I was reading this week about teenagers, since I will have some soon :), and I came across this interesting quote: "Low-control and low-acceptance parents produce teens with a variety of problems, including delinquency and chemical dependency. Parents who are high in control and low in acceptance (authoritarian parents) have children who are socially inadequate and lacking in confidence. Parents who are low in control and high in acceptance (indulgent parents) have teenagers with high impulsivity, low responsibility and low independence. Parents who are high in control and high in acceptance (strict but loving parents) have teenagers who are independent, socially responsible and confident. According to this research, the ideal family is one in which the message children receive from parents is: "We love you, but you must do as we say." ----from Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher.
I like the way the different parenting options or styles are described. And of course, I want to shoot for being in the category of "strict but loving parents.' For me, the issue comes down to authority. The kids need to know that they are not the boss. They need to know that mom and dad are in charge. I think each of them will try to have their own way and do their own thing if they are not 'checked' by their parents. There have to be rules. There have to be boundaries. The kids have to have responsibilities. The exact rules, boundaries and responsibilities will be different for every family, but they need to be taught consistently. For me, this has been the hardest thing about being a parent. Being consistent. I am not very good at it. But that's where God's grace comes in. I admit my weakness and fault, and move on, starting another day doing my best to be a 'good enough' parent. And, believing that God will fill in the gaps where I fall short. The parents' job is enormous emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. But we do not have to carry the load alone. I am thankful that I know that God is with me, helping me daily to do the things that I need to do. He is my strength. Daily I need to come to him and find direction and grace for my course. I know that my job is to train up my children to seek and desire Jesus. To love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. I strive (by the strength of the Holy Spirit) to teach them by example.
"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." Colossians 1:28-29