As our kids enter the teen years it’s natural for them to become more resistant to our leadership. Some of you are thinking, “My kid must have entered his teen years at 6 months old”.
While this is a natural part of the maturing process – designed to prepare them to actually be on their own – it does not mean they are ready to make wise decisions. But it does mean we should begin to let them have more say in the decisions that impact their lives. This is a time to offer guidance and counsel. Help them walk through the process and learn how to make wise decisions.
I do not believe a “rebellious stage” is inevitable. So don’t expect it, anticipate it or tolerate it. But there is one tip that I think will help our kids avoid feeling they need to rebel.
Choose your battles.
Not every hill is worth dying on. Their hair style or color (or colors) may be hideous. Their clothes may look like they came from Clown University. Their moodiness may only be exceeded by their pimple count. These are tough years for everybody. These are years parents need to remember, “God looks on the heart”. We too must learn to look past the outward awkwardness and look at their heart.
If the outward weirdness is not a reflection of inward rebellion then rejoice. Celebrate orange hair, black nail polish and a shaved head – on your daughter. (OK, gotta admit that would be tough to “celebrate” but it’ll grow back so don’t go to war over it.) Plus, the fact that it doesn’t get a rise from you makes it a whole lot less appealing to your teen.
Be like God. Look past the outward appearance and look at the heart. If they have a heart for God, all the other things will grow out, fall off or eventually stabilize. Let them experiment. (I wanted, and my mom let me have, a Mohawk haircut in 6th grade long before it was cool.)
Choose which hills are worth dying on and those are hills related to eternity and things of the heart.
This information is part of Chapter 5 of Spare the Rod – Five Times You Should NOT Spank Your Child. Get the entire book by signing up for this blog or get a paperback or Kindle copy HERE.