELATED: The Biggest Secret to Raising Boys Who Are Godly

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6. You

Help me to be a blessing to my family and bring forth healing with my words (Prov. 16:24). God, I ask that I do not provoke my teen to anger. Please change his attitude. Help me to guide and direct him in all that is required daily (Eph. 6:4). I ask you to give me the strength to have a good attitude and praise you, God, so I can model this behavior for my teen (Exodus 15:2).

Let me model everything that I am praying for regarding my son/daughter. Help me have the endurance to follow after You in every area of my life so my teen will not stumble ( 1 Cor. 8:9). If there is any part of my life that is not pleasing to You, show me so I can change (Ps. 51:10).

God, I ask you to let me have a good relationship with my teen. Help me to know when to listen and when to speak. I ask you to guide my tongue so that it brings life and not death (Prov. 8:21). God, don’t just change my teen but change me too.

RELATED: Parental Anxiety: 7 Breakthrough Tips To Calm Yourself Down

In Jesus name,


Prayer is the best solution on how to deal with a difficult teenager.

Praying Scripture is How to Deal With a Difficult Teenager

Praying scripture is the most effective way on how to deal with a difficult teenager. If you want to create your own prayers, you can go to Bible Hub and put in your keyword. Scriptures will pop up. It will give you scriptures to pray over your own pain point.

Or you can get Stormie Omartian’s book The Power of a Praying Parent. It addresses almost every issue your teen will face. This book changed my life (not an affiliate).

Remember not to get discouraged. It takes time for a difficult teenager to change his behavior.

Check out this post on praying for your husband. It is equally powerful!

RELATED: The Best Way to Change Your Husband Through Prayer

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how to deal with a difficult teenager

These powerful tips are how to deal with a difficult teenager. What do you do?

Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you experiencing family problems or even estranged? Are you feeling shame, anger, or rejection? Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

This book not only talks about my seven-year estrangement from my Christian family, but it also gives solid tips to help you with your own family problems. Break free from your pain. Allow God to heal you no matter what has happened in your family of origin. There is hope when your family falls apart.

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Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family in a way that allows more time to be intentional with your kids.  It includes a schedule too. You can get it at your favorite bookstore.

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Join Christian Family Living Facebook Group

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the group Christian Family Living. This is a place for Christian women to share their experiences and get helpful tools to navigate the Christian life. We love to laugh, cry, and encourage each other to live out our faith one day at a time.

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  1. Edith on February 8, 2019 at 9:29 am

    Great post. The natural thing that parents do is worry and set a bunch of rules and this doesn’t help much. While it’s good to provide guidance, only God can make our children obey or desire to do right. So talking to Him as you have admonished, rather than fretting about them, is the way to go.

    • Julie Plagens on February 15, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      Edith, such wise words. Some rules and boundaries are good for kids to have but as they get older, there should be more responsibilities and fewer rules. It needs to be more about trust and relationship. This sounds really good on paper, not so easy to balance in real life. The best guidance is to pray for your teen and ask God for discernment.

  2. Jodie on January 29, 2019 at 8:30 am

    This will be a great resource for my friends struggling with their teenagers! Thank for you compiling.

    • Julie Plagens on January 29, 2019 at 2:04 pm

      Jodie, thanks for saying this. I hope it really helps!

  3. Lisa Kiesling on January 28, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Excellent list and I love the scripture you aligned with those prayers. =)

    • Julie Plagens on January 29, 2019 at 2:05 pm

      Hey Lisa! You are so sweet to read this. So fun to have a friend lurking and commenting!

  4. Erin on January 27, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you for the variety of scriptures available for support in raising and praying for a teenager!

    • Julie Plagens on January 29, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Erin, I truly hope these scriptures are a help with parents. I know praying for your teens seems so simple, but things really happen when you do it.

  5. Marcie Cramsey on January 27, 2019 at 5:43 pm

    This is such a great post! I love how you wove the prayers for teens into scripture. I love doing this for my children (who are grown now) and for others God has placed in my life. Great read!

    • Julie Plagens on January 29, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Marcie, thank you so much for your comment. I am so glad you still pray even though your kids are grown. Thanks for reading.

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