You have certainly heard this phrase said by parents or teachers. Teen-age is known as a very rebelled period of a child against the authority of his parents, teachers and against any other authority. In this article I want to share some practical advice from the Word of God and if parents and teachers follow them, they will be able to help their teenagers to be victorious in this time of rebellion.
Warn your child of the dangers of teen-age
I and my wife have three blessed children. Our elder daughter, Nastica is 16 years old and we are very glad she has been victorious in that period of rebellion that comes in every teenager’s life for sure. We also have got two sons: David is 11 years old and Daniel is 9. I want to take some more time to spend with our sons and to tell them about the dangers of teen-age. It is more easily for people to face dangers if they have been warned against them before. God did so with His people of Israel and He warned them for many times how their rebellion would affect them if they continued to use it. After they were set free form the Egyptian slavery, while they were walking through wilderness to the promise land, to Canaan, God told them:
Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 8:17–20)(NASB)
Wise Solomon addressed his book of Proverbs mostly to teenagers. This book is full with warnings for all aspects of life. The author prevents the readers about the dangers they can face and how to protect themselves against the bad effects of these dangers. The same thing should be done by parents and teachers – they have to warn their children before they come to the time of teen-age about the dangers of their rebellion from that period. And it is not only sufficient to inform them about these dangers, but to explain them using different real examples they can see.
Offer safety to the teenager by accepting him
In teen-age time, the child goes through an inner conflict or crisis. On one hand he grows up and becomes an adult, but people still consider him a child. He wants to be accepted as a mature person. In the same time, he wants to be mature without assuming the responsibilities every mature person has. So, he wants to be treated respectfully and to be allowed all things as adults are allowed, but he still thinks very little about serving others, but he/she waits to be served. That’s why, a wise parent and teacher will accept the teenager the way he is, and will treat him as a mature person, will discuss with him as with an adult and will try to make him realize the responsibilities he has to fulfill as an adult. This will offer safety to the teenager. But if he is permanently told only about his mistakes and failures, he will shortly feel himself failed and he can see himself this way for his whole life.
Don’t use too many interdictions
Some parents and teachers use too many interdictions. The education offered by them, if it can be named so, is made up only from “You may not! Do not touch! Do not take! No… No… No…” This way of “education” is very irritating. God says in this regard:
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)(NASB)
The excess of interdictions provoke the anger and the rebellion of the child and this attitude can stay for the rest of his life.
When I was at school, a teacher, the mother of a girl who was my age, used to rebuke us that we were lazy, we were not learning, etc and she gave us the example of her daughter. She told us that she made her children work all the time to teach them to work. So, she made her daughter knit a clothing, then unknit it, then knit it again. She made her son carry some stones to a certain place and then bring them back, and so on. Who would not be provoked by such kind of “education”? Even if her children were capable and learnt well at school, they didn’t accomplish much in their life. I do not want to comment too much, just to add that people from the village say that that certain teacher is beaten by her children. This is a very great evil and if the society doesn’t do anything to punish the children who beat their parents, God’s judgment will not be late. Here is what the Word of God says in this regard:
The eye that mocks a father and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it. (Proverbs 30:17)(NASB)
Be determined to apply the discipline
I do not want the reader to understand that using too many interdictions means to let the child on his own. The teenager is still a child, but he doesn’t think of himself as a teenager anymore, but as a mature person. When this teenager undermines the authority of the parent or of the teacher in an arrogant way, he has to bear the consequences and discipline should be applied. Otherwise, here is what the Scripture says it will happen:
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. (Proverbs of Solomon 29:15)(NASB)
Here it is written about the rod, that implies physical punishment. Beware. Applying physical punishment to a teenager means humiliation, especially to girls. This period of time asks a wise reproof, that is more efficient and physical punishment can give an inverse result, to atrophy the teenager’s conscience. If reproof doesn’t give the wanted result, parents and teachers can limit or withdraw some rights or facilities of the teenager for a certain period of time.
Teach the teenager to make decisions
As I have said before, the teenager wants to be mature, but he doesn’t want to assume responsibilities. That’s why, parents or teachers must help them analyze the decisions the teenager wants to make and make him conscious about the consequences of wrong choices, rather than prohibiting them some things. In this way, we will truly help the teenager become a mature person, because we will teach him to make decisions and to assume responsibilities for the decisions he has made.
Don’t assert yourself with a teenager, but try to understand, help and advise him/her in the truth of God. Be a friend with your son or daughter who are teenagers. It is much easier to accept advice from a friend who wants to understand and help you.
Translated by Felicia Djugostran