(This post was written by Matt Grimes, Middle School Ministry Pastor)
The other day, I read a secular article on the top ten mistakes that parents make in raising teenagers. It was a very interesting article, giving some great ideas and suggestions for parenting our teens. I want to take my top 3 and share them with you. Last week we talked about not just lecturing but helping guide our teen through their mistakes so that they can learn how to navigate them in the future. The week before we discussed the importance of not only punishing negative behavior, but celebrating positive behavior. Next on the countdown…
Parenting Mistake # 1: Not Following Through on Rules and Consequences.
How many times have you uttered these words to your teen before, “You’re grounded”? I would venture to say, many times. If you have teens, then you have been in the situation where rules have been broken and consequences need to be enforced. Most of the time we don’t have a challenge in creating punishment for breaking rules in our homes. What is challenging is what happens a few days or so after that creates a cycle of defiance with our teens. Counter to what you might think, teens are very smart. They know that if they keep on bugging us, that sooner or later as parents we will back down off the consequence. As parents it is very important for us to set clear rules in advance, as well as the consequences for acting outside of those rules, and then enforcing those consequences when rules are broken. When we consistently back down off the consequences, we communicate to our teens that the rules are not important, and that they can get away with breaking them without consequences. Now it does not mean that we do not show grace from time to time with our teen. In certain situations grace is important, and our teen needs to be shown grace. However, they also need clear consistent rules, and consequences that are consistently enforced when they choose to act outside those rules.