Friday, 20. June 2014 by Renee Ellison
The name of the game in training adolescents over any matter is to pit them against themselves—removing yourself as much as you can out of their boxing ring. How? By continually showing them how they really box with only themselves, because they will increasingly have to live with their own results. Your goal is to help young people progressively internalize godly convictions, so that they want to please God (not you) by their daily choices.
Try to show them that if they will do this current thing which you request, it gives them an edge over their peers, or competition, or helps them have a faster head-start in life, or helps them choose their long-term self over their short-term self. Seek to show them that you are restraining them or directing them in certain directions for their own advantage.
If you are really having a rough time with your adolescent you could try a little reverse psychology. Tell them it would really be far easier for you to just lay down on the job and let them do “whatever”. Tell them, “After all, I already have a good reputation.” “I already have a paid-for house.” “I already have an education.” “My life is already set.” “It is YOUR LIFE that YOU will have to live with!” “Just tempt me!”
You might have a discussion sometime with your adolescent about what it takes to build an outstanding reputation well. Spend some time explaining that a reputation is a fragile thing; it is far-reaching in its implications. Explain that you build it day by day, action by action, and you can never get it back to rebuild it differently, if you happen to muff it up. Explain that it is not just who you know but it is who they know that you really display yourself in front of, because once a reputation gets out there in the big wide world—it soon becomes irretrievable and widespread. Your reputation flies out of the box in a hurry—like down feathers sprung from a pillowcase on a stormy day. If it goes bad, you cannot recall it from the four winds.
You could tell your son or daughter, for example, “Someone you work for might know someone else whose job offer to you will really give you the good breaks in life, later. It is not just the people you see, but the people they are related to and know among their friends where there may be the very girl/guy whom you will marry, in the future. Others simply may not recommend you, if they don’t like what they see now, regardless of what godliness is in your heart in the future.”
When adolescents see that they stand to lose real gold in their own lives, they look at your directives more seriously. Self-interest is a driving force. Therefore, you constantly have to paint the long-term self-interest in living color. Convince your child that he is building something here: building something that is irretrievable and terribly important for him.