Many parents come into family treatment (mental health services, counseling, medical treatment, and sometimes juvenile legal services) feeling scared, confused, disappointed, frustrated, angry and hurt about their child’s negative and/or challenging behavior. Like so many in our society today, they are searching for “what went wrong” in their parenting approach. “Why is my child acting this way? What am I doing wrong?!” These parents feel blamed and judged by a society that doesn’t seem to understand, let alone have any realistic solutions. They are typically people who appear to be involved, loving, parents: helping with homework, spending family time, (as much as their child will allow without bucking and kicking) and showing genuine love and concern for their child’s well-being.
So what did go wrong? Where did the parenting path diverge from what God intended? And how can we help our children to find their way to the path of Honor Your Parents? The divergence wasn’t a sudden landslide, but rather the gradual erosion over generations.
In today’s world of instant gratification and technology, the greed and selfishness that has always been a part of human nature has intensified in our society. It has trickled down to our children and put fear into parents. Not the Fear of God, but the Fear of Society: Fear of “doing the wrong thing” as a parent, potentially ruining a child’s future. Fear of being judged harshly by others as a “bad parent” if our child doesn’t “behave.” Fear of exerting authority over a defiant child who refuses to follow the rules of our household.
Along the beaten down parenting path, society has bought into the idea that parents are more responsible for a child’s behavior than the child himself. It’s led parents to befriend and cater to children in a way unprecedented before this generation. Is it good to value our children? Absolutely. But that value must include rules, limits and consequences that go along with guidance. After all, we were not created and placed in this world to have a television in every room, designer clothes, iPhones, iPads, iPods,or every gadget we see advertised. We were not created to make sure our child is happy every moment of his life. We were created to glorify God; to have a relationship with God, to worship and trust Him, to love and respect Him; to have faith in Him. This is not just our purpose, but the purpose for our children as well. Isaiah 43:7 Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for glory, whom I formed and made.
Our role as parents is to guide and teach our children, with love, limits and consequences. And encompassed in this resides trust, faith and hope. Just as God continues to trust that we will find our way, through all of our human mistakes, we need to trust that our children will find their way as well. God has faith in us. Even when we make the wrong choices - he forgives us. We too, must remain faithful that our children will make wrong choices and eventually learn from the suffering that comes from these wrong choices they will make better choices. And hope…God always remains hopeful. He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins in hope that we would find our way through Christ. Our children can find their way…hold on to hope. This is a reflection of the way God guides us and allows us to grow and learn through our free will.
This is the Christian Parenting Path.
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant
If you would like to explore the Christian Parenting Path in more depth, especially as it relates to parenting an Oppositional-Defiant child, please schedule a consultation with Kim Abraham, using our events calendar.