Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Fear of Parents

We are headed off for a training conference next weekend with our teens. The theme is "Faith Factor: No place for fear". The workshops will be addressing the fears that teens face in their lives. Our teens have signed up for three workshops apiece. I was surprised that 5 out of 8 teens attending the seminar are choosing a workshop about the fear of parents.

I am not sure what the speaker will address in this arena. I am hoping that he will be remarking on the Biblical pattern for parenting and the place for a rightful fear of parents as the delgated authority in the teens' lives. But I wonder if our teens have really become afraid of their parents. What would cause that kind of reaction?

Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Fear is generated through a lack of love (1 John 4:18). The fear of parents may be generated through a longing for love. Teens not being sure that they were loved would create a fear factor. Thoughts of "what will my parent do to me next? They are always out to ruin my life!" would be consistent with this view.

2. Fear is often grown in the absence of faith (see Mark 4:40). The fear of parents may be created by a failure to have faith in God or in the parenting of the adults. How often do we crush the faith of our teens by not leading them well. They are not really reacting to God but to us -- their representatives of God in their life. Or maybe our teens do not have any faith. they are panicked about the ir parents because they do not understand the proper place that they have in the teen's life.

3. Fear is uncertainty about the future. Teens face a host of issues with their parents today. With the Christian family unit being as likely to break apart as the unsaved family, teens are scared about the future of their family. They have a tough time thinking "this won't happen to us" when it just might! The family is no longer a place of assured rest and safety.

4. Fear may be generated by the teen hiding something from their parents. This too is anticipated by the Scriptures (cp. the reaction of Adam and Eve when they had their eyes opened; Gen. 3:8-10). Teens need to come clean with their parents. They need to rely on their parents to help them work through their sin issues, Biblically. But as parents we need to give them that confidence by not giving them a tonguelashing, but by graoning with them over their sins and working and walking with them through their consequences. (Gal. 6:1-2)

What do you think? Why would teens be scared of parents? I would love to know.

As a parent and a youth worker,
Pastor Mike