It was written all over his face. The frustration with the situation, the lack of sleep, and the need to vent. In his anger, he turned towards me and muttered, “You’re not my friend anymore.”
We aren’t perfect, any of us. As parents, part of our struggle is in teaching our children how to handle tough situations, especially when they are angry. Our personal lesson is not holding onto hurt feelings when our children choose to act out.
Hurt – Some of the words our children use can hurt us. Part of dealing with the hurt, is coming to terms with what our children said that bothered us. We need to see past the hurt to determine the truth of the matter, then help our children understand a better way to communicate without hurting others.
Disappointment – Some of our hurt is due to the knowledge our kids could have done better. We have high expectations of what they can accomplish and how they should act. We need to set aside our disappointed hopes and deal with the situation for what it is, a character issue. This isn’t about what I expected of them, but, rather, of what God wants for my child.
Pride – We not only know our kids could have done a better job, other people saw our children act out. We want to bury our heads under a thick blanket and ground, for life, the child who chose to embarrass us so terribly. Pride is our obstacle. We need to put aside our pride of being humiliated to understand there are greater issues at work. This isn’t about us and our feelings, but about our children being right with God.
How do we counter these feelings? With…
Understanding & Humility – We aren’t perfect, why do we expect our children to be? Our children need to know we relate to their issues, we’ve dealt with them ourselves, and we want to help them overcome. When our children know we care, we sympathize, we empathize, and we want them to succeed, we have a greater opportunity to reach their hearts.
Forgiveness – Be quick to pardon your children. Forgiveness is part of the healing process and restores your child back into a right relationship with the family. Bringing our children back into a right relationship with ourselves and Christ is what this is all about.
Grace & Mercy – Grace is giving gifts when it’s not deserved. Mercy is not giving punishment when it is. When our children act out, it is the perfect opportunity to share these concepts with them. Just as Christ was gracious with us, while yet sinners, we should show our children grace. Just as Christ was merciful in His punishment towards us, we could use this situation to show mercy to our children.
No family is perfect. At times, all our children go through personal struggles and trials. As parents, we need to set aside our own hurt feelings and restore our children to Christ. The goal is to raise children who seek the Lord above all else.
Time to Chime In: Personally, when my children act out, my first instinct is to ask where I went wrong in my parenting. Do you struggle with this, too? In what ways do you question your parenting and what Biblical truth helps you overcome the self-doubt?
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32