Updated: Sep 12, 2020
The independent phase is known to be a problematic one. This is the phase every parent dreads. Teenage boys in this phase usually become wild and rebellious. They may join bad groups, adopt bad behaviors (like taking drugs, watching porn, engaging in rape or theft, etc.) This phase is known to be between the ages of 13-17. In the teen age, a boy is called a young man or a young adult.
When Jesus was in this phase, he went with his parents and stayed back without their knowledge. Was that rebellion? No. It was a phase of independence, where he began to reason and make independent choices. Remember how his parents looked for him everywhere until they went back to the temple? Don’t miss this. They found Him sitting with the highly educated men of those days, and they called Him outside. Pay attention. He did not hesitate or refuse; he was submissive to his parents (Luke 2:52). This eliminates all thoughts of him being a rebellious child. This example depicts the principle of the independence a teenage boy gains when he becomes a teenager.
Parenting a Teenage Boy
Many parents get confused when a child becomes a teenager. Many parents are not aware of this phase and are not prepared for it. Few parents have been prepared for the several phases of a child’s development. When a child becomes a teenager, he/she begins to explore life independently. They begin to isolate themselves. This behavior is far different from the one you were used to when a child was totally depending on you. In the Innocence Phase, you enjoy this child’s company, you come home and he runs to you to welcome you back. When you are leaving, he cries his heart out. He enjoys being around you most of the time. Now, a teenager feels the need to spend more time with friends. He enjoys watching movies, reading different material, and sometimes staying alone in his room. This kind of behavior scares every parent.
At this phase, he/she becomes secretive. Sometimes the one who used to be talkative becomes quiet. When you call, he may not respond as quickly as he used to when he was still in the Innocence Phase. If you are not aware of the growth changes; you may cross the line. You may begin screaming at your child and threatening him. If you don’t exercise self-control, patience, and understanding, you can lose yourself. The teenager can be very confusing to every parent. You may say words you will later regret, or even resort to slapping and beating him. The child may get totally confused and begin to resent your presence. If you're not careful, the journey to part ways could start there. He may shut you out of his heart, and only come to you when there is a need. He cannot share his challenges with you because he is sure you will not understand them.
Creating a Lasting Bond with Your Teenager
Understand his interests.
Get involved in his affairs.
Reassure him of your support.
Become his number one cheerleader.
You may not be very interested in what he does but it is important not to show him that you are uninterested in his ambitions and interests. This is a tough call.
I remember when my son had a strong desire in many different things that seemed weird to me. There is one particular desire of his which I was opposed to. I struggled to support him, even in showing him that I was interested. His mother was wiser than I. She took much interest in what he was doing to the extent of buying him equipment to support his hobby. I was kind of apprehensive about what he was aspiring for. With time I learned to lower my expectations and join his interests for the sake of my relationship with him. I started by dragged my feet, but as I started to show him that I was interested in what he is doing, our relationship improved a great deal.
From that time, a lot has happened in his life, at times he would wake me up and tell me something he is interested in and I would think…really? I have learned not to judge him, but to ask questions and engage him in discussions about what he is aspiring for. It has worked well for us. Many times, I would give him my advice instead of judging him and pushing him away. This has helped me to win him on my side, it has become easy for him to see my point of view because he knows that I am not against him and I wish him well. This is the reason why teenagers confide in their friends more than their parents, because their peers seem to understand them instead of judging them.
The most important thing in this phase is to win your son’s heart. Remember that he thinks that what he wants to do is the right thing. His world view is very narrow, his exposure is very limited, his perception of life is still developing. He has no life experience. With the little he knows, he may think the world is over, or he that owns the whole world. You need to put yourself lower in order for him to understand you. You cannot remain standing and think he will reach your level, it is impossible. That is what Christ did for us, He lowered Himself so low to the extent of becoming like us. As if that was not enough, He continued to lower Himself to the point of washing His disciples’ feet. When He finished, He asked them, “Have you understood what I have done? Go also do likewise.” Jesus identified with us in order to win us over to Himself. Winning a teenager’s heart is very crucial for the 3rd phase, which we call the Exit or Adolescent Phase.
We shall continue the next article with this 3rd phase.