“Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.” Eph 6:4 NLT If your teenagers don’t like you telling them what to do, relax; they’re normal. And it’s not peculiar to teenagers; it starts much earlier. One psychologist tells about the mother of a tough little four-year-old girl who was demanding her own way. The mother said, “I’m your boss, I have the responsibility to lead you, and that’s what I intend to do!” Little Jenny thought over her mother’s words for a minute, then said, “How long does it have to be that way?” Already, at four years of age she was yearning for the day when nobody could tell her what to do. That’s a God-given instinct. One of the first things God said to Adam and Eve was, “Take control over the earth.” So the task for you as a parent is to hang on to the reins in the early days, and gradually begin to grant independence as maturity is demonstrated. This is one of the most delicate responsibilities of parenting. Power granted too early produces folly, but power granted too late brings rebellion. Knowing when to let out the rope, and by how much, requires wisdom, and God is the giver of wisdom (See Jas 1:5). If you pray, observe, and listen carefully, you’ll begin to see the critical milestones in your child’s life. Paul writes, “Do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” And as a parent, that’s some of the best advice you’ll ever get.