It is not a shock that there are conflicts between teenagers and adults. I mean there are conflicts between adults and adults. But, so much of what goes on within families, mainly between parents and their kids,doesn’t have to be so difficult. Proverbs 13 has some advice on how these relationships can work out a little better.
Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. – Proverb 13:3
This advice actually goes both ways. Teenagers would do well to not talk back to their parents. I know if I were to talk back to my mom growing up, I probably should fear for my life. Listening is wise for both adults and teens. We are so quick to respond, but listening involves not responding for a moment. You might make some real progress in your relationship with your family members if you would just listen to them instead of immediately ripping them apart with your words.
The reason this matters so much is because it deals with far more than just a relationship with a person in your home. It deals with your relationship with God.
Where there is strife, there is pride,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice. – Proverbs 13:10
At the source of all of this fighting is pride. What is pride? Pride is having a very high opinion of yourself. Pride looks at rules or instruction from anyone in authority and says, ”I don’t need that, I know better.”
We are instead to be humble. What is that? Humility realizes that you are not perfect and could use some input from other people.
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
turning a person from the snares of death. – Proverbs 13:14
You want to have success in your family or adult relationships, then listen. When you listen you part with your own idea of how important you are and accept that someone might have your best interest in mind. Again, this goes both ways.
Advice: “Choose your friends wisely”
This could be a source of tension for both kids and for parents. A speaker at a recent retreat said that friends are like elevators, they either take you up or take you down. This is what the Bible teaches us as well.
Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm – Proverbs 13:20
Peer pressure is a hard thing to figure out. So many people will tell me that their friends do not influence them. Really? That is not what it says here. The people who you hang around will influence your life in some way. It is true that you can influence them as well, but it is important to be wise about who you spend a lot of time with. Adults might have a high standard for their children, but are often influenced themselves in negative ways by their friends. This is something to model and expect in the home.
If you understand who you are as a child of God and what you value as one who belongs to Him, you will know who to hang out with and who to avoid. You don’t want to put yourself in a place where you have everyone ganging up on you to do something wrong. You need people, wise people, friends who will stand up with you and choose God’s way.
Walk with the wise, grow wise; walk with a bunch of fools and suffer harm.
I have had numerous people who were the life of the party in high school share some of their struggles over the last few years. Many of them have recognized that the road they traveled earlier in life and the people they hung out with, only led them down a path of foolishness. They have suffered as a result.
Your friends, while maybe nice people, should not have the final say in your life. If they don’t like you for who you are, why do you stress about it? Their opinion doesn’t matter, don’t let it get to you. Choose respectful, wise friends and your family will appreciate it and later in life you will come to appreciate it as well. You will be able to look back with far less guilt over your life. Parents need to make sure they model this for their kids.
As a side note, I want you to know that I am not saying you never hang out with people who are not believers. Clearly Jesus taught us the importance of reaching all people with the Gospel. I am just talking about being wise about who you allow to influence you because not everyone will lead you on the right path.
I know there is so much put into the disparity between teens and their parents. I want to encourage all involved to understand that these years are important years. Do not check out from each other because it is difficult. Make every effort to understand each other. Listen to each other and live out what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.