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My son, age 14, is in a critical stage of his development in which he questions everything and yet believes he “knows” it all already. In a discussion on sin, I explained that the Bible teaches that it begins in a man’s thoughts. “As a man thinketh, so is he…” He dismissed that immediately by saying that’s not right. Even after showing scriptures to him and praying about it, he doesn’t appear to be accepting it too well. What advice can you give us to share with him?
Thank you.


Being the father of four teenagers currently, (and in 12 years I’ll have two more; my youngest are one year and two years old) I have experienced your situation and understand it fully.

It is a frustrating phase and even more frustrating when you deal with it the first time. I have been through times where my teenagers didn’t seem to care about our faith or what I taught them. There were times when the existence of God or the exclusivity of Christianity was questioned. There were plenty of times when the opinions of their friends seem to matter much more than the experience or wisdom of their parents.

The teen years are what I call the “perfect storm” in the process of growing up. A teenager has the mental intellect to process thoughts and develop ideas the same as an adult, but lacks the life experience, maturity and discernment to discipline that thought process and objectively evaluate the evidence. They are overly influenced by peer pressure, political correctness and suffer from a raging pride that comes with the ability to formulate opinions like an adult, while lacking the self-control that reigns in and constrains that pride. As well, they typically lack the Biblical knowledge and spiritual depth to keep them from thinking that they “know it all” and are much smarter than anyone around them.

I often joke (but it’s true) that from the years of 13 to around 20 in my children’s growth, I suddenly become the most stupid, uninformed, out of touch and completely ridiculous person on the face of the planet. Then amazingly starting around 18, 19 or 20 all of a sudden I become the guy who can answer all their questions and help with all their problems.

It’s frustrating when you’re in the “teenagers are right and parents are idiots” phase of child raising. I don’t know if everyone goes through it, but I do know that an awful lot of people do. I used to think that good Christian parents didn’t deal with these kinds of problems until I experienced it myself, and also witnessed some of the most spiritual and Godly parents that I know experienced the same thing.

On a side note, parents nowadays are handcuffed and suffer from the message that society (Hollywood, Madison Avenue) sends concerning teenagers. Just about every movie, sitcom or magazine that deals with teenagers sends out a very clear message that “teenagers are smart, teenagers have rights, teenagers are open-minded, teenagers opinions and thoughts are of equal value to any and all adults; parents are out of touch, close minded dolts whose entire life would be better off if they would simply take the advice and wisdom of their teenagers and apply it to their own lives.” It is part of the degeneration of our society that dishonors old-age and maturity and elevates youth and physical appearance.

My advice to you is to just keep planting Christian teaching, Godly thoughts and do not try to convince him or change his mind. At his age and with his “I know everything” attitude you will find it to be an exercise in futility to get him to agree with you and change his ideas. Nor is it necessary.

The good news is, that if your children see you living out your faith, and you continue to educate them about God and point out to them the evidence that authenticates our Christian beliefs, they will have that knowledge planted in their head and as they grow they will see things that validate what you have told them.

It is very fulfilling and gratifying to have your children come back to you as they grow out of this phase and tell you both directly and indirectly, “you were right and I see that now.”

Be patient, don’t get frustrated, don’t worry and don’t let it get to you. Just love them, teach them, plant spiritual seed and trust that God will manage the growth.

Readers, what advice do you have about the phase of the teenage life? How did you get your children through it? What are some ways to weather this difficult period? Put your thoughts on the message board so others can benefit from them. Go here…