Deacon Paul and Helen McBlain

She says:

Lydia says: Ted and I have not always been on the same page as to how we handle discipline in our house and how children should be taught responsibility.

Although we have differed in our approach, our home has functioned fairly well over the years, yet two of our sons have recently challenged some of the family rules.

Our two younger sons, 16 and 17, have been tempted to smoke pot and to not always be truthful with us about where they are going and with whom they are keeping company.

Our eldest son, age 19, has been steadily following our guidelines.

I have tried to engage our eldest son to assist me in better leading the younger ones, and he has had some influence, but I truly believe that my husband should be the one who leads the family with discipline.

Ted grew up in a household and in a world that did not have rules. He is more inclined to just “allow the boys to be boys,” and lets me know I should not worry so much — that “they will be just fine.”

I, on the other hand, am very concerned that they will become involved in a situation that could lead to disastrous results. What can I do to get Ted more concerned about and involved in disciplining our sons?

He says: 

Ted says: I think we have provided a good home and our boys are OK just the way they are. They have been given a basic knowledge of right from wrong since they were little tykes. So, they tried pot. So what? They are not criminals by any stretch of the imagination. Pot is legal in some states; we just happen to live in a state where it isn’t. Our younger ones don’t have stellar grades at school, but they are involved in sports and that keeps them off the street.

I do believe that “boys will be boys,” and that they are going to do stuff behind our back. That’s what I did as a teen, and that’s what most kids do. It’s a natural progression. Lydia needs to relax a bit. She is too uptight. And she should not be engaging our oldest to help discipline our younger boys. That is my job.

What do they do?

Lydia and Ted need to renegotiate their differences on parental discipline and come together to form a united front in order to not lose control of these teens.

Honest discussion about how they each feel about areas in which they agree, as well as disagree, needs to occur, resulting in a consensus of their expectations of what the boys can and cannot do, especially outside of their home.

Ted is correct when he admits that it is his job to discipline the younger boys and is not the responsibility of his eldest son. Ted also needs to be clear to the younger boys about preferring they take the high road because today’s circumstances in our society make the notion that “boys will be boys” much more dangerous than when Ted was young.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Lydia may become more willing to trust their younger sons to make decisions, but not before they start having regular family meetings, during which household needs to be met and prospects of outside activity are discussed by the whole family.

Above all, include God in all these talks. Having God and his laws known and honored is imperative in leading teens to a bright future.

“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).