In this final blog article, I will address the question, “With what will your teen replace his discourteous deeds?”
Below is a worksheet your can use to help train your teen to be more respectful. The ‘form’ encourages your child to rate each suggestion according to its ease or difficulty.”
Specific ways I can show respect to my parents
Using the following rating scale, identify the specific new ways you may begin to demonstrate respect to your parents in order of ease (and comfortableness) to difficulty (and uncomfortableness).
5 Easy 4 Comfortable 3 Not Easy 2 Uncomfortable 1 Difficult
____ By being attentive to them ____ By being affectionate to them
____ By expressing gratitude ____ By commending them to my friends
____ By obeying their instructions ____ By responding with “yes Sir,” “no Maam”
____ By smiling at them ____ By asking for their opinion
____ By using terms of endearment ____ By following their instructions
____ By using good manners ____ By seeking to spend time with them
____ By praying for them ____ By honoring them publicly
____ By quickly admitting when I am wrong
____ By buying them (or making them) an unexpected gift of appreciation
____ By offering to help them with their chores
____ By telephoning them if I am going to be home later than expected
____ By speaking to them in a warm and pleasant tone of voice
____ By carefully choosing gracious words
____ By holding my tongue when I am too angry to speak graciously
____ By cheerfully accepting a “no” answer from them to one of my requests
____ By looking directly at them when they are speaking to me
Additional Suggestions for Shepherding Teenage Children
Here are some addition pointers on helping your teens develop a more respectful attitude.
- Remind them that they will not always have to obey you but will always have to honor you.
- Train them to distinguish between your “personality” and “position.” They will always have people in positions of authority over them. If they learn this lesson early in life, it will spare them from a lot of misery later in life.
- Train them to listen actively and to not interrupt you while you are speaking. Much disrespect can be avoided by simply waiting until you have finished making your point before they say anything.
- Urge them to tell you “right up front” that they will do what they are asked to do. If they want to disarm you from hastily cutting off their requests due to a bad attitude, encourage them to let you know immediately that they intend to obey you. This will help to assure you that the passionate discussion that may follow will not be accompanied by a defiant attitude on their part.
- Instruct your teenagers to politely tell you and to ask you for help when they become angry. Give them a few examples. “Dad, I have purposed that I am going to do what you say no matter how much I disagree. Will you please help me express my concerns without getting angry by listening carefully to my perspective?” Or perhaps something like this: “Mom, I want to have a good attitude about this, but I am not succeeding right now because I think you are not understanding my point of view. Will you please pray for me that I will be able to talk to you about this without getting sinfully angry?”
- Secure a commitment from them that when they “lose their cool,” they will stop and ask for forgiveness immediately. Say to them, “You just may be amazed how quickly asking for forgiveness for your own disrespectful attitude can turn around a conversation with your folks that is going south.”
- Teach them how to make a biblical appeal. It is sometimes possible to change a parent’s mind—even after a decision has been finalized. The appeal process, requires them to have an attitude that is 180 degrees in the other direction than disrespect.
- Encourage them to work hard at being patient and forbearing when they are corrected. Explain: “It is our God-given responsibility (cf. Proverbs 19:18; 23:13–14; Ephesians 6:4b) to convict and correct you. It is also a demonstration of our love for you” (cf. Proverbs 13:24; Hebrews 12:4–11).
- Encourage them to be thankful for the fact that you love them enough to do what you believe is best for them. Say, “You don’t have to agree with our reasoning to believe that we love you and are trying to give you what you need.
- Help them learn how to choose friends who are characterized by being respectful. The Bible says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). Therefore, if they are going to learn how to be more respectful, they should avoid close friendships with those who are characterized by contempt for authority.”
- Remind them that they, too, are sinners. Explain that you and your spouse are not the only ones in the family who are in need of God’s forgiveness and grace. You have forgiven them of plenty. They are obligated to forgive you. Is it right for them to be angry at you for doing what the Bible says you should do (helping them learn how to deal properly with their sin problems) rather than honoring you for doing what God requires?
- Remind them that by honoring their parents, they will be blessed according to Scripture; by dishonoring their parents, they will be cursed (cf. Genesis 9: 22, 25; Proverbs 30:17). To physically or verbally abuse a parent was a capital offense under the Old Testament economy (Exodus 21:15,17; Leviticus 20:7). Check it out.
Parenting teens biblically is one of the most challenging experiences in all of life. I trust these concepts will be useful to you and a blessing to you and your teens. Thanks for taking the time to read this article. And please, don’t forget to check out my book for helping teens who struggle with anger, Getting a Grip (http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Grip-Heart-Anger-Teens/dp/1879737590/sr=1-6/qid=1169657370/ref=sr_1_6/104-5221515-0524737?ie=UTF8&s=books).
 This article has been adapted from Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens, published by Calvary Press Publishing, (800-789-8175).