Exasperation time!

Tim Thornborough | June 12th 2014

I just loved being a dad to my young children. I was silly Dad - always making jokes and doing funny things. I was knowledgable Dad - who knew lots of cool things about how things worked. I was fun dad - they were quite happy to bring their friends over to bask in the warm glowing presence of their amazing "Super-Dad". I was happy to bask in the warm glow of their appreciation.

How quickly things change…

Almost overnight it seemed the mood swung completely. As the teenage years took hold, silly Dad became embarrassing Dad , knowledgable Dad became stoo-pid Dad, and fun Dad became painfully awkward Dad. I found it just as tough as they did - especially when, one by one, they entered radio silence, and spent more time relating to their phones than they did to me.

I had to keep remembering how completely normal this all is. The fundamental job of a parent is to raise a happy, healthy, independent and mature human being, ready to take their place in the wider world. So it is quite, quite normal that many teenagers retract into themselves and their peer group, rather like a bug turning chrysalis before it emerges as a beautiful adult. It is their way of finding the space to discover and be themselves in their own right, rather than as an offshoot from mum and dad.

I've found the words of Ephesians 6 v 4 important to remember:

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Some men mourn the loss of their adoring, dependent children, and "over-compensate" - with the danger of driving them even further away. Paul's God-breathed advice is that we should focus on the important stuff. Pray for them, share the good news of the gospel, and show them what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

The greatest earthly gift you can give them is the space and encouragement to be mature and independent in the world. But the greater gift you can give them is the encouragement to a mature faith that is dependent of Jesus, not on you.

And as they emerge from the chrysalis, all glowing with colour and gorgeous, you begin to forge a new, grown-up relationship with the joyful gift that God gave you to care for.


7:54 PM BST on June 13th
Thanks Tim, for your honesty. This is helpful.
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Tim Thornborough

Tim Thornborough is the founder and Publishing Director of The Good Book Company. He is series editor of Explore Bible-reading notes, and has contributed to many books published by the Good Book Company and others. He is married to Kathy and has three adult daughters.