Guiding Your Kids Through the Tough Years (2
…wisdom is better than muscle….’ Ecclesiastes 9:16
Parent, you influence your child more than anyone else! You say, ‘But they seem to pay little or no attention to me, and lots to their friends!’ Peers are very influential, and if you’re dismissive or judgmental with them you’ll just increase your child’s negative peer pressure. Your teenager’s resistance isn’t necessarily saying they disagree with your opinions or think you’re wrong, they’re just experiencing two powerful, life-shaping, natural tendencies. First, for healthy social growth they need peer relations. Appearing ‘cool’ to friends promotes those relations, so they’ll seem to downplay your influence. Don’t take it personally; it’s about them and their growing needs, not about you. Second, normal development is pushing them towards becoming more independent. When they push back it’s usually more about this, than about rebellion or even substantial disagreement with you. These God-designed inclinations prepare them to ‘leave father and mother and become one flesh’ with someone else for life (Genesis 2:24). In fishing, ‘you let out the line or risk breaking the rod and losing the catch.’ Discover the natural flow of teenage development and work with, not against it! Try to redirect your teen by helping them find constructive ways to express their new autonomy and you’ll help them harness it the right way. What you think or believe isn’t the problem, how you handle it with them is. Remaining rational, loving, affirming, prayerful and patient invites cooperation rather than confrontation. In God’s timing they’ll embrace your values, beliefs and attitudes. ‘…when he (or she) is old, he will not depart from it’ (Proverbs 22:6NKJV).