I have ministered to teens for a couple of years now. In my experiences I have seen some pretty devastating things that have literally broken my heart. Every teenager will try your reigns and test their boundaries. They always try and do that at camp with me or during a youth function. That is the nature of teenagers. We all have been there, done that as teenagers. We all have tested our parents patience and we all have been restricted/grounded to our homes. I can remember getting into trouble and getting grounded to my home. I went to summer school twice from failing a couple of grades, that was not fun. There are consequences for our actions when we disobey our parents. I am sure you as a parent have some pet peeve buttons that your kids like to push at times and there are days where our kids seem like they are standing on those buttons and are not willing to budge! I remember seeing a commercial on the sour patch kids (My favorite candy) and how they showed one punch the lights out of a human and then it flopped over to the sour patch kid hugging on the human. Our kids can be likened to a sour patch kid!
Why do I say all of this? Here are some examples of things that can literally destroy child or teenagers relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Punishing our teenager by keeping them from worshiping with their peers!
I have seen and heard some parents use worship as a way to punish a teenager. I am not saying dragging them to worship because they are disobedient, but preventing them from going to worship with their peers because they are disobedient. We probably think we are doing something that is right in our minds, but in all reality we are preventing our teenager(s) from growing spiritually and getting plugged in. Believe it or not I have seen several teens minister to their peers in ways that I rarely see in adults and myself included! I have seen them praying together and talking among each other about their struggles and trying to help each other out! God owns our teenager(s), we are the stewards. I fear that we, as parents, will have a rude awakening when we stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and have to answer about our stewardship with our teenager(s). Not that we will lose our salvation and be sent to hell, but the rewards will definitely be limited! I cannot help but to think about what Jesus said in Matthew 18:4-6 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (5) And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. (6) But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Raising teenagers is a challenge in today’s society, much more than when I raised mine. I get that, but a disobedient teenager needs to hear the Word MORE and needs to be with their peers to connect and reach out for help if they feel the need to!
Preventing our teenager from worshiping with their peers based on OUR excuses or plans!
There are a variety of reasons here. From not getting up early enough as a responsible adult should, to my child is signed up for some sort of secular sports, etc, etc. Whatever the excuse is, frankly it is hurting our teen’s spiritual growth and the ability to connect to their peers and get plugged in to the local church. Your relationship with Jesus is YOURS and YOURS alone. It is not our teen’s relationship! We need to remember that a relationship with Jesus Christ is a PERSONAL relationship. Personal is singular it is not plural. My relationship with the Lord is and will be a completely different relationship than someone else in my family! Jesus got personal with everyone as individuals. Peter had a personal experience with Jesus in John 21:15-17 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (16) He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (17) He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Jesus was personal with Peter. He was not talking to the disciples as a whole, he was talking to Peter. It was a conversation between Jesus and Peter, no one else.
Jesus loves each and every one of us and desires that “PERSONAL” relationship with us uniquely, That is who Jesus is! It reveals to us how much He loves us! He wants to hear from us. He wants to hear from our teenagers! He wants that unique personal relationship with each of us!
How can we fix this and turn it around? We start by confession to God and repentance! We change our path and direction!
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We use Matthew 18 and ask for forgiveness from from our teenager(s)!
Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.