The right outlook
Myth: When you leave home, you’ll be done with rules once and for all.
Fact: Rules don’t go away when you move out. You’ll still have to answer to someone—perhaps an employer, a landlord, or even the government. “I think young people who can’t obey rules at home will be in for a big shock when they live on their own,” says 19-year-old Danielle.
The Bible says: “Be obedient to governments and authorities.” (Titus 3:1) Learning to deal with your parents’ rules is good training for what you will face in other areas of life as an adult.
What you can do: Learn to look at the bright side of rules. “My parents’ rules really helped me learn how to choose my friends and manage my time,” says a young man named Jeremy. “Also, the rules kept me from watching too much TV and playing too many video games and allowed me to find more productive activities—some of which I still enjoy.”
The right approach
But what if a rule doesn’t seem to make sense? For example, a young woman named Tamara says: “My parents allowed me to travel to another country, but now that I’m back home, they won’t even let me drive to a city that’s just 20 minutes away!”
If you are in a similar situation, would it be wrong to talk to your parents about the rule? Not at all! The key is to know when and how to talk to them about it.
When. “Only after you have built up a track record of trust by being responsible are you in a position to talk to your parents about adjusting a rule,” says a teenager named Amanda.
A girl named Daria found that to be true. “It wasn’t until my mom saw my consistent obedience that she considered making a change,” she says. Remember, trust is something you earn, not something you demand.
The Bible says: “Observe . . . the commandment of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother.” (Proverbs 6:20) By following that admonition, you will build up a record of trust with your parents and have a basis for discussion with them.
How. “Being respectful and calm is always a better way to communicate with your parents than whining and yelling,” says a young man named Steven.
Daria, quoted earlier, agrees. “When I would argue with my mom, nothing would change,” she says. “In fact, sometimes she would make the rule even more strict.”
The Bible says: “A stupid person gives vent to all his feelings, but the wise one calmly keeps them in check.” (Proverbs 29:11) Learning self-control will have a huge payoff, not only at home but also at school, at work, and elsewhere.
What you can do: Think before you speak. A track record of trustworthy behavior can be undone by a fit of rage. For good reason, the Bible says that “the one who is slow to anger has great discernment.”—Proverbs 14:29.
Tip: Use the accompanying worksheet to reason on rules, and if needed, have a discussion with your parents about this topic.