A few months ago, I wrote about three guaranteed ways to damage teenagers: allowing duplicity, disengagement, and divorce to have a place in your family and, therefore, your teen’s life.
In addition, I’d like to suggest three more guaranteed ways to further damage teenagers: allowing yourself to belittle or talk down to them, failing to correct and discipline them, and allowing authority to be dishonored either directly or indirectly in your home.
Again, nobody (in their right mind) sets out to intentionally damage the very souls that God entrusted to them to help mold, shape, and nurture. None of us wake up one day and says, “Hey, I think I will make a few decisions that I know will damage my teenage son or daughter.”
Our decisions, good or bad, DO directly affect the ones that we have brought into this world. This should compel us to live our lives wisely and completely reliant upon the Lord for help.
So here are three more guaranteed ways to damage teenagers:
Belittle or talk down to them.
Nothing may damage a teenager more than the wounds that come through harsh, hurtful, and angry words spoken by a parent.
You’ve heard the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” Well, that old saying couldn’t be further from the truth!
Words, hurtful words, can leave long, lasting damaging marks in the heart of a teenager that remain for a lifetime!
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” Proverbs 12:18
Fail to correct or discipline them.
“Then the LORD said to Samuel, “I am about to do a shocking thing in Israel. I am going to carry out all my threats against Eli and his family, from beginning to end. I have warned him that judgment is coming upon his family forever, because his sons are blaspheming God and he hasn’t disciplined them. So I have vowed that the sins of Eli and his sons will never be forgiven by sacrifices or offerings.” (I Samuel 3:11-13)
“Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don’t, you will ruin their lives.” (Proverbs 19:18)
Many times we strive harder to be our teenager’s friend before we are parents. There are grave consequences when we fail to discipline our teens. Remember, undisciplined children and teens will grow up to become undisciplined adults.
Allow authority to be dishonored either directly or indirectly in your home.
Talking disrespectfully about your teenager’s teacher, coach, youth pastor, or their mother and father plants seeds of rebellion and strife within their young hearts. This NEVER turns out good!
God takes “honoring authority” VERY seriously and so should we. Remember, “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” (Galatians 6:7)
And here are 3 more ways to help guard your teenagers:
#1 Watch your words and the spirit in which you speak to them. If you’re too angry, give yourself some time to settle down before you talk to them. Build them up, don’t tear them down.
#2 Be consistent in your discipline. Remember, you discipline them because you love them, understanding what’s best for them.
#3 Watch what you say about authority figures in their lives. Teach them to honor authority. This is a lesson they must learn!