You are here:

Teenage Problems/Father son tension


Our 18 year old son  will be graduating from high school in a few weeks.  His father feels like our son is acting very detached and doesn't seem to appreciate how much we have given him.  My husband has gone so far as to say that he doesn't feel like our son even likes him. I dont see things that way but there are times when neither one them appears to be trying very hard.  My son keeps saying "I am18 and I should  be able to stay out longer and have more freedoms.  My husband feels like this behavior is just another way for our son to say that everything my husband has ever stood for is wrong.   This tension between the two of them causes me a lot of anxiety.  We have always been a close family but this tension is new and I don't think it is something that I can fix.     What advice do you have?   Neither one of them are very flexible in their thinking and I can see them both get defensive when they talk.

Hi Leslie,

Thank you for this great question.  I am sorry you are going through this.  There are unique things to every conflict, but there are some general principles I can share from my experience that may help you some.

1.  Your husband and son are going through a natural tension that happens when an adolescent wants to be an adult.  They start flapping their wings within then nest... and soon they become beg enough that there is no longer room in the nest for them to flap without leaving.  So your son wants disparately to be a man and to be viewed as such.

2.  Your husband on the other hand is afraid to let your son go and make big boy mistakes with big boy consequences.  He also is taking all this way too personally... this is not about him... this is about the evolution of adult freedom and responsibility.

3.  The best way to help with the transition is to give more freedom with more responsibility.  The more he pays his own way, the more freedom he has.  The more he misuses the freedom, the less freedom he has.

Galatians 6:79 (AV)
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

4.  Set some non negotiable house rules... ones that you and your husband follow as well...dealing with things like drugs, alcohol, and church attendance.  You may also want to set a room and board fee.  Give him the option to live with you as an adult, or move out as an adult... no hard feelings.  

I have 4 adult children ages 19-25... I know the frustration and fear when they start to stretch their wings.  My advice is to let them flap, but if it is too much... they have to flap outside of the nest... it is a natural process.

I hope that this helps you.

In Christ
Pastor Don

Teenage Problems

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Pastor Don Carpenter


I am a father of four and a Baptist Pastor. Before becoming a senior pastor, I was a youth pastor and worker for over 10 years. If you ask this volunteer a question, you will get the benifit of 20 + years experience in the ministry and the counsel of the Bible, God`s perfect book. Feel free to ask any Biblical or moral questions.


I have been involved in pastoral type counseling for 20+ years. Most of my experience has been with chemical addiction, crisis intervention, and some types of severe mental illness. I have some secular training in those areas as well as a Bible College degree.

Evangelical Baptist Church

Revival Baptist Chronicles
The Fundamental Baptist Voice

BS in Bible from Baptist Bible College in CLarks Summit PA
Various training seminars in, Co-occuring disorders, treatment of those who have been sexually abused, and Solution Focused Therapy.

©2016 All rights reserved.