Many parents have a hard time saying “no” to their kids. This response seems too exasperating, and they do not want to frustrate their kids or make them feel like they are different from their peers.
But we must develop the spiritual side of teens and teach them when and now to say “no” to sinful desires. Letting immature kids do whatever they want will only end up causing more exasperation in their lives now and in future.
Can Neglecting the Spiritual Side of Teens Exasperate Them
Could the things that we allow our teens to engage in possibly be exasperating them? As parents, could we be provoking our teens to anger without even knowing it? Before I discuss the answers to these questions, let me preface with this: We must understand that our children are spirit/flesh beings that are warring within themselves, just like you and me. The flesh, the carnal side, wants cookies and ice cream for dinner, but the spirit, the spiritual side, is crying out for spinach and chicken. The carnal side wants unlimited freedom so it can be gratified all the time, but the spiritual side is crying out for boundaries. So remember, the carnal side is not the sum total of who your children are; therefore, you have to be keenly aware of their spiritual side and then cultivate and parent to that side.
How the Carnal Side Often Dominates the Spiritual Side of Teens
So back to the question. Could the things that we allow our kids to engage in possibly be exasperating them? Yes, I absolutely believe so. Kids are not equipped to handle some of the situations we put them in! Realistically, teens are not equipped to deal with the adult temptations of the world. However, more times than not, parents intentionally, or unintentionally, allow their kids to be exposed to all types of cultural temptations. Think about it logically. The American culture is telling kids that reality shows can be reality; rebelling against authority is right and profitable; Jesus is a hoax; drugs are beneficial; sex outside of marriage is permissible both before and after marriage; and becoming a rockstar is a noble ambition. Teens are inundated by the culture’s obsession with the “do what thou wilt” postmodern mandate on a daily basis. The spiritual side of who they are has never been properly groomed. And if the spiritual side of children, which should dominate their carnal side, never gets groomed through proper godly nurturing in those formative years, then they are poorly equipped to control their carnal appetites later on in life!
1 Example of How Neglecting the Spiritual Side of Teens Leaves Them Exasperated
Allow me to present to you a common occurrence in today’s teenage culture. Many Parents are oblivious to the implications that the common teenage Friday date-night scenario presents. First, a parent willingly allows their 16-year-old daughter to go on a date with a boy in a car without a chaperone. I can hear it now, “What’s wrong with that; it happens all the time.” Yes, it does, but is this wise? With this seemingly innocent concept, is it possible that the parents are exasperating the spirit within their daughter? Time and time again parents do this without even considering that we live in a day and age when even “Christian” kids are having sex by appointment. During the drive to the theater there is music playing in which 9 out of 10 songs are explicitly promoting illicit sexual activity, violence, and/or rebellion. Once at the theater, the two teens pay to watch a “PG-13″ or “R” rated movie that is too often one sexually explicit, sexually implicit, violent, or rebellious scene after another. In this common scenario, which is seemingly innocent to the eyes of the culture, the parents have exasperated their daughter by putting her in a situation where she is ultimately doomed to fail. By allowing the daughter to develop this form of a dating habit, the parents are cultivating the carnal side of the child. The teen never gets the chance to learn how to groom the spiritual side and never develops the proper habits that are needed to live a Godly life.
Why Parents Are Responsible for Nurturing the Spiritual Side of Teens.
Colossians 3:21 says we shouldn’t embitter our kids or provoke them to anger. Ephesians 6:4 tells us not to exasperate our kids. There is a deeper part of kids that is crying out for things to be done God’s way because they are wired up that way—we all are. Consequently, we exasperate, frustrate, and provoke them to anger by allowing them to do what so many of the “regular” kids do–movies, music, entertainment in general, seemingly innocent “dates,” and the list goes on and on. Again if the spiritual side of children, which should dominate their carnal side, never gets groomed through proper godly nurturing in those formative years, then they are poorly equipped to control their carnal appetites later on in life! It is our parental responsibility to parent to the spiritual side of our kids, so that when they come into adulthood and those frontal lobes in their brains are finally fully developed, they will have an intrinsic sense of right and wrong and will have been trained to submit to the deeper side of who they are–the spiritual side.