Don’t Provoke Your Teenage Children to Anger

Don’t Provoke Your Teenage Children to Anger

Children, including teenagers, should treat their parents with respect (Ephesians 6:2). But it cuts both ways. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger” (Ephesians 6:4). Of course children can get angry for no good reason. But the point is: Don’t give them a good reason. That would include things like treating them rudely in front of others. C. S. Lewis gives good counsel:

We hear a great deal about the rudeness of the rising generation. I am an oldster myself and might be expected to take the oldsters' side, but in fact I have been far more impressed by the bad manners of parents to children than by those of children to parents.

Who has not been the embarrassed guest at family meals where the father or mother treated their grown-up offspring with an incivility which, offered to any other young people, would simply have terminated the acquaintance?

Dogmatic assertions on matters which the children understand and their elders don't, ruthless interruptions, flat contradictions, ridicule of things the young take seriously — sometimes of their religion — insulting references to their friends, all provide an easy answer to the question, "Why are they always out? Why do they like every house better than their home?" Who does not prefer civility to barbarism? (C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, 42).

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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.