Honoring Teens who Don’t Deserve It

When challenged with the concept that honor means to value others, one parent responded honestly, “My fifteen-year-old son has become so hurtful I just don’t see any value in him anymore. I don’t feel like I can honor him at all.”

A problem arises when a person’s worth or value is not easily apparent. A dad might dishonor a teen because he doesn’t appreciate her and even considers her opinions and actions foolish. He may overreact, pull away, or make sarcastic remarks. Mom may react with anger when treated poorly and over time lose any sense of value she once had for her son.

It’s especially harmful when parents give up or become hostile in response to teen rejection. We believe this to be a serious parenting mistake that may contribute to young people searching for different friends and authorities who will listen and accept them.

When others’ worth or value is not easily apparent, a person must learn to honor by faith. Each person has intrinsic value to God and is significant and worthwhile to Him. Often when you start with God’s perspective you recognize the value of even a difficult person. Stories abound of parents who have continued to be faithful even when all seemed hopeless, only to find the teen to make major steps of improvement.

A teen is formulating a worldview and opinions about life. When parents dish it out the same way teens do, the teens often get hurt. As parents, we must continually look for ways to challenge our teens to maturity without harming our relationship with them.

Teens have a way of treating you like dirt one minute and asking for money the next. Sometimes we must just say something like, “I’d like to take you to the mall but I feel uncomfortable about the way you asked me to leave your room an hour ago. I’d like to deal with that problem first before we go on living life as normal.”

Challenge your teenagers, but continually do it in honoring ways. In the end, you will preserve relationship and motivate growth at the same time.

For more suggestions for working with teenagers, look at chapter eight in the book, “Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids,” by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

If you’d like a personalized action plan for your own parenting, consider meeting with Dr. Scott Turansky in a Phone Coaching Session. Learn more at www.biblicalparenting.org.

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