Teenagers. They are some of the most baffling of God's creation. Sometimes even more than women. If you are the parent of a teen, or have been the parent of a teen, you know what I am talking about. One moment everything is calm and then the raging storm comes out of no where. You have no idea what you said, what you did, or what you didn't do. In any case, there are remnants of a hurricane to clean up.
So what is the secret to surviving the hurricane? A “simple” formula ~ R-R=R. Okay, for those of us who hate math, or, as Dr. Dobson puts it, Rules without a Relationship equals Rebellion.
What exactly are rules? Rules aren't simply the ten commandments. Rules are the things in our lives that dictate whether we will be successful or not. Watching certain movies may be okay for me while the same movies may cause my husband to stumble. Maybe my best friend can enjoy a glass of wine, but because of addiction issues in my own life, I do not have that luxury. Does that mean God doesn't love me as much as He loves others? No. There are just certain things, Rules per se, that govern my life that are not an issue in others lives. Just as God our father wants what is best for us, so do we as parents, what is best for our children. This is where Relationship comes into play.
The Relationship is what makes the Rules workable. For example, if my Relationship with God is fractured, I envision Him meddling in my business, then I am going to struggle with the boundaries God places in my life. On the other hand, if my Relationship with God is built on trust, spending time with one another and knowing each other, then when my feathers get ruffled because God seems to be interfering in my life, I am able to separate out my feelings and remember to trust my Relationship with God because He loves me and has my best interest in mind.
The same is true with our teens. If our teens feel we know and love them explicitly and have their best interest in mind (a Relationship), then when we ask them to trust and obey us (the Rules), Rebellion has no place.
So how do we build the Relationship? One word; time. The same way I cannot be close with God and have an intimate relationship with Him if I don't spend time with him. The same way I cannot have an intimate relationship with my husband if I don't spend time with him. We must spend one on one time with our teens. Play a game. Throw a ball. Get ice cream. Go for a walk. Wash the car. Turn off the radio and listen. Anything together where you are working together on a common goal. Don't wait another minute-take some time with your teenager today and see if it doesn't build the Relationship and keep Rebellion at bay.