Here are five good family rules that every teenager should live under.
Obey your Parents
The Bible clearly teaches that children must obey their parents because to obey them means you honor them, and we’re told to honor our own parents, so that, as the Bible says, “your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex 20:12). What this is saying is that if children honor their parents, they might live a longer life, however adult children like us are not off the hook. This commandment does not have an expiration date and we must honor them long after they’re gone.
Honor your Parents
When we don’t break the speed limit, we are honoring the law. We show that we honor the law by obeying the law, so if children (teens included) don’t obey their parents, they’re not honoring their parents. Be clear to your teens that this is what they are doing. They are breaking a commandment of God and God has said He will not promise them a long life if they don’t honor their parents. It also doesn’t qualify it by saying, “Honor your parents if they deserve it,” so parents, show you honor your own parents and teens will figure out why they should be honoring you.
Inform your Parents
Teens would do well to tell their parents where they’ll be, who they’ll be with, what they’ll be doing, and when they’ll be home. Be clear to them that if there are any changes, they are obligated to let their parents know by calling them on the phone. You don’t text about these things or email them. Teens should call their parents or at least one parent, and speak to them in person and let them know if something’s changed.
Love your Parents
Most teens might not say it, but they really do love their parents, even if they feel their parents don’t understand them. That’s okay. God loved us first before we ever loved Him or even knew Him (1st John 4:19). Parents also loved their children long before their children ever grew to love them, so teens should learn to say “I love you mom/dad or dad and mom” and not just think, “They know how I feel.” More importantly, you show them you love them by obeying and honoring them, just as Jesus said if we love Him, we will obey Him (John 14:15).
Be Honest with Parents
Trust is gained over a long period of time, but it can be lost in a split second. When there’s one lie, there are likely more, and lies have a way of being found out, so teens should always be honest with their parents. Tell them the truth even at the risk of making them mad, because parents will be madder still if they know they’ve been told a lie. I tell prisoners I work with, “I can’t really help anyone who will lie to me.” If teens lie to their parents, they’ll lose their parents trust, and trust takes a long time to be established once it’s been lost.
Parents have responsibility too of course and that is that they are to teach their children the things of God and God teaches parents to love their children and to father, specifically, the Apostle Paul wrote, “do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). Teenagers are like hormones on wheels, and sometimes they don’t use the breaks, but parents must be clear and well in advance that breaking the rules will automatically result in losing privileges. It might mean no video games, TV, no using the car, or whatever else makes them feel the pain. God shows us His love for us by disciplining us, so we too must show we care by having teens abide by the rules.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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