Recently as I was going through my prayer journal and praying for friends, I prayed for a family with a pre-teen son. These are kind of hard days at their house. Attitudes aren’t always what they’d hope they would be (wouldn’t we LOVE it if our children were compliant every single day?!). I prayed for the child. I prayed more for his parents. I asked the Lord to give them strength, encouragement and a continued love for this child and this time in his life, and for endurance for them when his attitude crops up, that they will know how to deal with it.
I’m pretty sure there is no family that doesn’t go through some turbulence at one time or another during the teen years. It’s normal. I remember feeling at times like all was lost – but it wasn’t, and we all survived. Every parent needs to remind themselves that children go through stages, and while they need to deal with the problems as they pop up, if they stay on their knees and keep a right heart, it really will be okay.
Can I go back and repeat something in that last paragraph? They need to deal with the problems as they pop up. Parents can’t ignore an issue, just because it seems to be a normal thing kids go through. We may say,
“Every toddler has temper tantrums.” “Every home-schooler has issues not wanting to do their school work.” “Every teenager rebels”, so I’ll just let it go. We all did those things, didn’t we? “
BUT if you ignore it, you’re only asking for a child who will be self-willed, demanding of their own way all their life, and who will never submit to the will of their loving God who has great plans for their life!
All we need to do is look at Eli in the book of Samuel. He let his sons go on doing their sinful acts, and the situation only escalated for him and his sons alike! Can we say DEATH? Yes, the Lord ended their lives, due to their sinfulness and rebellion.
The Scriptures admonish parents to teach, teach, teach. You’ll feel like a broken record, but it’s your job. This doesn’t mean nagging. Nagging is talk with no action until anger is stirred. Teaching your child is instructing them how to do something, even giving an explanation of how and why. Give a time limit. Then expect follow-through. You check up on the child. If it hasn’t been done, then discipline follows. You explain again and repeat the process, expecting obedience. Maybe something like this:
- “Joey, it’s 7:30, and you need to get up and be at the breakfast table by 8:00. Please come dressed and ready for school with your bed made and your room picked up.”
- At 8:00 when breakfast is served and there is no Joey is at the table, you go to his room and find he has rolled over and gone back to sleep. You (calmly) wake him up and stand there while you ask him to get up right then. Remind him of the request, and then let him know that because he disobeyed, he will go to bed 30 minutes earlier tonight since it seems like he didn’t get enough sleep. Also for the time it takes him to get dressed, make his bed and clean up his room, he will miss out on some activity later in the day.
You must expect obedience and then mete out discipline for the lack of it. The same would go with a temper tantrum or “meltdown.” It might be normal for a child, but it should not allowed. Don’t make excuses for them. Deal with it consistently.
No parent should lose heart if they are dealing with sinful attitudes and actions in their child’s life – even if it has to be done over and over. The time to lose heart is when you’ve given in to their sinful behaviors. Don’t be an Eli and turn your head away. Be a parent who loves your child enough to teach them what is right according to God’s Word. Then keep reminding yourself that if you deal with it consistently, it will pass, so don’t give up!
Does this make sense to you? Is there a question that pops up when you read this? Feel free to leave a comment!
Cheering you on,