“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord,” (Ephesians 6:4).
It’s hard not to be exasperated by a teenager and it’s hard not to exasperate a teenager. For those who think they know everything, it seems impossible to tell them anything. Yet, God gives parents teenagers so they can learn laughter, wisdom, forgiveness, trust and the grace of imposing guidelines. After all, the older a teenager becomes the less a parent can control them—and more is their felt need to give them over to the Lord’s accountability.
Indeed, tension arises in the transition from immaturity to maturity. It’s during this avalanche of emotions that someone has to act like the adult. The parent is positioned by the Lord to be this voice of reason, as the transitioning teenager has yet to qualify. So, persistent prayer, patience and pardon go a long way in promoting peace in the home.
“Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him.” Genesis 37:2-3
Fathers, these passionate pre-adults need your firm and loving leadership as they learn how to manage their freedoms. Mom is the gentle nurturer when they are in grade school, but as they acquire acne you protect your wife from being taken advantage of with your wise and caring leadership. Most of all, remember to be intentional in your relational investment with your young person, as rules without relationship leads to rebellion.
Do you feel taken advantage of, lied to and manipulated? If so, welcome to the world of hormones hijacking the heart of some self absorbed teens. On the other hand, thank the Lord for those young people who, because of God’s grace, have grown in character and their care for others. Make sure to give these models of faithfulness positive feedback. It’s easy to only give attention to the troublemakers and take for granted the good kids.
Above all else, pray together as husband and wife for your teenagers to fear God, love Him and obey Christ commands. Ask the Lord to fill you with the Holy Spirit, so you can model for them what it means to be a loving disciple of Jesus. Confess your faults to the Lord and your child—and ask for their forgiveness. Teenagers trust transparency. Train and instruct them in worship, Bible study, service, faith, love and grace based living.