Home > Brian's Blogs, Parenting > Parenting Teenagers, Part 9

Parenting Teenagers, Part 9

My last post attempted to give some practical steps for creating a nurturing relationship with your teen. This post attempts to give some practical steps to avoid.  Ephesians 6:4 gives a stern warning to not provoke our children to anger, but how do we avoid this?

Here are seven things that can provoke a child to anger. Therefore, here are seven things to avoid:

  1. Overprotection. Yes we have a responsibility to protect our children. However, if the goal of parenting is to create biblically wise adults, then at some point we have to release them and begin to remove our protection. This is particularly true for teenagers. Overprotection communicates a lack of trust and does not train them in biblical wisdom.
    • Here is a general rule: the older and more responsible a child is, the more “rope” they should be given. For example, if they regularly prove themselves in meeting your pre-determined curfew, why not extend the curfew when requested? They’ve proven themselves and there is no reason to doubt that they’ll fail in the extension.
    • Not only is overprotection frustrating to a teen, it is confusing. Consider the first 12 years of a child’s life. We push our children all the time: we push them to start crawling, to start walking, to start talking, to start reading, to start school, to get involved in activities, to make friends, etc, etc. Why is it when they become teenagers that we all of a sudden want to slow them down. We’ve been pushing them for 12 years, what changed? Parents, keep pushing your children to become biblically wise adults.
  2. Overindulgence. This is the opposite of overprotection. Some parents are so concerned about being “friends” with their children that they fail to provide high expectations and discipline. But this provokes our children! Why? Because, believe it our not, our children (yes, teenagers!) want clear and consistent expectations. They want to know the boundaries. It is frustrating when the rules change or parents disagree!
    • Another general rule: the younger and less responsible a child is, the less “rope” they should be given. When mistakes are made, pull in the rope to discipline and train until they prove themselves and it can be released again.
  3. Unrealistic Goals and Expectations. We can provoke our children when we set our expectations too high. All of us have heard about the child athlete that snapped because their parents pushed too hard. I realize it worked for Tiger Woods, but he is an exception on many levels. Don’t expect a child to get straight-A’s if they are only capable of B’s. Remember, the goal of parenting is biblical wisdom, not the best grades or to become the best athlete.
  4. Discouragement and Criticism. How many of us like to hear words of discouragement and criticism from our spouse, boss, or co-workers? No one does. So why do we think it is okay to continuously criticize our children? It isn’t. Read Ephesians 4:29-32: we must shower our children with words that encourage and build them up.
  5. Condescension. How many of us like to hear words of condescension? No one does. But, some parents are very condescending. I see this a lot when it comes to relationships: a teen girl is crying because her boyfriend broke up with her and a parent says, “you don’t love him…you don’t know what love is…you are only 16!” That is condescension. Her feelings are real. Her love is real (even if immature).  Words like this provoke her to anger.
  6. Excessive Discipline. A previous post highlighted the dangers of discipline without love. Read it again, it causes problems.
  7. Neglect. Read the same post highlighted in #6. Neglect, including unintentional neglect due to busy-ness, causes real problems.
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