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Parental Aggravation 101

Jeffrey A. Rasche

What makes parents, who were so much fun to be with when we were little, become so irritating?

Many teens suspect that their parents got an A+ in the parenting class called “How to Aggravate Your Teenager.” After all, if it were not taught in a class, why do all parents say the same irritating things over and over? Do these sound familiar?

  1. “How did school go today?” What else can you say except fine?
  2. “Where are you going? Who are you going with? Who is driving? Be home by 11:00, not one minute later.” Didn’t America used to be a free country?
  3. “Be sure to wear your seatbelt. Drive carefully. Don’t forget to floss.” It’s a good thing parents remind us of these things. Otherwise we might drive backward down the road at 100 miles per hour with no seatbelt on and with sesame seeds between our teeth.
  4. “Turn down your music.” This one is just for pure irritation—100 percent irritation.
  5. “What’s taking you so long in the bathroom?” Do any teens ask their parents that question? The door is there so people will not know what you are doing, right?

A Time of Change

devozine, Parents FightingWhat makes parents, who were so much fun to be with when we were little, become so irritating? Think of it this way: For years your parents have been responsible for taking care of everything for you, from your food to your safety to your study habits. Then come the teen years, a time of transition between being a child under parental control to being a free adult who is responsible for himself or herself. It is hard for many teens to take on the responsibilities of adulthood without making mistakes, and it is equally hard for many parents to let go of these responsibilities. And in many cases, parents may try to save their teens from making some of the same mistakes that they made.

Love, Rules, and Freedom

Sometimes it may seem as if your parents wake up in the morning thinking, How can I torture my teen today? But actually, they don’t. Their actions come from love, and they want what is best for you. The relationship between a parent and teen is similar to the relationship between God and people. God wants us to be free, but God has rules for us. The rules are there to help us live a good and godly life, not to spoil our fun.

 

DIG DEEPER

Proverbs has much to say about the relationship between parents and children. Check out the following scriptures:

devozine Talk about It4 TS 57277897

SAY A PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for my parents, even when they irritate me. Help me to be patient with them and to spend quality time with them while I am still young. Remind me that in many ways they are a special gift from you to help me grow into the person you want me to be. Amen.

One of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother, but how can you do this when they are irritating you? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Be patient.
  2. Think before you speak. Don’t say something that you will later regret.
  3. Be understanding. For example, if you think your parents are too restrictive, consider their point of view.
  4. Spend time together. Do something fun with your parents such as taking a day trip or going to the movies.
  5. Reassure your parents that you are aware of the pitfalls of drugs, alcohol, sex, and other temptations in your life. This will help them to relax and to be more comfortable with increasing your freedom.
Jeffrey A. Rasche is a pastor and writer in Camp Point, Illinois.

—from devozine (September/October 2002). Copyright © 2002 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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