I started this post several months ago when I was all fired up about a comment I read on Facebook followed by an article posted on Hello Christian.
Respect is taught at home. If your kid is a disrespectful little *#%!, it’s your fault. Not society’s. Not music. Not video games. Yours! (uncredited quote on FB)
Kevin Swanson, a pastor from Colorado, said, “As a pastor, if your children turn out to be sinners…if it turns out they abandoned the faith while they are in the household, accused of riot and unruly debauchery, et cetera, within the household, you need to resign as a pastor,” (quoted from article at Hello Christian)
And the following rant came flying out through my fingers on to the page…
If like the people above, you have perfect children, I’m happy for you. Really, I am.
But seriously, what do you hope to accomplish . . . discouragement? Guilt? Pain?
Parents with rebellious children are already discouraged. They feel guilty and oh my, are their hearts hurting!
They don’t need you to help them feel bad about themselves.
But you need to know that…
Like you perfect parents, they love their children and they are doing their best.
And if your perfect children are still young and everything has been easy so far, I’d like to caution you . . . you may find yourself eating your judgmental attitude.
How do I know?
Because I’ve been in your shoes. When our children were little, we were brilliant parents and I was a pro when it came to judging parents who had out of control rebellious children.
Good parents have good obedient children, right?!
I got humbled!
I’ll spare you the details. Just know, I have a lot of compassion for parents who pour everything they’ve got into loving, raising, and praying for their children while feeling helpless because of the choices they are making.
And as I finished writing that sentence, I was spent. Emotion and memories made it hard to keep writing. I click save and set it aside . . . but the other day, I revisited the subject and thought it might be time to add some positive words and helpful suggestions to my diatribe.
So, here goes…
If like me, you ever find yourself in the frustrated and I don’t know what to do parent category, remember you’re not alone…
- Adam and Eve’s son killed his brother. (Genesis 4)
- Noah’s son was disrespectful. (Genesis 9)
- Jacob’s sons sold their brother into slavery. (Genesis 37)
- Eli’s sons cursed God. (1 Samuel 3)
- King David’s son tried to take over the kingdom. (2 Samuel 15)
- The son in the “prodigal” story squandered his future inheritance. (Luke 15)
- And through the history of the kings of Judah and Israel – good kings had sons who were evil kings.
There is nothing new under the sun. Children, like their parents, have been sinning since the first family.
Friends let’s do better. Let’s stop comparing and judging and make every effort to support and help each other for the benefit of our children and our communities.
5 of the Best Ways to Bless the Parents of a Rebellious Child
1. Build Strong Relationships
So many families find grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins living long distances away. I believe children benefit from the love, encouragement, and counsel of other adults in addition to their mom and dad. Having other parents cheer for your children and reinforce your beliefs and values is great for everyone involved.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiates 4:9–10
2. Refuse to Compete or Compare
Oh, how I remember the questions. How did your child do on that test? How many points did he score? How did she do on the audition?
It’s one thing to be interested and caring and quite another when you start competing and comparing. It takes a self-check. If this is hard for you, pray about it and determine to become a super-encourager of your children, their friends, and their friends’ parents.
“Comparison is the death of joy.” ~ Mark Twain
3. Refuse to Judge
Don’t judge your friend when her child sins! Everyone messes up! Everyone makes mistakes! Your friend has most likely talked with, corrected, and disciplined her child for the very thing you’re judging.
She needs your love and encouragement and her family needs your care and compassion now more than ever. So, stop and ask yourself how you’d want to be treated if your child did something similar.
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12
“Judgment…is one of the ego’s tools to foster separation through comparison.” ~ Peter Santos
4. Listen with Love
You know the saying, “Listen to understand not to respond.”
When dealing with a difficult child, parents need to know they’re not alone. Be the friend who listens and loves. And when it comes to giving advice, the truth is what worked for you may not work for them.
Share your thoughts if asked, if not . . . listen, love, and pray.
“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” ~ Roy T. Bennett
And the best help!
5. Pray for Your Friends and their Children
Can you imagine the difference we could make if we sincerely prayed for the families in our circle of friends? What if we asked God to draw us all closer to Him, to bless us with wisdom in parenting, and to guard and protect our children’s hearts and minds to make wise choices?
Praying for someone is an act of love and one of the greatest gifts you can give a friend.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado
I believe we can do this!
We can bless each other with encouragement. We can come together as friends and families and teach our children the joy of living as friends and family without sniping and tearing each other down with criticism and condemnation.
And finally, please stop and think about the hurting parent who’s doing their best before you write a blog or social media post that blames them for every mistake their child makes. It might just come back to bite you and you may find yourself having to humbly eat your words.
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