IN THIS EPISODE OF THE PODCAST, I’M GOING TO TELL YOU A STORY ABOUT A “BAD PARENTING” EXPERIENCE I HAD AND WALK THROUGH WHAT WOULD HAVE TURNED IT INTO A “GOOD PARENTING” SITUATION…
We’ve seen bad parenting before…
It was in a restaurant, at a ball game, or in the store. A parent was being held hostage by a 3 year old, or a ten year old, or a seventeen year old. The tantrums, moody attitudes, screams when the parent tries to do something for the child’s good, and overall disrespectful attitudes showed to everyone who was unfortunate enough to have to witness the event, that the child AND the parent were out of control. We were the one unfortunate enough to be witnessing a scenario just like that once, long ago, when my oldest son was just 3 years old. It was at Chili’s and a few tables away, a 5 year old boy was dominating his parents something terrible. The fits, food throwing, and disrespect was so thick you could feel it. My son sat in his high chair, saliva dripping out of his open mouth, right onto his chicken nuggets. He was only 3, but even he knew something wasn’t right. With eyes wide he turned to us and said, “That boy need a panking.” So, what are we to think of this case study? Let’s consider what the scriptures have to say. Did you know that the Bible only gives 2 commands that are specifically directed at children? The first is found in both Colossians 6:12 and Ephesians 3:20. It says… Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
It’s HUGE. And it’s the part of a child’s responsibility toward their parents that most parents focus on. WE work hard to make sure our kids are doing what they’re told, that they are following our household rules and standards, that they are doing their chore chart and not hitting their little sister. Obedience is important, and we should focus on it as parents. BUT, if it’s all we’re focusing on, we run the risk of being the parent in the scenario we just described. The second command directly given to children was initially given in Exodus 20:12 and is reiterated 7 more times in the scriptures, and 6 of those in the New Testament. Here it is… Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
What exactly IS honor as it applies to parents? It’s not that our children need to bow down every time we enter the room. It’s not that they are to serve us like a slave. It’s not that our word is next to the word of God in significance and they have no room to question it. As parents, we are fallen, fallible human beings, just like our children are, and it’s good for us to keep that in mind. What honor means for a child is this: They are to understand and humbly submit to this fact: Parents are God’s appointed authority over their children. They represent God’s authority and guidance and wisdom over the child. So, when a child rebels against his or her parents, they are rebelling against the authority God Himself has established for their good. Dishonor toward parents is dishonor toward God. Honor is manifested through respect. It’s about attitude. It’s about valuing the provision, protection, and guidance that God Himself has put over them, through their parents. THAT is the child’s responsibility, and it’s not one that comes naturally. That means that parents are responsible to teach their children about honor. That’s where it gets tough for some of us. Parents often wonder, “How can I teach my child to honor me, without sounding like a self-serving jerk?” It’s a good question, and it deserves a solid answer.
FIRST, make sure you start early, teaching your kids from a very early age what God says about their responsibility toward you, as their parent. Here’s the key: Lean on God’s authority. Show your children that God says it is right for them to honor you, and that it pleases Him when they do.
SECOND, Make sure they know what “honor” means, in practical terms. They could memorize the Bible verse, “Honor your father and mother,” but if they don’t understand what it MEANS to honor you, they won’t be able to do it. So… as a parent, do YOU know what “honor” means, in practical terms? It might be easier to consider from the standpoint of what dishonor looks like. Dishonor is seen primarily in attitudes, and attitudes are often revealed in things like…
- Facial expressions – rolling the eyes, looks of disinterest
- Audible sounds – heavy sighs, sounds of indignation, whining, screaming, telling you “no”
- Body language – stomping the foot, tantrums,
These and a thousand other things communicate disrespect, dishonor toward you as a parent. You cannot allow those things. The child should be disciplined for those things just as much as if they directly disobeyed you. Some parents have a hard time with that, because it can be much less tangible of a thing to detect. But you have to learn to discern bad attitudes and discipline your children for them. If you don’t, they will learn that they are allowed to disrespect you, which will perpetuate disrespectful attitudes all the more.
So, some scenarios:
- You’re trying to put your child’s coat on and they scream in rebellion. That’s dishonor. You should not allow it.
- You tell the child they cannot go to their friend’s house. They whine and beg and plead… they might even threaten. That is dishonor. You should not allow it.
- You insist on your teenager being home at a reasonable hour, and they stomp their foot, loudly insist that you’re unfair, and roll their eyes. That’s dishonor. You should not allow it.
Hear me out parents.
Disrespect and the rebellion that flows from it are serious matters. You wouldn’t allow your child to get into witchcraft, or spiritism, or divination, would you? Then why would you allow them to harbor a rebellious attitude? The scriptures equate those two things: 1 Samuel 15:23 – For rebellion is as the sin of divination
Allowing your children to disrespect you is allowing them to do something that is BAD FOR THEM. It’s letting them wander into a danger zone, where nothing but harm can come from it.