Wednesday, January 20, 2010

On Parenting Teenagers

Last night's TV news, I watched a tearful, broken mother. She's being interviewed about the arrest of her son for murder. It happened right in her own house. Her son was shot and wounded during a gunfire with the policemen. The mother was charged with obstruction of justice -hiding her son to cover for him and the consequences of the crimes he committed.

It may or may not be true of this mother in today's headlines. But the fact is, there are indeed some parents who condition their children to think that Dad or Mom will always cover for them. Children are not allowed to experience consequences for misdeeds. Psychologists call it a classic case of "rescuing."

Honestly, I admit that I too have traces of a "rescuer" when it comes to my own children. It can be hurting, especially with rebellious teenagers. In the case of my 16-year-old daughter, I look pretty heavy to her when it comes to evening curfew, among other things. The truth is, I cannot run her; she runs herself. I need to understand that she is almost an adult now. Independence is a natural next step.

Of course, I still have the same function as Dad of my two teenagers. But I need new ways from what I've been using to fit their age or stage of life. Every morning, I pray for each of them. It's the best I can do. Reaching out to them as best as possible, I need to close my mouth and listen more.

However, it still doesn't guarantee that my kids would make wise choices and transition into adulthood in good health. They may still choose to bang their heads against the walls --that is their choice. In that case, I may have to leave them flounder. Even enforce proper discipline. And allow them to learn to be responsible for their own consequences.

"But Lord, would You at least help me build soft, resilient walls for them?" Aha!

"Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?" (Hebrews 12:7)

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