Is it possible that the behavior of our children is a result of our parenting?
This is a question I have been pondering on for a few months.
As a father, I can tell you, this has been a challenge for me. You know, for some reason when children become teenagers they think they have all the answers.
And if I can keep it real, that frustrates me.
In those moments it was convenient and acceptable in my eyes, to exert my authority as the father and the head of this house; insisting that my children just do what I say.
You can imagine this only led to more frustration for all of us. Because, I realized that I was instructing and disciplining from a place of ultimate authority instead of love.
While I would like to think I have the ultimate authority in my home, the truth is God has the ultimate authority because our children belong to Him.
I realized as a father, I am being used as an instrument of God’s hand to instruct and discipline His children according to His commands, not mine.
This wasn’t an easy lesson, but one worth learning.
“Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it.” ~ Proverbs 22:6 (AMPC)
We are instructed to raise God’s children in THE WAY, which means the way of the Lord’s.
Not my way, or how I think our children should behave. And definitely not my way of disciplining.
THE WAY implies there are many ways; but only THE WAY is what counts. And it is that WAY that I should instruct and discipline according to the ultimate authority of Jesus Christ.
You see, God isn’t looking for religious fathers, but righteous fathers who can lead their families by example.
God isn’t looking for religious fathers, but righteous fathers.
Sometimes when we lead with our thinking, we end up provoking instead of instructing our children.
Do Not Provoke Your Children
I would like to think I am good at many things. However provoking isn’t a characteristic I want to be known for.
Fathers tend to be harder and stricter than mothers, but I’m learning that there should be a balance to our approach.
Our parenting style may be different than our wives, but we should be on the same page, and the same understanding of how we are going to train up and discipline our children according to the Word.
“Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.”
~ Ephesians 6:4 (AMPC)
Men, in our instruction and discipline we don’t want to provoke, irritate or exasperate our children the wrong way. It will only have an adverse effect, causing them to pull away and stay angry. Lord knows we don’t want that.
Unfortunately, I was headed that way.
My Parenting Revelation
Not too long ago I struggled with getting my daughter to talk to me. Because I work outside of the home, when I would get home, and hear the conversations with my children and their mother, I would feel left out.
Since my wife works from home, she is around them more often. As a result, she has frequent conversations surrounding around whatever is going on during the day.
Well, when I get home, I’m tired, I’ve had a long day at work, and when I hear bits of conversation I would insert my authority or be quick to respond to something I didn’t like or hear without knowing the full story. Over time that started to push my daughter away.
When I discussed my concerns to my wife, she encouraged me to seek advice from a father I respected and one who experienced a similar struggle with his teenage daughter.
Was that uncomfortable to go to another man and admit my shortcomings with my parenting?
However, my desire for a better relationship with my daughter outweighed my desire to keep my pride.
That conversation helped me tremendously. I began to see where I was instructing and disciplining from a place of my authority and not God’s.
I needed to learn to instruct and discipline through the commands of God, which consists of love, grace and gentleness. Characteristics that don’t necessarily come natural for men.
How Can We Prevent Provoking Our Children?
If you can relate to what I’m sharing with you today, I want you to be encouraged because there is HOPE.
There are three ways we can safeguard our hearts, words and actions, toward our children so that we don’t provoke them.
Seek to make obedience desirable and attainable.
Fathers we have to purpose to make obedience desirable and attainable. We don’t want our children obeying us out of fear, but out of love and respect.
On the other hand, we have to be mindful of what we are asking our children to do.
Are we trying to live our life through theirs? Giving them instructions that only sets them up to fail because the demand for them wasn’t intended for them to begin with?
If we were to take inventory of our parenting skills, how many of our children can say they find obedience to their parents desirable and attainable?
This was a huge area of opportunity for me. I allowed the position I hold as the father to cloud my response to love as a man of God.
Instruct and discipline according to God’s command.
This was probably the most impactful revelation for me. Fathers, we are only an instrument to God’s hand, we are not God’s hand in itself.
So when we instruct and discipline God’s children, we do so under God’s command never presenting ourselves as ultimate authority.
Fathers are only an instrument of God’s hand, we are not God’s hand in itself.
When we do this we will naturally parent with love, grace and gentleness.
Become Men Of The Word
In order for our children to become children of the Word, fathers must first become MEN of the WORD. As it is only then, that we can demonstrate righteousness to our children.
We must make time to spend time with our Heavenly Father through prayer and reading God’s word. Remember, God has the ultimate authority so we should prioritize seeking His help to guide our parenting.
Bottom line, our children must see us walk the walk, and talk the talk, in order to respect our training and discipline.
In The End
What our children learn from us will be imprinted on their minds and hearts.
We only have a certain amount of available time with our children. So for me personally, I would rather instruct and discipline my children in a way that makes obedience desirable and attainable; rather than leaving a legacy of provoking and separation.
PIN FOR LATER
~ André Gray