Relationship or Rules?

We too often expect our children to follow so many rules. We all realize we need some rules but are we over burdening our children with rules. Is that all they see? Can they see beyond the rules to the relationships that are important. We want to have a relationship with our children just as Christ wants to have a relationship with us and our children. We can hinder their relationship with us and with Christ if we don’t keep this in perspective. God has many things to teach us. We may have many more years experience than our children and we may have been walking with God a lot longer but we still have things to learn and God is still teaching. Let’s be teachable.

We can’t expect our children to have the convictions that we have. God has been dealing with us for many years. We must emphasize a relationship and a trust in Jesus and minimize the rule following. We must have some rules that must and should be followed but there are many that will come naturally as their relationship with Christ develops. We must refrain from picking a battle with every conviction that has been placed on our life. God will deal with our children on His terms. It is our job to help nurture that relationship not to dictate how that relationship will unfold. God dealt with us individually, let Him deal with our children in the same way. He knows them better than we do. He created them and knows what plan He has for them. We don’t need to control their every move. God will watch over them and fulfill His purpose.

Children have many pressures at all ages, but especially during their teen years when they want to be independent. We want them to be able to be independent so we need to allow them to make mistakes and allow God to convict them of wrongs. They will grow in their relationship through the love that they receive not by the rules that are forced on them. We don’t need to put extra pressure on them by making them live up to our convictions. Our children don’t have the ability to live at our level over night. Look how long God has been working on us and we still don’t have it right. God is still working on us so let’s allow God the freedom to do what He desires in our children.

If we only give them rules, they will not have the relationship to sustain them when they go out on their own. We want to protect them from the mistakes that we have made but we can’t do that by simply giving them rules. There is no meat behind the rule. If we communicate reasons and relationships and consequences, they will have knowledge to go with the rule. We still do not have the ability to make them follow the rule. Just like the student at the desk when the teacher demanded him to sit. He said, “I may be sitting on the outside but inside, I am still standing.” If that is the attitude our children have, then we have our emphasis in the wrong place.

We must realize, our children will break rules and then should feel the consequences. Those consequences must be realistic and related to their wrong, and administered with love. Ultimately they will desire to follow the rules if the relationship is right so let’s do our part in making the relationship right. It may take a lot of work and time but it will be worth it.  Allow God do what we cannot. He can give them the desire to please and to do right. They will fail just as we continue to fail. We must be willing to go to our child when we have failed. Don’t be afraid to apologize. This will let them know that we are not beyond failing and that forgiveness goes both ways. Our heavenly Father forgives us as we should forgive our children. Our Heavenly Father loves us unconditionally as we need to love our children unconditionally. God is better at this parenting thing than us but let’s work at it and ask Him to not only help our children to become all they can be but to help us in this process also. He is in the process of teaching us as well as our children. If we can learn what He is trying to teach us, we may get through this quicker and easier. May God Bless You and Your Children through your obedience.

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