Our biblical charge to discipline our teenagers means that we cannot be passive parents. We must not think that we are helpless or without recourse to deal with our teenagers’ sin. Neither turning a blind eye nor remaining ignorant are acceptable options. We cannot afford to assume “this is just a phase” or “this is normal for his age.”
And we must not subscribe to the theory that allowing our teenagers to experience the world will make them stronger. Effective discipline of teenagers requires more than reactive parenting, which only swings into gear when a crisis hits.
Left to themselves, our teenagers will not naturally conform to the Word of God. The truth is that we all go our own way apart from the intervention of the Holy Spirit and the correction of godly friends. (This fact should help us guard against self-righteousness.) And if we ignore, minimize, or are at ease with the discrepancies between our teenagers’ behavior and God’s standard, there may be dire consequences.
That’s why J.C. Ryle strongly warned parents:
We’ll consider how to take advantage of those “means” and be proactive in discipline tomorrow.