Regaining the Hearts of Your Teens
– Discovering the Root Problems (Part 1) –
Paul J. Bucknell

  • Part 3/5 of "Not Too Late to Reach your Teens (Discovering the Root Problems)" specifically addresses the reasons teenagers rebel against their parents. This article focuses on the first problem of resentment and anger (blows up). A special expanation on why people get angry so quick is also given.

    Problems (Part 1): Family Problems | Solutions | Problem #1 | Problem #2 | Delinquency
    Solutions (Part 2): Barriers | Let’s Solve it! | Confession | Steps of Love | New Relationship

    Why do our teens rebel?
    I would like to focus on two reasons why our children rebel and get so arrogant? By the way, do not be deceived. If your child complies with your request but does it with a poor attitude, know for sure that the child is in passive rebellion. Because of your strong hand, they do not openly rebel. But give them time and room, and you will see your maturing child reject you and your life.
    I want to talk about two problems. There are many other things that can be said, but we need to get down to the roots of why our teens rebel. Later we will come back and show how this is related to our love for God.
    1) Children build up resentment. They lack their parents’ love and anger builds up.
    2) Children have learned to rebel. Children learn how to handle relationships through the way their parents handle relationships especially in their marriage.
    1) Children build up resentment.
    As we start, let us think a minute. Let me pause and ask you a few questions:
    1. Do you talk with your child about life?
    2. Do you know the greatest fears, struggles and joys of your young ones?
    3. Do you really care what struggles your child is going through?
    Giving rides and lessons does not count. If you do not talk with your child, your child knows that you really do not care about them. Money and gifts do not form love. Love is shown in a relationship where through your words and actions you show a heart commitment to their welfare. A young person desperately needs this kind of personal care. When it is not present, they are very wary of gifts. One cannot buy love.
    Now let me give you a situation. Say there is a misunderstanding between the parent and the child. In the first situation, the child does not feel loved. The second situation the child does feel loved.
    1) Don’t feel loved. This parent has not shown that they really care for the child. Or at least, the child does not feel loved. So when a misunderstanding occurs, hostility quickly arises. Resentment is longstanding anger over past matters. Each event further builds upon the old. Even if the argument is over a small thing, the child (and often the parent) jump up in anger. Usually, the anger just settles down, but it still remains in the dormant state called resentment.
    More important, this resentment distorts how a young person understands various situations between them and their parent. This is the source of much rebellion. The real issue is not just that one situation but the many unresolved ones underneath.
    2) Feel loved. The parents have shown love and concern for the child.  The parent approaches the child about the misunderstanding. There are no old resentments to make the child ‘react’ to the parent. They start off disagreeing as above. The problem might be resolved. But perhaps the young person abused his or her privilege. There might be some consequence given out. For example, they stayed out beyond the time agreed upon.  The young person apologizes and accepts the consequence. Their relationship is quickly restored.
    Anger’s Splash Over Affect
    In order to understand anger, it will help us to look at this illustration. Let’s say that each time a person gets angry, he has a certain amount of anger that builds up. God has equipped us with a certain capacity, say a little more than that amount. If we get angry, our tank gets full. Some drops splash out in the form of mean words but not much. Those drops are like acid and hurt those around them.  
    God, fortunately, has given us several outlets where that anger can dissipate away. So that with time the anger subsides and it, so to speak, drains out. But when it happens several times, the pipe clogs. So there remains a pile up of anger inside. Now, however, when that same amount of anger arises from a situation, much more splashes over. It can no longer fit in. More people are hurt.
    We have several outlets of anger where the anger can escape. But after a while this happens again and again, more outlets are plugged and the residue pile of anger grows, allowing less room to contain the anger that arises from a new situation. When the anger arises this time, much anger splashes over in many different forms hurting those closest to them.
    Resentment and bitterness that is stored up will always cause more and more problems including spiritual, health and relationship problems.  anger's splash effectPerhaps now you can better understand why every time you talk to your teen about some issue, it becomes a terrible argument. You just do not want to talk to him or her anymore.
    When you see you or your child blowing up, you should recognize that there is a deep level of unresolved anger or bitterness between you and your child. Your child cannot feel your love through the lens of this anger. Before your child will be able to rightly relate to you and build a level of trust, this resentment must be eliminated. You as a parent need to take the first step.
    Now, remember, this anger piled up over a lot of time. Also remember that if you have anger spill over, then you too have resentment piled up inside you. Before you can care for your child, you need to rightly handle your own unforgiving heart through getting forgiveness from God.
    Many difficult communication problems are sourced right at this spot. This is the reason Jesus told us that we always must forgive. If we do not forgive, then we lose our capacity to love. It is here that we see the amazing power of forgiveness. It is only through Christ we can gain a true forgiveness that cleanses us from the power of past sin.
    A child will be less forgiving, if they see that you don’t love them. The statistics show that parents spend very little meaningful time conversing with their young people. I know, you think the child does not want to talk. You try, but they resist. But this is often due to a longstanding pattern of non-concern. Deeper issues must be dealt with before you can resolve this particular problem.
    Most children in this society feel like they are good for only one thing–a tax discount. Otherwise, they hear statements like this from Mom, “Oh, oh, it is summer vacation again.” That translates over to mean that the parents do not want their children at home. They do not like to be with their children. Have you ever said this? Have you ever wished that they did not have a vacation? Why? This lack of love forms a plug over the forgiving outlet. Resentment builds up. They can easily think, “Why should I forgive my Dad when he doesn’t love me?”
    Part of this comes from the result the way parents focus on getting ahead. Parents are so busy making wealth that they have forgotten God and their family. Dad always wants to please the boss so that he can be promoted and get higher raise. He says he will do this and that with his child but is quite willing to have some office work to keep him from keeping his promises to his child.
    What about Mom? Why does she work? Does she have to? She wants to feel important. She wants the financial freedom. But then she can’t spend that time with her child. But maybe she doesn’t want to. Perhaps the child has even heard that he or she was a mistake. This can destroy a child.  Can you see why the child hates being at home. No one really cares for him. I know the parents pay high tuition and give expensive gifts to their children, but this is not what they want or need. They need to be wanted. If we are motivated by genuine concern for our children, then they have a high forgiving power. But without this love, the love that we do show is not seen as that.
    Many of us, as parents, also need to learn about love. For example, did you parents prioritize relationships or did they put work ahead of everything? Many of us, including me, have so much to learn about love and relationships. This is part of the glorious gospel of Christ.  
    I know, from the parents’ perspectives, they have gone way out of the way to help their children. They have made sacrifices. They have worked hard. They see that they are doing it to get ahead, but in fact what happens, is that because they are are struggling so hard to make the child well off, that they actually neglect the child.
    Deep down the problem is that the parents really do think that wealth makes for a good life. You can see it in every one of their decisions. So how does this work with a Christian? In some cases, the Christian is not really a Christian at all. Their chief love is wealth and with that idol they will be buried. But others, those that really are Christians, have not really understood how Christ makes a difference in their personal lives. I have found that our faith is put to the test in a number of critical family decisions.
    1. Is the job more important than the Lord? Do you compromise?
    2. Do you make job decisions that ignore responsibilities to one’s spouse or the children?
    In a positive sense,
    1. Do you love your children?
    2. Do you esteem your position as husband and wife? Is it something you value?
    3. Do you love your spouse?
    4. Do you love God more than all?
    5. Do you believe that the Word of God has the answers for life rather than education?
    In the end, we must see that the problems we have with our children are caused by our affair with wealth, our neglect of our spouse, our unwillingness to develop a true relationship with our children.
    Remember the chart. The end goal is to be friends. You will not be boss but a friend. You are transferring love and wisdom into your child so that they can live great lives. Because of that, they just end up being one of your best friends. They will want to talk to you. They will even share some of their problems with you that they are going through. They will trust you and want your input. Your child will want to be with you, and you will want to be with him–just like a good friend.
    Resentment ruins everyday conversations. Now let’s look at the second root reason so much problems exist in the family. Next =>

    Problems (Part 1): Family Problems | Solutions | Problem #1 | Problem #2 | Delinquency

    Solutions (Part 2): Barriers | Let’s Solve it! | Confession | Steps of Love | New relationship

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    Biblical Foundations for Freedom

    Paul J. Bucknell

    Please notice the BFF articles on eliminating bitterness and anger from one's life below!

    Marital bitterness always cast a dark shadow on the lives of children. Check out Replacing Marital Bitterness with Forgiveness
    BFF has three sets of materials on anger.