How do I help my teen? He does not want me speaking into his life.

MailbagMy teenage son, Forrest, (17) is upset with me because I want to put accountability software on his computer. He says I’m too intrusive and it’s weird for a mom to be checking up on him.

My impulse is to do it anyway, regardless of what he says. I would like to make a case to him about why I want to do this. We are a Christian family and I’m sure there are clear biblical examples of accountability. How would you advise me?

Hello [Claire],

Thank you for your question. I appreciate you asking. I also appreciate your desire to care for your son. You’re thinking correctly for sure. It’s not all that common for parents to engage their children, especially as they reach their high school years.

In my world it’s usually because there has not been ongoing and consistent relational interaction from their youth. By the time they are teens, the kids want less and less to do with their parents.

The idea of honoring, respecting, being kind, and biblical love is lost on many kids today. There is culpability on the parents, mostly through a lack of modeling, but what I read in your comment, there seems to still be hope with your son.

You have been doing some things right to be able to at least have this dialogue and he is not totally dissing you. The “ice” may be thinning in the relationship, but it reads as though there is hope.

Let’s go deeper into the problem

If you are married, the first question is about your husband. Because I don’t know you, I don’t want to assume your marital status. If you are married, what does your husband say about this? What advice or direction does he provide?

A husband is the wife’s protector, as well as her lover. He should be providing directive care, while showing supportive unity in the marriage. Sometimes, though probably not in your situation, teens are disrespectful of their mothers because respect has not been modeled in the marriage.

Disrespecting spouses will breed disrespecting children. This is an act of anger or frustration toward their parents, which becomes a reaction to how they think about their parents. There are two reasons I bring this up:

  • A child who disrespects his parents has deeper issues than simply the request made to him.
  • If you want to help your child regarding his behavior, you’ll have to deal with the underlying

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About Rick Thomas

Rick has been training in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1997. After several years as a counselor and pastor he founded and launched his own training organization in order to encourage and equip people for more effective living. In the early ’90’s he earned a BA in Theology. Later he earned a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry and in 2000 he graduated with a MA in Counseling. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow with ACBC. Today his organization reaches people in every country through consulting, training, blogging, and coaching.
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