Jesus taught people with parables 2012 years ago, and I believe he still uses parables to teach today. This summer up at the ranch, I saw a similarity in riding horses, and parenting a strong willed teen. Strong willed teens are much like strong willed children. The difference now being, that like a horse, a teen can be dangerous if not in control. Some kids are just easy, you give them a stern look, they behave. Not so for others. If you have a teen that pushes the limits, you must constantly position yourself in a place of authority.
I’ve learned that this is not done verbally, but with courage and “parenting strength”. If you are feeling like your teen is running the show, you need to use your parenting muscles. I discovered the hard way, that gaining respect from one of my children, meant taking measures that would seem extreme for my other children. For this child’s own safety, and our sanity, taking away privileges included music, phone privileges, and even locking up some favorite clothes to earn back. A position of strength does not include a physical or verbal confrontation, but skill, and patience.
Back to the horse, remaining calm, relaxed and having a plan will strengthen the trust in its rider. It is much the same with kids. The good news, strong willed children have great character traits, when they use them positively. There are many life lessons in the things we do. I have noticed more and more, that Jesus teaches me and my children life lessons all the time! Look around, is Jesus teaching you something with a parable?
Laura Nickel is a mother or five, a Child Development Specialist, Artist, and Teen Quest volunteer.