Why is it that some teens are so obedient and others are not?
You may even find this to be true with teens in the same household. Teens raised the same way, by the same parents, can turn out drastically different. We have experience this in our family. You may have experienced it in yours as well.
How can we account for the sacrifficialness of Ruth, who willingly gave up her own future, and Isaac, who was willing to give up his life? What can we do to have our teens willingly obey without nagging and threaten? The key, I believe, is in helping our teens love God more. Loving God is at the root of obedience.
Ephesians 6:4 tells us:
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Fathers are responsible for the training of their children, even if they aren’t with the child as much as the mother. Fathers are ultimately responsible before God for the whole family. The wife is under the husband’s authority, and she implements what they decide together. Still though, the father is the leader with oversight and responsibility to God.
Provoke means to not exasperate. It’s the command given to us as parents in Ephesians 6:4. That means don’t frustrate your teen with too high expectations, criticism without love, withholding love, inconsistency, rejection, over-burdening them with rules and regulations, expecting too much— expecting perfection, overprotecting, spoiling, being overly permissive or too severe.
“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.” Proverbs 13:24
Teens need to feel loved and secure. In the absence of discipline, they will likely never feel either. Besides that, when we discipline in love it is an excellent example of how God treats His own children.
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
The discipline of our teens must reflect God’s discipline of us—consistent, in love, for our betterment, and not just to pay for the inconvenience we have caused Him.
To correctly discipline your teen, it is helpful to consider the cause of their disobedient actions. There is a big difference between willful, stubborn rebellion against authority and the natural, necessary pulling away that is part of their maturity. There's also a difference between what comes from their sin nature and what comes from changing hormones? Knowing the difference will be helpful when choosing the necessary form of discipline.
Teens need limits. We all need limits! That's part of society's problem today— the lack of limits. However, they also need freedom and flexibility. Treat your teen like an adult, but expect them to act like a child. They have the same emotional needs for love, security, and acceptance as a child does, even though they don’t always show it, recognize it or dare to admit it.
It's helpful to take note of the areas they choose to rebel in:
Ask yourself why your teen choose this area to rebel in?
Or, is there another reason altogether? It’s certainly something to consider. Pray and ask God for wisdom and insight. I always like getting to the root of the problem rather than snipping at tree branches in vain.
Pick your battles carefully! Never expect instant, immediate obedience in any area. If you get it, be grateful! They are no longer children, give them some space to exercise their own free will. If you can’t win a battle, don’t let it start. Decide what is major enough to make an issue of, and what isn’t. When you draw the line, do it with love, stick to it, and be consistent. Love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8). Always, in as many ways as possible, assure your teen of your unconditional love.
Keep their emotional love tank full and overflowing!
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8
When we must discipline, it’s so important for us to remember to use natural consequences instead of nagging, threatening or yelling.
Deprive them of a privilege:
Avoid power struggles and nagging at all costs!
Anything that makes your teen feel that you are treating them like a little child is going to be counterproductive. Be sure you don’t play favorites. Also, make sure you don’t expect more of one child than you do another.
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." —Frederick Douglass
The instruction of the Lord refers to training in a way that is preventative, so that correction isn’t as necessary. We accomplish this by our example as well as our words.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Communicate your feelings, emotions, struggles and difficulties with your teen. They will appreciate your transparency. Draw them out. Ask questions: How did that make you feel? Silently listen. Be very slow to give advice. Listen more than you talk.
"Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger." (James 1:19).
Encourage them! It takes 99 compliments to make up for 1 criticism.
When you’ve blown it— and we’ve all been there, take responsibility for your part without blaming justifying, or making excuses. Ask forgiveness. Forgive yourself and reestablish communication. Make necessary changes so it doesn’t happen again. Be patient!
PRAY! Above all, over all, before all, during all, after all—pray, pray, pray, pray, pray and then pray some more.
So, how can we help our teens love God more?
How do you help your teen love God more?
I used to feel that the phrase have a good day was somewhat cliché, a saying used by business people who really didn't care if you actually had a good day or not. However, I have come to love and appreciate the phrase. After all, who wouldn't prefer to have a good day rather than a bad one, right?
I've often wondered if telling someone to have a good day would actually make it so. Certainly, it has no magical implementations attached to it, so, I rather doubt it. Although I have to admit, when someone says have a good day to me, it does lift my spirit and it's an encouragement. Maybe that's because it means so much more to me these days. I am more intentional about how I use the phrase. When I tell you to have a good day, I really mean it!
I remember as a young girl, singing a song in Sunday school that went like this, "Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before." Now, I'm not sure that is always the case, but certainly any day with Him is better than a day without Him!
I ran across a couple Bible verses recently that in effect say: "If you want to love life and have good days, refuse that which is evil and do good" [I Peter 3:10-11]. In other words, having a good day comes from doing good, right?
"Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him [or her] keep his [or her] tongue from evil and his [or her] lips from speaking deceit; Let him [or her] turn away from evil and do good; let him [or her] seek peace and pursue it." I Peter 3:10-11
So to have a good day we should:
Speak less | Do good | Seek peace
However, society says something totally contrary to I Peter 3:10-11. Society says, If it feels good, do it, whether it is right or not. God says, if you do good, you will feel good— just the opposite of society.
A key responsibility of parenting is the education of our children as we seek to raise them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4
As parents, we are instructed by Scripture to train children in the way [they] should go. God holds us personally accountable and we must never relinquish our responsibility, even though we may share it with someone outside the home. Consequently, if we do share that responsibility with someone outside the home, we should look for a school that works with, and not against, us in fulfilling that responsibility. To satisfy this mandate Scripturally, we need to understand that both the home and the school are measured by the same standards—the Bible.
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5
Essential elements to help children grow in Christian maturity are to teach them how to study God's Word, apply its principles, and obey its truths in all of life's experiences. The focus of education should be to guide their lives in becoming more like Christ as they advance academically and grow physically.
To help our children receive the education that will best lead them to Christian maturity, we should model by example a Christian's response to the activities of life. The practice of following Biblical principles will strengthen family ties and enhance a child's journey to a dedicated life in Christ. And a dedicated life in Christ should be our goal.
Continue reading to discover 5 Things You Can do Today to Raise Godly Children.
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News about a kidnapped child certainly gets our attention! While it's important to remember that most children pass through childhood safely, we have a responsibility as parents to be prepared.
5 Things You Can do Today to Raise Godly Children:
It takes years for an acorn to grow into a mighty oak.
As we work together for the common goal of Christ-likeness, we will have the opportunity of observing our children's growth, little by little, into truly mature Christians who will do for their children what was done for them. The investment is worth the time and effort, because the dividends are eternal!
My Kid's Prayer Journal
One of the best ways of being intentional about showing your child the power of prayer is to provide him or her with a prayer journal. I know in my own life, when I'm able to see answers to prayer, I am more likely to realize it's power— and I am more likely to see the answers when I have journaled my prayers.
We love this My Kid's Prayer Journal! And you can't go wrong here, it's like $5.00 today on Amazon. Go get it!
My Kid's Prayer Journal 100 Days of Prayer & Praise is a children's prayer journal built to inspire conversation and prayer with God, and it is packed with goodness! It's the perfect tool for your child to build a better relationship with Christ! Start each day reciting the Lord's Prayer and then sit with your child as you go through the guided prompts to help cultivate their understanding of prayer and relationship with God. The journal is printed on high quality paper and has a beautifully designed cover with a matte finish. Grab one for your child or multiple for friends—it's the perfect gift!
Whether you are a homeschool mom, Christian school mom or public school mom, what's the one piece of advice on raising Godly children in this Godless world you would give to moms like you?
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