I have the unique opportunity at Shepherds Hill Academy (SHA) to work side by side teens and families in crisis.
In my work with teens, from all walk of life, I have found they can be very candid about the things they want more than anything.
Today’s Teen’s #1 Desire
At least twice a year, at our SHA graduation dinners, I am often told by our teens of what they desire more than anything from their parents.
Surprisingly, I get a congruent answer from nearly every kid I ask: Enforced Boundaries.
One boy said he wanted his Dad to give him boundaries and enforce them. He went on to say that he was an out-of-control teen and needed his parents to help him control himself.
Can Parents Provide Boundaries?
This particular kid even went so far as to ask his Dad to enforce boundaries.
Sadly, his Dad responded with, “I don’t have it in me.”
As we talked further, this young man and all the boys in the group, admitted they resent their parents when they attempt to appease them by buying them things or allowing them to do things and go places that even they know aren’t healthy for them.
Kids smell weakness.
A parent’s weakness makes a kid feel insecure; so, they attempt to find security in other things–like sex, drugs, rock and roll, gangs, and guns—things that make parents insecure.
The Answer: Parent to the Spirit
Augustine said, “Lord, you have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till we find our rest in You.”
Our kids today are crying out to feel what God intended them to feel—alive. Of course, if we don’t feel pain it’s likely we are dead. This is right where our kids live today. They are dead; but, it’s a spiritual death.
Like all of us, they don’t know it, but they are attempting to balance their spiritual self with their carnal self. I have written extensively on this; but, it’s essentially to the degree that their spiritual side can dictate the actions of their flesh (their carnal side) emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical beings.
This can only happen as we get into stride with the ways God intended us to conduct our lives. And, according to the teens I work along side with, they actually want their parents to help them navigate this concept.
The “Way” to righteousness, peace and joy, and the “Truth” about how to experience all three; result in the abundant “Life” of all three–the very thing that teenagers and adults, alike, are seeking in all their vices, carnal pleasures, and ecstatic experiences the world offers today.
All three, righteousness, peace, and joy, can be found in the Creator of all. It’s what the Bible, through the pen of Paul and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, calls the Kingdom of God, which is within all those who believe.
Your teen is crying out for you to appropriately create, establish, and enforce boundaries within your home. By doing this consistently, you will empower his spiritual nature and he will truly experience the Kingdom of God. This is truly what your teen wants more than anything.
Conversation Starter: What are some practical steps you can begin taking in regards to setting up and enforcing boundaries within your home?