Tired Parents (+) Teenagers = Civil War
Mom and Dad of a teenager, I know you are tired. Your heart begs for a reprieve from the onslaught of rolling eyes, caustic tones, and raging hormones that have overtaken your once sweet, loving, and adoring child.
Your household has shifted from a tranquil place that you knew how to control and navigate, to a civil war zone led by a teen rebel that pushes every boundary you spent years establishing. The daily battle has you ready to wave the white flag of surrender hoping for a measure of peace.
My sweet, tired friend…this is HUGE lie from the enemy himself.
The Politics of a Family
Your family began as a Dictatorship the moment your sweet baby (now a teen rebel) was conceived. You had complete decision making authority and over time became quite successful and even comfortable in your role as Dictator. That Dictatorship was necessary for a season so your child could have an example of what a safe and secure life should look like.
As they got older, your household should have transitioned to a Democracy. In this Democracy, your child should have begun to have a say in things and learn to trust his/her self in the process. You as the parent kept the rights to veto and override anything that didn’t line up with your family’s core values and beliefs, but you also showed your child levels of respect in the things you allowed them input over. During this time, they will have made some poor choices and as a parent you should have allowed them to experience the results of some of those decisions with love and guidance. The trick during this time was to be sure you didn’t crush them as a domineering Dictator or protect them from consequences completely as a Monarch might do.
As they enter teen hood, a Civil War erupts in your nice Democracy as they begin trying to figure out how to manage their own space and territory. As parents, we know they are not ready…as teens they believe they are. In this season, they push every boundary trying to gain more independence and control moving away from blindly accepting things they have accepted before.
I know this is very difficult (we are living this ourselves) but it is part of the process. Our goal as parents is ultimately to allow our children to establish their own “Nation” and have the skills and tools to run it with wisdom. How do they develop those tools? The tool kit is built during the Dictatorship, Democracy, and Civil War stages they experience in your home as they grow up. If you as parent surrender too quickly, you run the risk of your child setting up their own country, but not being able to manage it. They may forever be the country that needs a bail out because you gave up too soon—because you were too tired to keep parenting—-and we both know you don’t want that.
Now is not the time to throw in the towel. You started this race, and you need to finish strong! There is an entire future at stake…your child’s!
Here is a prayer and scriptures that may help you during this season to help you stay on course and not throw in the white flag of surrender.
Dear Lord, Your word says that there is a season for everything. I find myself in a season of battle with my teenager, and I am tired. I choose to wait on you so you can renew my strength. As my strength is renewed in this season, I gain courage to stand strong and continue in this race of parenting that you have called me to run. Help me run this race to win it so that I may obtain the prize. So as I continue day by day Lord, help me not grow weary in doing the good things required of me as a parent and help me trust that when the time is ripe I will see my child standing strong in their faith and full of wisdom and confidence not only in their own abilities to manage their lives but also in You.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…
Isaiah 40:31 They that wait upon the Lord share renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Galatians 6:9 Let us know become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
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