Question:

I had some questions and decided to email you again, as your answers and reasoning made sense. Okay, I have heard that you have to love your parents, but do you have to like them? I love mine (my mom and grandparents), but my mom is sometimes hard to get along with. Maybe it is because I am going through some phase in my life and this is just a part of how the story is meant to go. However, I needed to write to someone in order to get out these jumbled emotions and figure out what is or was right. I understand that God doesn't mind people disagreeing with them, but what exactly does it mean to honor them? I argue with my mom a lot and try to be respectful, but at the same time, it is hard to do this, when she says certain things. My relationship is different with my mom than with my sister for basically two reasons. She is a girl, and, also, I can remember a time when my mom was a bit different from the way she is now when my sister was only an infant. As a result of some things that happened, I have a sense of resentment toward her and my grandmother. Please don't get the wrong idea, I love them.

Then, she said to me when she got upset that she knew that I didn't like her. I was shocked; where did that come from? Then, my grandmother got upset with me and told me how I am going to Hell in a hand basket and that I don't really love God. How can she tell me what I feel in my heart?

To make matters short, I was writing to get some answers, because I feel that I can't really talk to any other adult. My grandfather listens and understands, but he does not really attend a church. My uncle (through marriage) is understanding, but I don't feel that I am as close to him to tell him certain things. Then, my closest friend is there, but in many ways, he is going through similar but different situations.


Answer:

I understand the need to keep things general, but it also means that I'm limited to only giving general advice in return. But let's at least get some basic principles out of the way. I would like you to read the following articles:

Honor Your Father and Mother
How do I honor my parents when I'm constantly fighting with my mother?

I read the articles that you provided, and found them very informative and helpful. Also, I would like to apologize for replying so late to your message, but I was very busy. Basically, I would just like some answers on how to be respectful (as the article stated). I love my mom, but I don't want to disrespect her and feel resentment toward her.

Let's move on, then, to greater detail. My apologies, but I don't recall your age. I'm assuming you are somewhere in your teenage years.

One of the difficulties teenagers face is due to the rewiring of their brains for adulthood. As the chances take place, certain areas go off-line or work at reduced capacity until the replacement system takes over. One of these in early adolescents is the ability to interpret body language and facial expressions. Several studies have shown that teenagers are not able to distinguish subtle emotional expressions well. They have a tendency to attribute greater strength of emotion to a person than is actually there. Thus a look of annoyance may be viewed as hostile anger.

It goes the other direction as well. Teenagers tend to display extremes of emotions. It is hard to go just a little ways, and the changing hormones don't help.

This causes parents endless frustrations because they correctly see that everything they do or say is taken to the extreme. And at this point the Bible's warnings come into play. "A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention" (Proverbs 15:18). Emotions breed like responses. People have an tendency to respond to a sarcastic response with sarcasm. People tend to respond to anger with anger. But rarely do they respond with the same amount, they almost always take it a level or more higher. This then brings back an even stronger response and things rapidly decay.

The answer to this is hard to do because it goes against our instincts; yet, it tends to work. "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).

What you are also running into is something that must eventually happen. You are growing up and you are no longer the innocent little boy your mother remembers. In some ways, she know longer fully understands you -- mostly because you are becoming a man and so are beginning to think like a man. And I don't mean things like having sex on the brain all the time or other such stereotypes. Mothers, especially, have a hard time adapting to the idea that their sons are becoming independent and assuming leadership (at least in their own lives). That becomes a source of all sorts of issues.

I would love to delve into issues deeper with you, but I've reached the limits of what I can guess is going on at the moment. But you are welcome to write as often or as much as you want.