Even teens who appear to be mild and compliant to others can engage in hard-fought battles at home. At the root of many of these battles is a deep-seated perception that they, the teens, are being treated unfairly.
When a teenager, or anyone else, focuses only on the injustice that has been done (either real or perceived), his ability to trust God is blocked.
Struggling with unjust treatment leaves anyone weary and burdened. The weight of injustice is more than we can bear in our own strength. For example, Absalom bore this weight alone and it eventually destroyed him.
Teenagers who bear this burden by themselves may appear intimidating, even menacing. Or, they may be sullen and withdrawn. Christ appeals directly to them when he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…and your will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-30). This is the message of hope and restoration that your teenagers need to hear from you.
Practically this means you must know your teenagers well enough to know if they are struggling with injustice. This requires that you listen well to what is said and not said, Think carefully about events that your teenager may have perceived as unjust treatment, even if this may have occurred months before.
If you discover thoughts about unjust treatment, proceed slowly. Listen patiently and work through the issues by focusing on the gospel reality that Christ does bring healing. Live sacrificially in front of your teenager. Let them know your goal is understand and bring healing. This may take time but it is far better than the alternative of the smoldering anger that comes from an unresolved sense of injustice.
David never realized how deeply Absalom was driven by injustice. It almost cost him his kingdom and his life. Take the time to seek God and find out if injustice is something that has dominated your teenagers thoughts.