Not Too Late to Reach Your Teens
– Applying the Solutions (Part 2) –

Paul J. Bucknell

Part 2/5 of "Not Too Late to Reach your Teens (Applying the Solutions)" reviews the two problems most damaging to parent/teen relationships and provide concrete ways to gain hope for restoring parent/teenager relationships.

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

“Let’s Solve it!”
Let us remember that the problems that need to be solved are at two levels: the root and unseen problems (let’s assume these root problems are largely the parents’ problems) and the visible problems are a result  of the children’s bad reaction to the parent. We usually focus on the problems of the other person. It is always easier to point the finger at someone else rather than accept the responsibility for our own part (cf. Genesis 3:12). We want our children to obey. We want our children to be good and thoughtful. But all the attempts for quick solutions will fail because the more foundational problems have not been solved. It is best to see how the visible problems are related to the invisible ones so that we can work on both at the same time. It is incredibly easy to slide back into our own prideful ways. We have looked at these two causes of teenage rebellion in the former lesson, but let us review it in different words in a larger context. The two problems are stated as such:
#1) Walls of resentment exist between people.
Bitterness resides in their hearts.
#2) Learned how to respond wrongly to others.
Poor interpersonal relational responses.
Please do not be too quick thinking that you have located some certain problem of your child and believe that if that problem would be solved, everything would be fine. It is not that easy. As we go along in this article, we will deal with carrying out repairs on both the foundation and the ‘building’ itself.
Most of those who are reading this will find that they are facing long-standing problems. We should not be so insistent on quick and easy answers. The problems were largely due to the wrong decisions parents have made and lived out over a long period of time. Depending on how deep the child’s resentment goes and how long it has been continuing, we should expect that the positive change will need some time to take place. Having said that, I do not mean that it will necessarily take very long. We can hope and pray for big changes. In fact, if one side can take the steps outlined below, then the relationship will  take a turn for the better. But it  might not heal the whole relationship. Because of resentment in the other person  he has a distorted view. A parent might begin to love the child but the child just cannot see it. He is too bitter. Let’s now look at the steps of renewal.
Steps to Renewal
Let’s look at three steps for renewal. We are not going wait for ourselves to ‘accidentally’ love our children. We have wasted too much time. By deliberate acts of love, we can more quickly set things right. These three steps will provide an outline for the rest of this article. We hope from them that you will gain a head start in the restoration of your home.
    1. (1) Confess your faults
    2. (2) Make practical steps of love
    3. (3) Instruct on new parent-child relationship
Will these things make a change on the child? We cannot guarantee it. Once bitterness has grabbed hold of the heart, the evil one can easily persuade the child to think that the parents’ attempt to solve things are only a manipulation to get him to behave. In other words, the child can still interpret the gestures of love and the confessions of the parents as  being motivated from something other than love. After all, some of us parents have been acting selfishly for more than ten years. Our child knows nothing else. But love combined with prayer allows God’s Spirit to move in wonderful ways.
Finding Hope
IShaped by love: Steps of Renewal believe children desperately hope that things can get better with their parents. (They might not say this, though!) The need for love and acceptance is so deep that when the parents begin to show genuine love and care for the child, the child begins to be drawn by it. Love is irresistible. Unfortunately, the old patterns, such as anger, accusatory talk and avoidance of guilt, can arise and cover up this love. But this is where the parents need to be firm in their new attitudes and treatment of their child.
Love is irresistible!
As love proves itself genuine, the hope for real change will get stronger and stronger. Real love breaks down those hostile attitudes and replaces them with love. Our hope here is based on love being greater than hatred. God’s love won our hearts, and as His people we imitate this humble and yet persistent and aggressive love.
In the above picture is a mountain stream where my family went on a hike last year. The path is unique in that it crosses the stream again and again. The stream is special in that the rocks that form the bed of the river are extremely smooth worn away by many years of water rushing over them. They are so smooth that children slide down the river’s rock! We need to wake up and start loving our children in a similar way. It may take a while but at least we are doing what we are suppose to. Let your love flow over them and smooth away the roughness. Now let's take a look at the three steps to renew this relationship!

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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