Kids are struggling these days. There is more confusion about life, more depression and anxiety, and more behavioral disorders than ever. The pace of life keeps us scrambling and not as thoughtful as we would want to be.
We tend to parent from a confused place of anxiety rather than a place of intentional confidence.
Sometimes we become authoritarian and nag, push and take hard lines. We impulsively remove favorite privileges and possessions hoping to teach kids “their lesson.”
And sometimes we are too permissive. We fear our toughness will push kids away so we tip-toe around anything that might hurt or disappoint them. We bring forgotten homework or lunch money and do things they can do for themselves just to avoid conflict.
This vacillating inconsistency leaves kids confused about parental love, authority, and their own sense of responsibility for life. It sets them up for struggles with such challenges as anxiety, depression, entitlement, and resentment.
We have great intentions, but there is often a chasm of misunderstanding between those intentions and the way our kids interpret our efforts.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Parents who raise kids to stand strong in faith and purpose not only have good intentions, but a good sense of how their kids read those intentions. They have an uncommon sort of consistency about their parenting.
This consistency is not about trying to discipline exactly the same way each time. It’s about predictable adherence to a set of clear guiding principles. These principles help parents know when to be a bit soft, or merciful, and when to be firmer and tough. Then they are able to discipline their kids without “exasperating” them, according to the command to parents in Eph 6:4.
The Bible’s guiding principles for parents are more than a mere formula for getting kids to behave a certain way. They are about understanding what’s happening in a child’s mind and spirit and working toward heart change and strengthening character. These kids:
- believe they are safe in the company of those who love them the most.
- know they are loved, capable and responsible.
- understand God’s grace and truth because they have regularly experienced it when needed most.
Parents, you can begin to make this shift. Kids need you to think about the big picture reason for parenting – to raise kids strong in character and faith! Whether you choose to be a little tough or a bit merciful in your approach, be evermore conscious of passing God’s grace and truth to your kids in the everyday challenges of life.
Our kids need this. Our world needs them!
Apply It Now:
- What messages do you think your kids get from you when you discipline them? What would they say if asked?
- What are a few things you might do (or not do) to exasperate your kids less, and infuse God’s nurture and instruction more? (Review Eph 6:4)
This post gives an overview of our Discipline That Connects with Your Child’s Heart principles.