"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring
them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
How well we can recall the previous verses of Ephesians
chapter 6: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this
is right. Honor your father and mother"--which is the first
commandment with a promise--that it may go well with you and
that you may enjoy long life on the earth." (Eph. 6:1-3)
At times we teach our children these commands, demanding that
they follow our rules and ways, sometimes without much thought
to what fair. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not "parent
bashing". I know that we love our teens and generally make
rules based on what is best for them. But I don't think that
is always the case.
Do you sometimes use rules with your teens that carry over
from your own childhood? These rules make absolutely no sense
to you, but you had to follow them so you make your own kids
follow them. Let me give you an example. My parents would not
let me leave the house in the evening after 8:00 when I was a
teenager. If I had plans for the night, they needed to start
before 8:00 or I was stuck in the house all night. Why did
they make this rule? I really don't know. I guess it bugged
them for me to leave the house when they were getting ready to
snuggle in for the night. This rule really bothered me as a
teenager. I would argue, "But the movie doesn't start until
9:00...," but it was to no avail.
Now, when my children grew into teenagers, I found myself
reverting back to the rules of my parents. I was telling them
that they couldn't leave the house past 8:00 in the evening.
This made no sense to them - or even to me, but my word was
LAW. We would get into arguments and they'd plead with me to
just explain "why". I couldn't.
One time, during one of these confrontations, the Lord spoke
to my heart through this verse. I was exasperating my children
with a rule that had no real reason behind it other than the
fact that I had to abide by it as a teen. Was it so bad for
them to leave the house at 9:00 in the evening or even 10:00?
There nightly curfew remained the same, so why did I care if
they left late, especially if I didn't even have to drive
I had to take a long, careful look at some of my rules and ask
myself truthfully if they needed changing. Do kids need rules?
Do they need boundaries and limits? You bet! But be sure that
they are fair and reasonable. As your teen matures into young
adulthood, you will need to constantly review your household
rules to allow for the freedom they will need to make their
own choices as adults.
Did I say it would be easy? No way! But remember the Lord
calls us to train our children in His ways, but warns us not
to provoke our children to anger by the way we treat them. We
need to find a balance, which is what raising teens in love is
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