Do You Think You Are a Bad Parent?
Joey & Carla Link
July 29, 2020
When kids are arguing and fighting over what seems like silly and ridiculous things, it is hard to remain calm when you have to intervene for the umpteenth time. At that point you don’t care who started it and who said what to whom. You just want peace and quiet and if they have to sit on a chair the rest of the day with no freedom to speak for you to get it, so be it. You have to go to the grocery store. When you get there, before you get out of the car you review the “Store Rules”. No running, no touching anything on the shelves or each other, no arguing or fighting, inside voices only and obedience is not optional. (We are talking about kids 5 years and up here. Toddlers and preschoolers have the same rules, but mom knows she has to work with them, teaching them how to obey them.) I remember when a mom told me she holds her breath and starts counting when they get out of the car and she never gets to 25 before most of these rules have been broken, especially the one about “no touching each other”. She went on to tell me she doesn’t even try anymore and she is a complete failure as a parent. I am sure Jacob felt the same way when his twelve kids didn’t get along. Ten of them sold Joseph to be a slave in Egypt (Genesis 37). Ten years later Joseph became the #2 ruler in Egypt and he could go anywhere he wanted, but he didn’t go to see his family. God brought them to him for reconciliation. Read the story for yourself. It gives you a clear picture of how God intervenes to accomplish His will for our lives. Even when parents do a great job in parenting their kids, some kids, using the free will God gave each of us, make bad choices that often cost them dearly, especially in the teen and young adult years. One of the worst things a parent can do is to rag on them causing even more guilt and resentment, making them feel even worse. How can parents encourage a stubborn or wayward child?
- Love them. Wise King Solomon said “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs” (Proverbs 10:12). Parents should hate the sin but love their child through it. One of our kids made a very bad choice in his teen years and God prompted us to catch him at it. We could have grounded this child for weeks and no one would have faulted us for it. We chose grace and love instead. He was apologetic because he knew he was wrong and that he had abused a freedom we had given him and when we asked him what consequence would be appropriate he chose one we agreed with and he was gracious the entire time he served his “time”.
- Insist on your standard in your home. Joshua said “Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve, but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14) Joshua was talking to his family and the children of Israel and he was saying to them, “If you don’t want to follow and serve the Lord that is fine, make a choice, don’t just sit on the fence. If you are going to live in my home, you will live for Jesus, because that is what I am choosing” (Our wording). Does that mean those who choose to follow God will be perfect and not sin? NO! You sin and I sin. It does mean we will choose to pursue a Godly lifestyle and we have the right to insist our kids do too while they live in our home.
On Sunday’s going to church was not an option for our family. When we were traveling or on vacation we found a church to attend. We talked about God and shared with each other what God was teaching us in our personal quiet times. We read the Bible together and talked about what it was saying to us and how to make that work in our lives. There were many words our kids heard from their friends that were not allowed to be spoken in our home. Even today as adults, our kids are not characterized by using foul language. Did our kids argue? Yes they did. It is to be expected that no two people living together are always going to have the same opinion. They had to work it out because that is what the family of God does. Teaching your kids and especially teens to work out their differences with each other will help them know how to work on differences with their friends and future spouses, employers and co-workers.
- Encourage your kids to do what is right. Some parents have allowed bad behavior to go on because they get tired of dealing with it. Or they say, “That is just how they are going to be. They won’t change.” Just as God didn’t let Joseph get away with not dealing with his siblings, God works with parents to keep working on a stubborn child’s heart to become what He wants it to be. Loving your kids in spite of their sin doesn’t mean you don’t need to deal with the sin. Deal with it and be consistent about it and your kids will change.
So are you curious to know what I (Carla) said to that mom who thought she was a failure as a parent? I told her that was exactly what Satan wanted her to believe. God doesn’t see us as failures. God always sees us “in process”. I told her the next time she goes to the grocery store to ask the kids what the store rules were. When they told her, she was to ask them if she could trust them to obey them. I told her they would say “yes”. She then was to ask them what she should do when they didn’t obey her. She was to sit in the car with them until they got beyond the “I don’t know” responses and answered her. When they came up with a realistic response that she could do, she was to repeat it back to her kids and say, “So if I have to do that, I am not being unfair?” What could they say? She called me after their next store visit and said by the time she got to the check-out all of her 4 kids (ages 6-13) had lost the freedom to speak and had their hands in the pockets of their jeans and they couldn’t take them out. She did get her shopping done in record time and was delighted she had found a way to get her kids to obey. “Above all, love each other deeply,because love covers over a multitude of sins.”I Peter 4:8
The Mom’s Notes presentation “Building a Relationship of Trust with a Rebellious Teen” is on SALE through August 2, 2020 using code Aug2 at checkout.