When children seriously misbehave there is usually an underlying cause. Maybe they’re feeling insecure, so they act up to get more of your time and attention, reassurance, and love. Maybe they’re upset about something that happened at school. Maybe they’re testing the boundaries you’ve set, to see if you mean what you said. Maybe it is time to change some rules in order to give them more room to grow. Whatever the case, it’s important to find out why they’re misbehaving, and how you can help them get back on track. Most problems don’t just go away by themselves, nor are children usually equipped to handle them on their own. Many times the children themselves don’t even know what’s wrong. They need a parent’s love and guidance.
It’s part of your responsibility as a parent to give your children the training they need. Parenting is more than comforting your children when they fall down, or making sure they get the proper nutrition and brush their teeth. You are responsible for their spiritual training as well, and the foundation stone of that is loving and consistent discipline-by which they learn a fear of the Lord, respect for His Word and His instructions, and how to live lovingly.
The best way to know what your children need and how to help them-the only way, really-is to ask the Lord about it. Next to having the Lord’s love, the most important key to successful parenting is learning to ask the Lord for the answers. Jesus always has just the answer you need. Having Jesus as a parenting partner lifts a great deal of the load off of you. You know you can always go to Him in prayer, and He will speak to your heart and mind with the guidance you need.
If your child is in a difficult phase that’s been going on for weeks or months or even years, and you’re losing patience-or even if you’re losing patience after two minutes!-ask Jesus for help. Share your burden with Him; He has lots of patience. He has great patience with your faults and failings, so He will help you be patient with your children’s. When you feel at the end of your rope, ask Him for His patience, and His love. Hold on to Him, and His Spirit will calm your own, bring solutions to your mind and help you to ride out the storm of difficulties that may arise. He can fill your heart and mind with His love, which enables you to have patience beyond your own abilities.
The Steps of a Child
If a child lives with criticism
He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility
He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule
He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame
He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance
He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement
He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise
He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness
He learns justice.
If a child lives with approval
He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship
He learns to find love in the world.
–Dorothy Law Nolte