By Trace Embry
Many people don’t believe that teens want boundaries or restrictions in their lives. I’m telling you they do!
People and most parents don’t believe this because they aren’t aware of, don’t understand, or don’t believe in the spiritual nature of an individual.
A Common Misconception
Most distraught parents see their kids craving and pursuing things like illicit entertainment, drugs, sex, or a myriad of other dangerous things, and would argue that Junior is doing what Junior wants to do.
I would only agree that Junior’s carnal nature is pursuing these things; but, Junior’s carnal nature isn’t the sum total of what Junior is as a human being.
The Role of the Spirit
Secular theorists would refer to the spiritual nature in terms of the subconscious–among other things.
Because humans are created in the image of God, there is a remnant of the attributes of God in Junior, as in all people, which helps a person’s spiritual side understand and crave love, goodness, peace, joy, and relationship with others.
Security is found in all of these things–as well as in the other attributes of our Creator. There is security in boundaries. The deeper side of Junior wants boundaries for this very reason.
Unless Junior, or anyone for that matter, disciplines himself to heed his deeper side, the spiritual side that understands and craves love, goodness, peace, joy, and relationship with others, Junior will be at war within his self—just like the Apostle Paul in Romans 7.
And the more Junior heeds the cravings of his carnal side, the weaker his spiritual side becomes resulting in a greater inability to control his flesh—creating a more determined juvenile delinquent.
And without parents to help discipline a child so that his spiritual side can grow and dominate his flesh to a greater degree, Junior doesn’t fare too well. This breeds a terrible insecurity in Junior that will manifest itself in all kinds of delinquent behavior.
Why Teens Want Boundaries
Boundaries foster security. Consistently enforced boundaries foster it even more.
Security is something many teens know nothing about in today’s culture.
This is essential for emotional, behavior, and spiritual health. As parents are diligent to enforce boundaries consistently, Junior’s security level goes up—hopefully to the point of independence where Junior can eventually be self-disciplined in due time.
But the independent ability to have Junior’s flesh heed his spirit gets jump-started and grows as parents take the time to create relationships and consistently enforced boundaries with their children—not legalistic traditions; but wise and practical boundaries that make sense to you and are congruent with the heart of God and His Word.
I know this is a tough topic to tackle. I’d love to hear your insights on why teens want boundaries.