Teenage Stereotype - True or False?
September 21, 2021
I have three kids, two of them are in or close to the age of a teenager. Because of that and also as a parent, my conversations with others often involve the topic of teenagers. No matter if we talk about their behavior, their life-style, their fashion style, their self-view, their self-esteem, their self-value, their hobbies, their dreams and expectations...the conclusion of the conversations always seem to wind up the statement, "Simply because they are TEENAGERS."
I thought “teenage” was just a term for an age group which also brought about a certain understanding. For example, when we think about a young adult we should be thinking about a person who are become fully responsible for their own decisions and who is almost fully independent. Concerning teenagers, in my understanding or maybe from a parent's perspective, I will say they are an individual who in the progress of learning how to take responsibility. They are learning about the true consequences of the choices they make including what they can handle and what they cannot. As they go through this age group and process, they will also begin to realize how much more there is to learn and will also start to take this question very seriously: who do I want to become?
They want to become independent, but the reality is most do not know what independence truly means. They believe independence means that they can do what they want when they want and how they want, yet do not fully realize the true responsibility that they take on when they seek independence. Because of this process, there are some clear changes that we begin to see in them and their behavior.
They want to make their own decision.
They want to feel respected and trusted.
BUT sometimes, somehow, some of them also begin to realize some truths as well.
They experience consequences of their decisions that they are not ready for.
They do not understand that being respected is also requires that you give respect. Respect must be earned through proving they can trusted, respecting others when they are questioned, respecting others when they receive advice, and even respecting others if they disagree with them.
Because of these realities, conversations can often turn into conflicts, and it can be easy to allow these emotions to push them to react in an unpleasant way. However, sometimes, somehow, there are some who can avoid this period of behavior that we refer to as a TEENAGER. As parents, we must walk alongside them with understanding, patience, gentleness, and especially with love. We must be a good example for them and show them what the path that leads to being an adult looks like. Remember, we have all been there and we must seek to find a way to help them understand that path in a way that they can receive. Do not judge or tease or joke about their fallings, instead be a grace giver. Never put them into the category of the “Teenage Stereotype” and tell yourself it will be alright. This is our job! As God has commanded us, we are to train them up.
Before we end let me remind you, as a parent your child is the first disciple you have been assigned to. We must love them just as we would love anyone, including ourselves. We must be a good example to them just as we seek to be a good example to others. We must serve them, train them, and love them the way that Christ has done those things for us. When we fall, Jesus pick us up, and now it is our turn to help them see Jesus.