Troubled Teens and the false continuum – 3.0
While downtown at a local family event a lady commented on how cooperative our kids were. Then she said, “Enjoy them now because when they become teenagers it will all change.”
She may be a prophet and her assessment may be perfect. I don’t know. Stay tuned. Our children are not teenagers yet. Her perspective could be based on:
- Her observations of other families.
- Her personal experience with her children.
- Her unwitting buy-in to a standard cultural belief of how all kids must sow their wild oats during their teen years.
Regardless of how she came to her conclusion, she was clear: teen rebellion is an unavoidable part of every family’s life. Statistically speaking her assumption is not true.
Even if my children fulfill her prophecy, it is still not true: all teens do not rebel and all parents do not have to be saddled with unavoidable teen rebellion.
I was counseling the parents of a rebellious teen when the dad said,
He’s no different from any other teenager. When I was a teen I did some of the things he is doing. He’ll be okay after he gets this out of his system.
The difference between the lady and this gentlemen is the dad professed to know Christ. No Christian should think it’s a foregone conclusion teens will rebel. It is a faithless, hopeless, and Christ-less position. It is also not supported by God’s Word.
A false continuum
What I am describing to you is a false continuum. A continuum is a predetermined sequence of events where the elements along the path logically build one upon another until they reach a conclusion.
For the lady we met and my counselee, the sequence of events from child to teen logically build one upon the other and the conclusion is unavoidable rebellion when the child hits the teen zone.
A Christ-centered worldview would say this is not true. Sinful, rebellious kids do not have to grow into sinful, rebellious teens or sinful, rebellious adults. If a teenager is sinful, it is not because he is a teen. It is because he is a sinner.
The ages between thirteen and nineteen are no different from the ages between zero and twelve or twenty and over: people sin because they are sinners.
If we reinterpret their behavior from being a sinner to being a teenager, then we have no hope for change. If a teen must do what the