Apr 14

Proactive Not Reactive

2009 at 5:53 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Motherhood | Parenting Teenagers

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:

Beware of that miserable delusion into which some have fallen,—that parents can do nothing for their children, that you must leave them alone, wait for grace, and sit still. These persons…desire much, and have nothing. And the devil rejoices to see such reasoning, just as he always does over anything which seems to excuse indolence, or to encourage neglect of means.


We’ll consider how to take advantage of those “means” and be proactive in discipline tomorrow.