Question – When a teenager (boy) defies the parents here and there, what recourse do they have?
Not knowing the story, I’m going to try to give a shotgun kind of answer. Everything is general, you understand. God’s wisdom will be needed all along the way.
First of all, the father of the young man needs to own the responsibility for the situation in the family (Eph. 6; Col. 3). He needs to do this by confessing the sin of the family to God and to everyone involved in the situation. In addition, he needs to confess the son’s sins as his sins. He also needs to tell the son that he is owning the sin and that he is very sorry the son is going through what he is going through.
In addition, both parents need to consistently confess their own sin, to God, to one another, and especially when they sin against their teenager. They need to live the kind of life in front of their son that they want the son to live in front of them. Their life is usually mirrored in the lives of their children. Children usually grow up to be just like their parents. If the parents are angry people, their kids will be angry. If they are bitter, their children will be bitter. The kids often don’t get angry in the same ways or at the same kinds of things, but they get angry just the same. On the flip side, kids need to see their parents living the life of Christ in front of them. So, if the parents have been living less than perfect lives in front of their son, they need to begin the restoration process by confessing their own sin and asking their son to forgive them.
Parents can’t usually spank their disobedient teen (usually too large), but they can create an atmosphere where the teen knows they are out of fellowship when they disobey. I don’t think the parents should mope or become grumpy, or angry when they are disobeyed, rather they should pour on the service, love, and kindness to the disobedient teen. They should pour “burning coals” on his head, so to speak.
Next, they need to step back and examine what is actually going on and why. Is the son constantly throwing tantrums? Is he constantly angry? Or is it only occasionally, and often low level anger?
Then, if the youth seems to be responding to something the parents are doing or not doing, the parents need to test themselves to see if they are being nit picky, or unjust in their expectations. Do they have commands for every little thing? Are they treating their teen like he is a little boy? Are they expecting too much? Too little? Parent should be tight on the commands when the kids are little and withdraw the rules was the child grows older. Often, however, parents do just the opposite and create a Hell on earth, by clamping down when they should be lightening up. If this is the case, they may need to change the commands they give. They might be creating the problem by the kinds and number of commands given. Commands to teens need to be more principial and general, rather than specific and tight.
When teen sons need correcting, it needs to be remembered that the child knows what he has done wrong. He doesn’t need to be reminded or yelled at. He should be respected and loved, even in the process of correction. This doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t be held accountable for what he does wrong, he should, but it should look different now that he is a teen than when he was six or seven. I suggest that the parents seek a way to come alongside their son to help him live rightly rather than yell at him to have him stop living wrongly.
Finally, both the parents and the teen need to remember that teens are in a very strange situation in life; he is grown-up in many ways, and at the same time still a child in many ways. Parents often look at their teenage son and see a two-year-old. But he is too big to spank and his voice just changed. He’s a man, but not really. He is confused and so are the parents. Both need to realize the crazy time they are living in and adjust to it accordingly. But sin is still sin and should be addressed and dealt with in a godly way. Confession, repentance, forgiveness and hugs. Don’t forget the hugs.
I hope this helps.