Parents and teenagers need not always argue about issues that are manageable. The key to managing these issues is in understanding each other’s position and in finding a middle-way solution. If we can aim for a win-win solution, that would be best, but many times it may not be possible. So, adjusting our wants with regards to the other’s position may be necessary to solve our problems. Let us take the issues of friends, money and school for example. If we try to understand the problems facing each side, from the teenager and from the parents, we can try to negotiate our way to a solution.
First, many teenagers today have friends that parents disagree with, but both sides can work on a solution. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (New American Standard Bible). The teenager has to understand that quality friends are more important than quantity. Bad company may lead to drug abuse, alcoholism, pre-marital sex, unwanted pregnancies and other consequences that are life-and-death situations. It is important then to choose our friends wisely and to refrain from others who are bad influences on us. So how do we choose our friends?
Or how do we know that they are truly our real friends? Proverbs 17:17 asserts that “A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need” (New Living Translation). If our so-called “friends” are only there when we have money or if we are in good health or if we have a nice car and a beautiful house, then they are not our friends. A true friend will be there for you even in sickness, homelessness and poverty. Of course, parents also have to understand that nothing is perfect and that these ideals may not be realized all the time because of actual, instead of theoretical circumstances.
So parents have to give their teenagers some room for error and imperfection. By learning from their mistakes, they will become better adults later. Second, many teenagers nowadays want more money, which their parents don’t have, so we need to find creative solutions to solve it. In 1 Timothy 6:10, it is mentioned that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (New International Version). Money is needed to satisfy many physical desires, but too many desires will lead to suffering.
It is important to extinguish the flames of desire through moderation. If we don’t really need something, we don’t have to possess it. We also need to be wise with our money through investments and diligent work. By finding part-time work and learning how to invest our savings properly, a teenager will learn good financial skills that he will need later as an adult. As Matthew 25:18 mentions, we should not dig “a hole in the ground and [hide]… the master’s money” (New Living Translation) even if we have only a little of it. We should invest it, and we can also find some work to earn more money that we can additionally invest.
We should also not have sudden cravings to splurge once we have a lot of money. In Proverbs 7: 20, a prodigal man “took lots of money with him… [and] won’t be home for a couple of weeks” (God’s Word Translation). Instead, we should learn how to control our emotions. Being wasteful in our expenditures will empty our bank account. Lastly, we should also be generous. As Exodus 22:25 says, “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest” (New International Version).
By learning how to give, we will receive payment in “kind” later on in the form of respect, the return of favors and other non-quantifiable intangible forms that we will appreciate later. Lastly, teenagers may need to confront their parents about their problems in school. Grades are one of the major problems that teenagers face in school. Low marks could be a consequential problem due to bad friends or the lack of money to buy learning resources. If our problem with friends and money are resolved, then we can solve our issues in school also.
But sometimes, the cause may be something else. If our ancestors were not so bright themselves, then we shouldn’t expect too much on ourselves. Or if we take some mental aptitude tests, and we score poorly, we may be faced with a biological problem that requires specialized training. But more often than not, we can improve our brain power through proper nutrition, exercise and mental conditioning. There are many books and courses in the market that will teach us on how to increase our mental aptitude. So, it may be necessary to purchase a few for the benefit of our future.
But parents should also consider that school and grades are not everything. Jesus himself was very learned, but he did not bother to prove his academic excellence by getting a respected degree from a well-known school. In John 7:15 “the Jews were surprised and said, How has this man got knowledge of books? He has never been to school” (Bible in Basic English). Indeed, school is not the only place to learn and thus, school grades are not the only proof of learning. While some people may be God-gifted, more often than not, many people learn from the “School of Hard Knocks.
” Truly, there are many successful people today, such as Bill Gates, who never finished college. In the end, teenagers are not always wrong and parents are not always right. When a proper middle-ground is reached between the two, there is peace.
Hook, S. (ed. ). (1965). Bible in Basic English. Cambridge University Press. Holy Bible: New International Version. (1978). Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. (1996). Wheaton: Tyndale House. The Bible: God’s Word Translation. (1995). Jacksonville: Baker Publishing Group. The Bible: New American Standard Bible. (1997). Anaheim: Foundation.
Courtney from Study Moose
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