In my years as a parent of teens, I have met many wonderful parents along the way who truly love their children. However, I have also met loving parents who based their parenting style on fear of the outside world or what they perceive as bad, having chosen instead to shelter their children.
As loving as that may seem, unfortunately the end results of that over-protection have caused disastrous results. I don’t believe I have ever met one family in my lifetime that overprotected their children and had a healthy family dynamic in the end.
Is it normal that teens rebel? Yes, it is. Should it be expected that they may rebel? Yes, it should be.
But we should really ask, “Does our parenting sometimes exert such a pressure to shelter and push our teens into a direction that would ultimately cause bad behavior?” I can assuredly say, “Yes.”
To give some examples of this type of parenting, let us focus on these scenarios.
Scenario 1 – Dad pushes his son in athletics because anything outside of that will make his son weak and worthless. He makes him watch, play, think and sleep on athletics. Dad pushes all other distractions out of his son’s way. So he shelters him into a total athletic bubble by keeping away friends, fun, other activities and even any growth to his son’s identity that he is trying to figure out.
Scenario 2 – Mom keeps daughter safe and sheltered from the world by keeping teen with mom at all times, even to the point of keeping tabs of where she goes or what she does. The daughter dresses to what mom wants, eats to what mom says is healthy only, picks out daughter’s friends that she feels are deemed to mom’s approval and absolutely no thoughts on boys and make-up.
Now that you have pictured these two scenarios, what negative response do you think that parents will receive after all is said and done?
Scenario 1 – rebellion, hate, disrespect, drinking, smoking, lying, bad grades, failure on purpose, running away, etc…
Scenario 2 – rebellion, deceit, hate, secretly wears inappropriate clothing at school and acts out at home, eats foods that parent wouldn’t approve, finds new friends – ones that are more independent and bad for her.
Too many parents put so much stress and control over their kids that there is no balance. Instead the teens are fighting for their independence and respect to be heard. All they see is a power to control instead of a loving guidance to help their teen grow to maturity and teach them how to make decisions, solve problems and conflicts on their own.
Many parents don’t give enough credit to their teens that they can do great things to make their parents proud. But somewhere this communication and idealism is lost. Teenagers are trying to make parents realize that they have feelings, thoughts, ideas, and desires. If the parent doesn’t accept this, then the teenager will respond the only way they know how – rebellion.
Let us not train up a child in a way that is destructive to their well-being but build their wants and needs in a healthy way through God’s guidance and wisdom with loving correction and encouraging influence so that everyone has peace in the home.
Let us focus on expanding a better and positive view of things around them and the opportunities that will benefit them in the long run. Parents aren’t going to lose their teen if they find a nice friend on their own, or pick out the sport they want to be in.
Balancing parenthood is challenging, but in the end, your teen will be more productive, mature and making wise decisions with the help from you as a parent.
Fathers, (parents) do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (ESV)
Fathers, (parents) do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart. Colossians 3:21 (NAS)