We want to be careful to avoid either of two common extremes: 1.) You are required to do, without question, whatever your parents say, always, in both thought and behavior; or 2.) (More commonly held today) Don't bother with it. Rebellion is just part of being a teen. The popular Disney movie Tangled put it this way that I feel sums up how our culture thinks of teens nowadays: "This is part of growing up. A little rebellion, a little adventure, that's good. Healthy even."
What you will not find us doing on here is advocating rebellion against parental authorities (though in the case of Tangled, I don't have much issue with rebellion against evil step mothers). You will also not find us advocating total subservience in thought, attitude, preference, behavior, beliefs, and convictions with your parents.
The basic premise for any discussion on authority at all needs to begin, for the believer, at our ultimate authority - Jesus Christ. At the end of the day, He is our authority and the One we will stand before one day. So our first loyalty and our ultimate concern is that our behavior lines up with the God we have confessed as "Lord". If He truly is Lord, than His authority precludes all others, including government, bosses, teachers, and ultimately, parents. So let's come at this with the basic understanding that God is our ultimate authority.
However, He has placed authorities in our lives; parents, church government, and national government are some Biblical examples. These are our secondary authorities, the authorities that we are to place ourselves under as long as they do not contradict Jesus's Word or His leading in our lives.
In the relationship of parents to children, there are two words that need to be discussed: obedience (Eph. 6:1) and honor (Ex. 20:12). Many Christians discuss the two as if they were synonymous, but they are different words entirely.
Ephesians 6:1-3 is a verse that commands obedience toward parents. However, the first word of the passage identifies who this addresses: children. So, Biblically speaking, children are required to obey their parents. God's design for the family includes parents holding authority over their children, and children being required to obey them.
But, as is fairly obvious, children don't stay children. Children grow up. The Bible doesn't tell us when a child moves from childhood to adulthood, and I'm not going to jump to a conclusion and try reading it into the text. What I will point out though is that the command to "obey" is specifically addressed to children in Ephesians 6; the command to honor is addressed to the entire nation of Israel in Exodus 20.
While you eventually outgrow the command to obey every single time, you never outgrow the command to honor. No matter the age of ourselves or our parents, we are required to honor them. To respect them, to esteem them, to hold them in high regard is how the dictionary defines honor. This command stays with us out entire lives, from when we're 2 years old and our parents are feeding us from a jar until we're 75 and taking care of them in a nursing home.
So, I imagine some of you are thinking right now, "But they didn't answer the question!" We're getting to that! This is simply the framework; here's the application. As long as we're in our parent's homes and are not fully adults yet, their rules go as long as they do not go against our consciences or God's Word. So, what do we do in case of disagreement?
1.) Pray. Yeah, I know this advice is literally what people prescribe for every single problem in church circles. There's a reason for that! Prayer has a way of drawing us toward Christ and making us focus on the spiritual rather than the more temporal aspects of life.
2.) It's not wrong to express your opinion. Nope, I'm not someone who defines obedience as "unquestioning submission". Everyone has the right to share their opinion respectfully. So, when you see that disagreement happening, share how you feel. Don't clam up and go upstairs to sulk; express what you're thinking. I'm not promising they'll agree, but that system usually works better than sulkiness.
3.) Stay respectful. Your explanation or disagreement comes across much better if done while honoring your parents. Remain respectful.
4.) Look at their point of view too. If your parents stand strong in their disagreement with you, you will probably have to do as they say. You can respectfully ask why. Genuinely try to understand their point of view as well, though. I know my parents are pretty wise, and I have a lot to learn from them still. Even times we disagree, try to understand where they're coming from. They can speak from experience, instructing you based off of similar life choices and decisions they've made in their own youth.
In regard to rules placed on us by parental authority: For the most part (though I can't say this is the case with all parents), those rules are placed there for your benefit, even though it frequently doesn't seem that way. View your parent's authority as such: as a benefit in helping you grow. It's hard for us as teenagers, generally, to understand that. Growing up, we develop an independent spirit, and want to do things our own way. It's a challenge for us to accept that we don't quite have all of the experience and wisdom of our parents! Parents aren't perfect, and aren't expected to be; but that doesn't mean that they don't want the best for you, and boundaries and limitations are a way that they try to help you achieve the best. What we view as "unfair" or "restricting" rules in our teen years are most often than not ultimately for our own benefit. We will probably have reason to come back to our parents years from now, and thank them for the times that they had a firm hand in our life, even when we disagreed with them at the time.
-Taylor B. and Lauren S.