I have heard it more than once. “Can you pray for my son. He is just going through that tough time in life that all kids go through and rebel?” It is a statement that surrenders to the idea that every kid, with few exceptions, has to go through a difficult time where they rebel against their parents. But, why is it that so many teens seem to hit a time where they want to do their own thing, and go their own direction?
I know that every kid is different, and no doubt there are many reasons kids rebel, but I think that one reason some teenagers rebel against their parents is because their families are simply boring. Here is what I mean…
Think about the average family for a minute. They wake up late, leaving no time to spend together in the morning, except to argue about who needs in the bathroom. Then off to work and school, typically sitting in the car in complete silence, or perhaps with the radio on. They spend their days separated, then the kids return home after school to an empty house that is full of nothing to do except passively watching TV and updating their Facebook status. Then there is taco night for dinner, followed by dad heading off to the living room to watch TV, mom to clean the house, and the teenage son or daughter bored out of their mind heads out to hang out with friends. When they return home, the TV is still on, like it has been for 6 hours straight. Before everyone starts winding down and heading to bed, there is some light arguing about how there is still homework to complete. The teenager slams their door shut, talks to their friends on the phone, sends a few (hundred) text messages, then falls asleep. The next day, and almost every day thereafter, the same boring routine is repeated…again…and again.
Think about this routine for a minute. It’s boring. It’s mundane. It lacks a sense of purpose. And it drives kids to look for something better to do. The trouble is they often find something more exciting in all the wrong places.
Tim Kimmel in Grace Based Parenting writes,
If we fail to address our children’s need for a significant purpose, it doesn’t mean they will necessarily end up living useless and unproductive lives. In most cases, our lack of deliberateness in grooming their sense of purpose sends them into the future with a foreboding sense of irrelevancy and far more vulnerable to Satan’s counterfeits.
Read that line again, “Sends them into the future with a foreboding sense of irrelevancy and far more vulnerable to Satan’s counterfeits.” That I believe is why many teens rebel. Searching for purpose that their family doesn’t provide, they have went out looking for it, and have stumbled across something fake. It might be a person, an activity, a substance, or something else, but they have found something that offers them greater purpose and joy than sitting around bored, watching TV all day, and arguing over homework.
What if families offered something better though? What if families offered something that catches the imagination of their kids? What if rather than sitting glued to the TV every day, they served together in a soup kitchen once a month feeding the homeless? What if families gave up their vacation one year to go on a missions trip together? What if rather than ignoring each other at home, families spent time serving in their church and community together? What if parents spent time showing their kids there is a God ordained purpose for their lives, a purpose that cheap substitutes cannot fulfill?
If this happened, I think Satan’s counterfeits would seem far less appealing to teens. I think less kids would rebel.
I don’t want to oversimplify a complex problem. Again, I realize that there may be many reasons kids decide to rebel against their parents and their values. I wonder, though, if one of the reasons kids do rebel is because their families are just so boring? Because their family lack a sense of purpose, and the counterfeits seem to offer something their family does not? What do you think?