Understand. Seek to understand the uniqueness of every of your children according to their age, temperament and mental capacity. Understand, for example, that you cannot discipline a teenage child in the way that you may discipline a pre-teen. To do so will evoke bitterness and rebellion to worsen the situation. As your child grows more responsible (able to take initiative, or to perform duties with little supervision), seek to give more freedom. But to understand your children at any age, you must communicate with your children. Remember not to fall into the trap of speaking to your children in bold print (as in terse commands, comments and inquisitions)! Converse with them and seek to understand them. Do not modify the principles of obedience according to the character of each child, but seek to help each one of them overcome their particular weaknesses and temptations. Avoid comparing them with one another. Avoid any appearance of favouritism. Therefore remember to express your approval to a child whenever he does well, in a way that does not put down the rest or stir up envy or any perception of favouritism.
Apart from understanding your children’s character, seek also to understand yourself vis-à-vis your relationship with your children. Learn to listen to your children. It can be very humbling for parents to have to listen to their children, but remember that the process of bringing up children should be sanctifying not only for the children, but for their parents. As a parent you will be naturally tempted to reject anything your children have to say about you. But remember that whether or not your children’s perception of you is correct or wrong, if it is a negative perception, it has to be dealt with as if it is reality. Do not try to correct your child’s perception of you by telling him to correct his perception. Rather, seek the Lord’s grace to make any necessary changes in the way that you relate to your child so that you can continue to be a positive influence to nurture your child in Christ. This does not mean, for example, that you should let your child do whatever he wants because your child tells you he prefers his friend’s parents’ laissez-faire approach; but remember that heartfelt repentance is often necessary for parents as they are brought to realise their failures by seeing themselves reflected in their children’s behaviour or by hearing the children’s assessment of them.
Copyright © 2011 JJ Lim
Posted by GDS with permission.
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