“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” (Proverbs 12:18 NLT)
Oh, the mouth of an older teenager! It isn’t just the words, but also the tone that can cut a parent to their core. In wounded shock we may silently wonder, “Where did my sweet, respectful, loving child go?”
Your teens are struggling to figure out who they are going to be. They may be scared of the season of adulthood that awaits them just around the corner, but they also know that the being a child is no longer comfortable for them. This in turn makes parents equally uncomfortable.
In the search to “set their own course,” they have to learn how to communicate in ways that exercise their independence. It can feel like they see you as the enemy—and they very well might. We can either be the enemy trying to keep them from their pre-launch practices, or the encourager who provides a safe place for them to stretch their wings.
We can make their mouthy moments a sparring match by returning a cutting remark for the one they jab at us, but there is another option. We can choose to teach them how to share their struggles during this season of pre-launch, as well as how to communicate in ways that are not hurtful. We can be parents who encourage our older teens to move into the outskirts of adulthood without demanding they yield to us like they did as children.
What if we had the courage and resolution of heart and mind to choose wise words? A cutting word for a cutting word leaves everyone wounded. But a wise word can bring healing to everyone.