Proverbs 12:1 tells us that a wise person loves correction. How many teenagers love to be wrong? Does your son/daughter love when you correct them? Does this make them stupid or simply immature? Or does the correction come across as unappealing and out of touch with their reality? Most teenagers lack wisdom and desperately need loving, biblical correction. Is that what you are really giving? As I consider some of my poorly received attempts at sharing biblical wisdom, I know I was often guilty of sharing with the wrong motives or the wrong message.
Am I making correction appealing? Are my words of wisdom sweet or bitter? Matthew 7:3-5 reminds us to deal with our own problems before dealing with the problems of others. Am I letting off steam and hypocritically attacking my teenager or trying to function as God’s instrument of change and grace? Stop, examine your own heart, pray for direction and guidance, find truth in Scripture to show the godly wisdom that is the right choice.Teenagers are Defensive
Well, honestly, most of us get defensive when someone points out our weaknesses or mistakes, don’t we?. Expect this, exercise self-control, and be careful that your goal is conveying wisdom and not simply looking to win an argument.
Three Helps for a Defensive Teen:
- Clearly explain your actions and motives.
“I’m not accusing you. I love and I want to help you. I want to encourage you and help you please God.”
- Help them examine their own defensiveness.
“It seems like you are really angry with me. I am not yelling at you or accusing you of anything. Why are you so upset? I did not want to start a fight with you, I want to help you. What do think the problem is?”
- Faithfully confess your own sins against your teenager.
How many times have I lost my temper, been impatient, been stubborn and refused to listen, disciplined in anger, named called, or worse. My humility and asking for forgiveness will model what God is calling my teenager to do.
Your Teenager is Worth It
Teenagers are usually not asking for your input. They will avoid difficult conversations and protect themselves from intrusion. Don’t give up! Pursue your teenager. Express your love. Ask deeper questions. Encourage them. They are worth all your efforts to stay connected and to be involved in their lives.
Tips for Talking
When you have something to share, keep it brief. Don’t lecture on the past and how you never talked to your parents that way. Think ahead of time about what you want to share. Make it interesting. Make it interactive. Help your teenager examine his actions, assumptions, desires, and choices. Let the wisdom of God’s Word be seen as helpful and true. Your authority or ability to win a debate are not the point. Holding up God’s Word and showing how it is working in your own life will be much more appealing.