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The Word for Today

by Bob and Debby Gass

Raising great kids in a troubled world (2)

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‘Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD , …’ Psalm 127:3 NKJV

Over the next few days, let’s look at some practical areas where parents are often confused. (If you’re not a parent, why not use these points to help you pray for parents you know.)

Guidance versus criticism. If you have a placid, agreeable, and compliant child who enjoys school, homework, and doing household chores, bringing ‘… them up in the training and instruction of the Lord’ will be a joy! (Ephesians 6:4 NIV). Many of us, however, are given assertive, strong-willed kids with their own agendas. These kids know what they want, and when and how to get it. They also know what they don’t want to eat, wear, hear, say, and do! And parents or carers of these kids need help in building the kind of relationship that creates trust and allows for mutual discussion and respect in a tug-of-war atmosphere. In such cases giving guidance can easily become criticism, constantly emphasising the child’s faults: ‘You look ridiculous in that. … You’re never on time. … ‘Why can’t you be like …’ A much better approach is to point the kid to the solution.

Even valid guidance offered negatively will damage self-worth, breed resentment, and destroy the possibility of building mutual respect. They need to hear you say, ‘I’m not on your back – I’m on your team!’ When normal conflict arises – and it will – it’s tempting to become overbearing or frustrated. When you shout, insult, or humiliate the child, you lose sight of your parental goal of guiding and training. This leaves them feeling angry, disempowered, uncertain of themselves and you – an invitation to rebellion. But if you guide your child as one who is on their team, with patient practical help, links will be forged that encourage cooperation, trust, and mutual respect.

SoulFood: Gal 5:22 Luke 19:11-26 Ps 36:5-9 Heb 10:19-23

The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright 2024

The Word for Today

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