Category Archives: Parent/Child Relationships

What Path Is Your Child On In His Walk With Christ?

Don’t expect your child to have the same relationship with God as you do. Of course you want them to follow Christ but let them develop their own relationship with Him. God made us unique and He has a unique path for each of us.

If we require them to walk our path, we are short changing their walk and may also push them off the path. Their faith will be deeper when they have their own relationship. They will not have faith that will sustain them in life if they simply walk a path we lay out for them. We want them to pursue God for themselves so that they develop a strong relationship and a deep faith. We don’t want them to simply be puppets fulfilling our expectations to make our life easy. We will both be stronger for allowing God to have His way with us and them. He has better plans and makes each of us more than we can become on our own.

Be sure you let them realize God is also still working on you. We have to be “real” so they don’t see us or other Christians as hypocrites. We don’t want them to judge God or the Christian faith by where we fail. We don’t want them or others to turn away from God by the way we act or react. Remind them to not base their Christianity and their faith on what they see others do. We don’t want them to fail because of what others have done or are doing.

We want to give our children the freedom to ask questions. Allow them to realize you don’t have all the answers. When you don’t know for sure, encourage them to investigate it themselves. We are not to judge them. We are to love and encourage them. Just because they ask questions does not mean they are questioning our faith. Don’t get defensive or confrontational. It is a good thing for them to ask questions. That is a sign that they want to know things so they can do things right. We should still be learning and growing. We should be glad they are thinking about their faith enough to want to ask questions. God does not mind us asking Him questions so why should we mind when our children ask us questions.

When we have an answer, we should also ask them their opinion and also encourage them to ask God because He can confirm things and plant them deeper than we can. We need to make sure we don’t over extend our answer because it may be they asked because they are thinking but it doesn’t always mean they want our answer and we also need to be careful that we don’t go on too long trying to drill it in because they may not come back with their next question if we make it an unpleasant experience.

Just because we are raising our children in a Christian home does not always guarantee us having Christian children. We can do things that will actually push them away. We must be careful in our walk. God may be trying to do a work in us as well as our children. We must all work out our salvation. God will deal with each of us differently. Don’t get so focused on your child that you forget to examine yourself. The plank in our own eye may be hindering our view. What example are we living in front of them? They are watching. Do we uphold the commandments in our everyday life? Do we criticize and disrespect others or do we love and respect others including our children? When we are angry, how do we react? Do we lose control or do we show self control? Are we pursuing peace or are we part of the problem?  How can we expect them to be in control if we fail in our example. Our actions speak louder than our words. When we mess up, apologize to God and to our children.

We will be disappointed if our children choose not to follow God, but if we continue to pray, God will continue to work. Don’t give up! God has not given up! He will still be writing their story. God’s timetable and plan is different than ours. He is still doing a work in your child and in you.

What Are Teens Entitled To?

Teens today have a sense of entitlement. They think they have the right to anything they want. They think they are entitled to have it no matter what their behavior looks like or what their responsibility level is.

God will give us anything we ask in His name according to His Will. He expects certain things of us. Some of the things He expects include respect, obedience and proper behavior.

If we would set the example in our home, our children would be able to accept what a Godly relationship looks like. They would know what is expected and be able to walk with their Heavenly Father because of the example that was set in the home. Although we will never be able to be the perfect parent that our Heavenly Father is, we still need to stop giving in to demands.

Teens need to be grateful for the privileges and gifts they receive. They need to realize the gift comes with a sacrifice. The sacrifice may come from the giver or the receiver.

We don’t deserve the free gift of Christ dying for our salvation. He sacrificed himself because He loved us. Our gifts to our children are because we love them not because they deserve it. They need to realize there is a sacrifice behind each gift they receive. Someone has given up something of theirs so that they could give them the gift.(New Testament)

The one wanting something could also be the one that sacrifices. They may need to work and earn what they desire. They may need to sacrifice their time and it should be done responsibly and they should be putting their best effort into it.(Old Testament)

Make Satan Sorry

I was laying in bed last night thinking, “I am so tired.” I wasn’t that tired physically but I was tired spiritually. When I got up and the two boys that are still at home were off to school for the day, I still felt tired. I did some daily devotions and prayer and had no energy to attack my “to do” list. I opened my email and my daily email from Mark Gregston at Heartlight Ministries talked about the things you go through with your children and the last line read somewhat like God has not given up on them, why should you? Laying in bed last night I have to admit I felt like it would be nice if I didn’t have to have this battle but I don’t know if I would give up. If it weren’t for parents, who would be fighting and praying for our kids. It would be nice to think others would step in but the passion is never as deep when it hasn’t hit home or it isn’t your children.

Being too tired to attack my “to do” list, I went to the couch which is not what I usually do. I began to ask God “What am I to do?” and “How long will this take?” I asked him for ambition and motivation to do what I needed to do today or at least what I thought I needed to do. I sat there and felt like I should turn the TV on. This is something I hardly ever do. I flipped through the spiritual channels being very selective of my choices. I came upon Beth Moore. It is nice to sit and listen and go to church and listen but if we spend all our time getting fed, we won’t have time left to feed others. I think God knew I needed some time to listen.

Beth mentioned when God restores us from whatever we are called to go through that we become stronger and are used by God in such a way that Satan is sorry that he ever messed with us. I have had many things that I feel God has been calling me to do in the past few years. Some doors have been opened but I am still waiting for the details of the others to be revealed. I feel overwhelmed at times because of so much stuff and a lack of resources. It is hard to be patient and excited at the same time.

I had some energy restored and walked to the barn to feed the animals. Just as I finished, I felt God telling me this and when I got back to the house (about 1000 feet), I was like “WOW”, I literally did not remember walking up the driveway. We hear parents say, “Don’t mess with my kid or you will be sorry!” or “You can mess with me but don’t mess with my child.” This is my claim today that I want Satan to be sorry that he ever messed with my kid. I trust God to help me accomplish that goal.

We all have something that Satan has tried to use to destroy us that God has used for His Glory. Do something for Christ to make Satan sorry he ever messed with you.

Did I accomplish anything today? I don’t know. I guess it depends on how you look at it.

Behavior in Teens

If you have a teenager in your house, their behavior is hard to interpret at times. They may  not even understand why they do the things they do. Their behaviors are based on a goal or meeting a need. They don’t always know how to do this appropriately. We as parents have the difficult task of interpreting that need. They may just need to be noticed or loved. They may need comforted for some pain they are feeling that they don’t know how  to express or maybe don’t have the desire to express. These can be difficult to deal with because we have to rely on our interpretation and try to stay connected while they often try to disconnect.

One of the most difficult needs to deal with is their need and desire for independence. Some teens are easier than others. Some can be very difficult. They seem to be so determined to accomplish this goal of independence that we don’t know how to deal with their behavior. We want to protect them from bad mistakes but if we hold too tight we will lose them. Proceed with caution and much prayer.

Unfortunately there are no pat answers but be sure to love unconditionally and communicate often. When communicating, make yourself available and listen more than your talk. Do more asking when you speak than telling. Even if they don’t answer out loud, the questions will encourage more productive thought than what we can tell them. Don’t allow their behavior to hinder your thoughts. It helps if you think long and hard and pray before you speak or react.

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.