Training Your Teens
"Fathers, do not
exasperate your children; instead, bring
them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
- Ephesians 6:4
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" [ed: 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."
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
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 them?
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 all about!
Patti Chadwick is the creator of
Family Tymes the online magazine that provides encouragement
for today's busy family. She is also the creator of
Women, an online magazine highlighting the extraordinary
achievements of women throughout history.
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