When my kids were in the teen years and there seemed to be more conflict in our home than I wanted to deal with, I started doing some introspection as to what truths I held in my parenting. What I discovered was that all the things I had learned from my parents during my childhood weren’t necessarily true.
As children we see and learn through a child’s mind. We interpret things through a brain that is not fully developed and doesn’t have the full breadth of experience of adulthood. And depending on how we interpret the world, either through a the lens of a glass half-full or a glass half-empty, whether we felt safe, loved, needed, and had purpose, determines whether we view our family of origin’s parenting style in a positive or negative light.
Either way, it will have impact on how we parent. We will either choose to parent how our parents parented or we will choose to do something different. Most likely if we didn’t like how our parents parented, we will pendulum swing and do the exact opposite.
The question we have to ask ourselves though is what is our parenting Truth?
Are there lies that we believed as a child that impact us and keep us from being the parent God wants us to be?
Are there actions or reactions in your parenting that need to be viewed from an adult lens rather than what was modeled or said to you when you were a child? Are there lies we are believing that stem from our culture? The neighbors? Or other parents?
It has been amazing to me through the years as I’ve interacted with many parents how we as Christians will justify our words, our negative reactions, and sometimes anger at our child. Our disrespect of our child’s perspective, feelings, or requests can easily be overlooked. After all, we’re the parent and think we know best.
I’ve been there. I’ve offered a sweet chuckle as I’ve shared a story of an interaction with my child trying to “normalize” my response. It’s something I saw modeled and took as my own. Somehow we think that if we laugh about our sinful response to our kids we feel justified in our actions rather than feeling remorse and moving toward reconciliation with our teen.
I think that God gives us these sometimes difficult teen years to help us see His Truth in our parenting rather than what we think is truth.
So what about you? What truths do you hold to in your parenting that may not be truths at all?
- It’s my job to make sure my kids are happy.
- If I orchestrate the family schedule, no one will feel left out.
- I need to give my kid every experience possible.
- If my teen challenges me, maybe I was too harsh and should back down.
- When my child is emotionally acting out, I should use my authority to bring them under control.
- Everyone else their age has electronic devices so I have to get them one so they don’t feel left out.
- How I respond to my kids is justified based on what and how they say things to me.
- If my kid works hard he can be whatever he wants to be.
- The kids will only be with us for a few more years, their desires are more important than our marriage. We’ll have time for us in a few years after they are gone.
- If we are good parents our children will make wise choices.
- If my kids work hard at their studies or sports, they’ll get a scholarship for college.
- My thoughts on what is going on in our home don’t need to be verbalized because they aren’t important.
- What our parents think about our parenting choices should be part of our decision making.
- I need to compare our family to other families to make sure our kids measure up.
- If what I say as a parent is met with silence and non-compliance from my child, I need to just give up on trying to get them to respond.
- It is up to me to give, give, and give to my teens at the risk of feeling like a slave to their needs.
- The only thing we can take to heaven is our kids.
- I can control who my child dates or marries.
- And the list goes on.
The lies we have bought into that affect our parenting can become toxic patterns that the enemy would love for us to embrace. These lies or partial truths not only affect the quality of our relationships in our homes but give us a weak foundation in our parenting because when we base our decisions on anything other than God’s Truth, we will typically pendulum swing in our responses based on how we feel in the moment or whether we have enough energy to fight the battle.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Dare you to look back at your own childhood and filter the things you learned about parenting through the lens of adulthood. Let the Holy Spirit guide you into the His Truths as you parent your kids by taking your lies and half-truths and making them obedient to Christ.
“Let go…and let God”,
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