All families have problems and all families fight. When people live together for a long time, they are bound to disagree and to get on one another's nerves. Exodus 20:12 tells us to "honor our father and mother" but as teenagers, we may remember countless conflicts with parents.
God gives both parents and children some explicit commands in Exodus and in Ephesians 6:1-4: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Arguments don't have to tear families apart. When a fight breaks out in your family, remember these tips:
- Be patient. Losing your temper will only make things worse.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Every story has at least two sides. Try to see the situation from each person's perspective.
- Compromise. You can almost always find middle ground. Seek a solution that is a win-win for everyone.
- Agree to Disagree. When you are unable to find middle ground, sometimes the best thing you can do is to agree to disagree. Then let it go and move on.
- Be like Christ. Remember that Jesus loves all of us, including the person whom you are arguing with. Always be respectful, considerate, and kind.
- Above all, if you lose your temper as a parent, tell your child you are sorry and that you love them.
What are some challenges of being a parent? Of being a teenager?
How can you respect and honor each other?
Trust that God is at work in your family. Our God is a God of relationship, who invites us into God's family. When our families get along, we see a beautiful reflection of God's love - family members who serve, listen, communicate clearly, and set healthy boundaries; who bear with one another and forgive as God forgives them (Colossians 3:13). Watching family members fight can be painful, but we believe in a God of never-ending love who invites us into a family of love. God never gives up on us or on our families. God fights for us even while our family members are fighting. That is good news!