Rebellion was my mode of communication for a large chunk of my teens. I’d just as soon flip you off as say hello. I spent a lot of time suspended from school. I wanted to be drunk and with my friends so I pretty much did whatever it took to get me there. I fought. I lied. I deceived. I did unholy things. I was a ball of rage waiting to explode at the slightest trigger.
That season of my life was full of screaming, door slamming and me getting kicked out of the house.
I was hurting so much inside but I had no idea how to express it. I had no safe place to be vulnerable. So, I acted out. A lot.
Maybe you are dealing with a rebellious teenager. Maybe you are at the end of your rope.
Here’s what I needed to know. And I bet your teenager needs to know this too.
Do you love me?
I feel lost in the shuffle. I am stuck between parents, houses and families. I hate divorce. You left each other. Will you leave me? You work all the time. I think you care more about work than you care about me. You sit and watch TV shows but you never sit and listen to what I have to say. It’s like you don’t even love me.
Do you notice me?
I am here. Do you see me? Do you know me? Do you even want to know me? I feel like you spend so much time wrapped up in your own life that you don’t even see me when I am in the same room. So I go to my room and shut the door. I do that because I want to see if you notice when I’m gone. I want you to notice. I want you to knock on my door. I want you to see my tears. I want you to notice me.
Do you like me?
Do you think I’m funny or smart or pretty? Do you want to hang out with me? Why don’t you ever just talk to me? I want to know if you like who I am. I wonder if you like me.
Do you know my favorite music, what I want to become or who I have a crush on right now? If you took the time to get to know me, you might like me.
Do you want me?
I feel like I’m in the way. You are always trying to get me to be quiet or go away. Am I in your way or do you want me?
Rebellion comes in a lot of packages, from vandalism or drug use to sexual activity. But no matter the package, your teenager needs to know beyond any doubt that you are saying yes to all these things all the time. Your teen is aching to know you love her, you notice her, you like her and no matter how hostile she is, you want her and everything that goes with it.
Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. Eph. 6:4