Teaching Respect to Teens

"And the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering ...
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect."
Genesis 4:4-5
Why did God accept and respect Abel's sacrifice and not Cain's? Do you realize we cannot demand respect but it must be earned through obedience to God and His ways?  God cannot go out to war with us parents and give us success in our parenting practices, unless He is our General in this warfare. He must be the One in charge, in order to gain our teen's respect. He is the heart Dr. Do you come to Christ before you correct or instruct your teen? Do you take your teen to Christ to be empowered to choose right over wrong? 
Humanity without God cannot change the heart, which is the central issue in the matter of respect. So, we need God's indwelling. John 15:5, John 5:30, Ezekiel 36:25-28 We the parent must give up our right to be easily provoked and instead show them Christ in us. I Cor 13:5.  
Working with our teens is a bit more complicated than it was with teaching and training our children. Teens often have their habits of thinking and responding already well in place and habituated. Our former ways contributed to their ways. They have history issues which play into their immediate response to us. This can be good or bad. Self is usually on the throne of their heart which isn't good. Dealing with teens is more like a remodel than a new structure. With our teens, we often need to come to them asking for forgiveness for not teaching or exemplifying to them the right way in the first place. Then with Christ as our Teacher, under His Leadership; we need to share with them practically how to say yes to God to do His will and way, thus saying no to the fleshly habits and ways of thinking. We must teach (deals with the mind) and train (their will), that they need Christ. In Him they too can change!!  
Evaluating our own example of responding to their mistakes and wrongs, is a good place to start. Our thoughts, responses and actions need to change. We need Christ in us in order to change. We need to be sensitive to His leading and follow Heaven's wisdom in how to win them back. They see us change but they need time to be convinced this is the new you. They can learn to respect you once again. Youth long to respect you but first we have to get their attention and with God earn their respect. In Christ, now, we can truly help them change.  
Let me give you an example: ' Cool Jace ' was an angry fourteen year old, habituated by an alcoholic father to think that he was nothing and never would be anything. Seeing and hearing he was bad he believed it and took it in. Jace was inclined to resort to angry, vengeful words and would be harsh, have hurtful ways to those around him, and he displayed a disgruntled countenance towards everyone. He thought everyone was out to harm/hurt him. So, he would hurt others out of self-protection. He did try to be good and change, but his attempts ended in such failure that he believed all the demeaning words he had heard about himself from his father. He saw God as such an unfair, exacting, cruel authority over him that he came to the point of rejecting Jesus. His mother truly wanted him to find God. She never intended him to be hurt by her divorce . His new step-father, who truly loved him was not accepted but resisted and resented. His biological father was a cruel man that didn't love him, yet Jace was attracted to him. He told us later that he truly saw himself just like his father.
A visit to our house was a last-ditch effort of the mother for help. We were kind and respectful to him, but he was rebellious of all authority. He repeatedly threw stones at our sons to try to harm them. He disregarded any instructions in the sports we played together, belligerently doing his own thing. He repelled our interest in him. At worship he was disrespectful and refused to sing, read, or answer questions put to him. Jim took the role of authority in our home, and with the parent' s permission , he called Jace to pray to God for surrender. Jace needed to choose to do what he knew was right. Jim explained his need to surrender to Jesus in order to be empowered to live and do right. You can't do this on your own! Jim offered undesirable consequences when entreaties were ineffective. We all prayed during this decision process, quietly and individually.
Jim entreated one last time, "Jace you need to surrender to Jesus, who loves and cares for you and wants to bring you out of this mean, evil way of life you are choosing. You are not happy, nor is anyone around you. You need a power outside of yourself to do this. You need Jesus; you can't do it apart from Him. All you need to do is repeat this prayer I'll lead you in. The Holy Spirit is that still small voice suggesting you try God. You can choose the easy way-God's right way-or the hard way-self's way of consequences. The choice is yours."  
Jim led in prayer, and Jace hesitantly chose to surrender; he did cooperate and prayed with Jim. The prayer included his need for Jesus to come into his heart and take charge, in order to change his heart from being cold, harsh, and mean. Instead of doing what comes natural, Jace needed to accept Jesus ' heart of kindness and also accept Jesus ' love for him. Only Jesus could subdue his heart in order to change him on the inside. Jesus would implant His heart of love in Jace when he surrendered. This would make his life worth living again. We'll help you Jace! Tears came down Jace's face--God was getting his attention and Jace wanted to believe it. Jace genuinely surrendered, believing those words as he prayed them out loud. God had opened his heart to want this new life and Jace stepped into it. What a miracle this was!!
Later Jace said, "I thought I was hopeless and destined to be like my dad; I wanted to accept that I was a mean person that no one could love. You have shown me love, care, and respect that I don't deserve. You gave me kindness in spite of my cruelty to you. Can Jesus really change me? I've tried and failed hopelessly. Can you help me be happy? I want to be happy and be changed!"
Our remaining time was spent teaching him how to practically surrender 'self' to God. He experienced again and again God changing his feelings, emotions, and habits as he willingly surrendered himself to Jesus. To do God's will, to respect His authority did not come natural to him. It was a warfare at times. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Jace experienced that when he was I n Jesus, the flesh need not Rule him. There was power to do right! God called him to smile in place of the familiar disgruntled, hateful countenance. As he cooperated, God's joy filled his heart and his smile became real from the inside out. Jace helped with the dishes cheerfully with a little nudging and experienced it to be fun as he surrendered. He even offered to sweep the floor without being asked. Responding directing from God's suggestion was a new and good experience. He found deliverance and went from hopelessness to hope, from vengeance and anger to peace, from being unloved to being loved. It was real. How amazing this was!! Romans 12:21. The Secret was connecting him to the Living Water.  
A month later he said to his parents, "The Hohnberger's loved me too much to let me disobey. They taught me how God changes me on the inside, with my consent and cooperation. I'm so grateful. Without them I would never have found life worth living or known that I had a choice or any value! Now life is worth living." See how important the parent's example and demonstration is to our Youth, it can give them hope and direction?  
Which parent do you want to be? Respect begets respect. Jesus has promised you and I that He Himself will be our Teacher. ( John 6:45 ) Won 't you let Him teach you? Stop your dysfunction today, right now. Jesus will give you wisdom as to know how to deal with and approach the heart of your teen. How to let God have your heart and re-create you into His image. Christ is the God of the impossible; seek and serve Him.
Romans 6:19 "... for as ye have yielded your members (words-actions) servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so NOW yield your members (thoughts-words-deeds) servants to righteousness unto holiness."
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"
God loves and respects us, undeserving though we be. As we accept His respect towards us, He will teach us how to do the same to our children, teens, and others. Don't you want to share good things with your children? May the Holy Spirit attend your parenting and empower you!!
Teaching respect to our teens requires the parent to give respect and homage to Jesus Christ first, then demonstrate it to them. Christ is our General in the warfare of self with our Teens. We need to teach their minds about Christ and train their wills to surrender to Christ, that they may experience God' s redeeming grace creating a new heart and a new life within them. Gaining self-control is a wonderful experience. Now this is loving our Teens, In Him.
"Train up a child (teen) in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
Training Respect to Teens,
Sally & Jim
                      Spend Some REAL Time with Jesus Today?