Do you have a teenager who has all the answers? A lot of dads know what that’s like.

The well-known proverb says: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” We might like to quote that to our teenagers from time to time. There are a lot of ups and downs during the teen years. And some of that haughty attitude comes with the territory.

BLD043846It isn’t that teens have lost their minds, or gone berserk. They’re really just figuring out what life is all about, testing what they’ve learned from Dad and Mom. They’re still gaining experience and information and when they have a difference of opinion, they’re prone to defend it. The result is some level of conflict.

You want your teen to be responsible and respect authority, and usually he does great in those areas. But sometimes you go back and forth over something like turning off the lights when he leaves a room.

So if you have frustrations and conflicts with your teenager, here are a few tips:

First, continue to have high expectations. The goal is to mold and shape your children, and they should show respect, be polite, and demonstrate a certain level of responsibility. Keep the expectations reasonable and there’s a good chance they’ll hit the mark.

Second, exercise heroic patience. Remember that growing up to maturity is a long and gradual process that really never ends for our kids—and for all of us. So we need to relax a bit and cut them some slack when they fall short.

And third, for us dads it comes back to self-control. When kids are being disrespectful or outright rebellious, and when we feel challenged, often it seems natural to strike back, exert our authority and “show ‘em who’s boss.”

Here’s something that’s important to remember: we can’t always control what our kids do, especially with teenagers, but we can determine our response and our attitude. It will be much better for everyone involved if we can stay under control—show empathy instead of anger, and maybe smile—even as we’re taking away a privilege or carrying out a consequence because of something he’s done.

After all, that proverb also applies to us dads, right? “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” When dealing with teens, we have to make sure we aren’t being proud and haughty.

Action Points

  • If your teenager doesn’t go for hugs or other forms of affection that worked when she was younger, try other ways of communicating your love. (And don’t completely give up on the hugs.)
  • Teens are busy people! If it’s tough for him to fit into your schedule, maybe you can find ways to fit into his.

What’s the best way you’ve found to connect with your teen? Please share either below or on Facebook.


NCF is a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the lives of children and establish a positive fathering and family legacy that will impact future generations by inspiring and equipping fathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. You can also sign up for NCF’s Today’s Father Weekly email here.

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