People choose many resources and philosophies to parent their children. Some watch the latest doc on Oprah or Dr. Phil. Some rely on experience. Some leave the job to everyone else. Some assume the philosophy of their church. Some try a hodge-podge of all the above and just try to survive. What is your source of truth for parenting? For life?
This five part series has focused on some basic truths about parenting that relate to answering a question that challenges every parent — “How do I get my teen to listen?” In the last post, we reframed the question to address a larger responsibilty we have as parents — “How do I get my teen to listen to God?” You see, obviously our teens will not live with us for life. If we train them to listen to God through his Word, the Bible, and obey Him, they will have wise direction throughout the rest of their days. Life will not just be about making mom and dad happy. It will be about making God happy and bringing Him glory. This brings us to our responsibility.
Having established the Deuteronomy 6 paradigm for parenting — actively talking to our kids/teens about everything all the time (even things we as parents don’t really care about); listening intently to hear what is on their hearts; and talking with purpose to bring God into their world and worldview — we then step into the New Testament to learn in Ephesians 6:4 that we as parents are not to “provoke” our children/teens to wrath. Two issues arise here: 1) our not provoking our children to wrath is not dependent upon their obedience; 2) you and I do have the ability to agitate our children/teens to anger. How to we not provoke them to wrath? The secret lies in our obedience of God’s Word as parents – Deuteronomy 6:4-9 in particular, and in the second half of Ephesians 6:4 “but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Learn to say “no” lovingly, with a solid reason, and with teaching. Learn to give clear, adequate consequences when your children/teens do not listen. Take the time to not only teach your teen why you made the decision you did, but also tell them “how” you arrived at that conclusion – the process.
The Bible does have asnwers! My prayer is that this series has helped you in your parenting and has adequately, not comprehensively, answered the original question posed. If it would be helpful for me to share how I have selfishly at times chosen to not follow God’s word, let me know. I have plenty of examples, unfortunately.