(Eph 6:4) And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I am often reminded of this verse lately as my teen and preteen seem to be getting a bit sensitive at times and I find myself looking for other and new ways to communicate to them. In the past I might give them instructions in my fatherly backwoods hillbilly imitation style, they used to think it was funny, but now it just seems to annoy and irritate them, shoot, I was getting pretty good at it too! When my daughter was little I encouraged her to dress up like a cowgirl, she loved my direction and going shopping for clothes and was so cute in her little white cowgirl boots with the tassels and all, but now gets really annoyed with what I though were good natured jokes about the floods coming in about these pants that she wears that are 6 inches too short. Oh, then there is the wide belts that she been wearing that look like what is given to the champion wrestlers on TV, but dare that I would make a joke about the challenging opponents coming up in the match. My son is far from being thin skinned as I have never babied him, but now is telling me that his friends don’t understand my jokes, he knows I’m attempting to be humorous in my delivery, but says his friends don’t know whether to cry or laugh when I address them; I mean they may need some instruction but apparently I’m too course in my delivery and am embarrassing him. Yet, just a couple months ago my son was pretty proud because I confronted a knife yielding, turned out to be an expelled senior and his older friend, that I noticed were threatening a student at the bus stop and the story raised quite a stir throughout the school about his Dad running them off, but that didn’t last long! Geez, what do you want! Seems I’m provoking to wrath quite a bit lately, well, didn’t have a Dad around when I was growing up, so I have to learn as I go. The times they are a changing, these kids are growing up fast and I’m seeing that I need to make a lot of adjustments, and rather quickly as I work to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord… without provoking them. My wife says I wiil turn them away if too strict, but of course you got a lot to teach them. I do it in love but apparently need to find better methods. Well for one I guess I’m joking around too much??? Got to be serious??? All the time??? This new phase is causing me to have to double think every word that is about to come out of my mouth as I look for new ways to communicate to teens. Anybody else struggle with this? Suggestions?