To all the places that I have traveled to, I have without exception come across broken parents. They seem encouraged to see a young man on the stage and their hopes renewed to believe for their children. They rush to me, after the service, for prayers but most of them are hurt and in pain. They tell me how their children have rebelled and not understood their heart. May be you are one of among those helpless ones reading this.
What you, as parents, must understand is that your children have strong desires, too. They have their emotions and their reasons to why they want what they want. Now, that does not mean they are right or wrong but just that you must attempt to accommodate them and view things from their perspective to really understand what they want.
Here are few things to keep in mind:
Do not try to compare your children with someone else in your time. That certainly does not work for the simple fact that 60 years ago, the culture did not even have what we have today. Before the industrial age, teens worked on their parents’ farms until they got married. With industrialization, they had a choice to make and go out to earn money and get married. But with the modern age, the lifestyle of the youth has drastically changed. They go through high school, college and often graduate school before they get married. That means from school to graduation, they are introduced to a multicultural environment and people that expose them to different things beyond what you or your grandparents lived through. So, begin by understanding the time your children live in. That makes it easy on the young ones, too.
Over and over, I’ve heard parents say that they would instantly obey and never dream of opposing or question what their parents would say. But, is it not true that with the current educational and societal advancements, children have been compelled to reason, think and act independently? And, in many cases or most of the cases, the youth are left feeling unloved when there is no freedom to reason, as though their opinions do not matter at all.
By getting angry and showing who is in control only gives them a feeling of being left out. Instead, begin to love them. Let them know that even if you do not agree on something, you still love them. That way, they will be open to correction in the future and even begin to trust you with their secrets. By letting fear in their heart, you burn future bridges.
Be their Friend
There is no better method to parenting than to be their friend first. Once you begin to see their world through their eyes, you easily begin to understand their challenges. I see many parents who have been ignorant to the different culture that they live in today. Their world is bombarded with graphics and sounds through media and technology, communication at their finger tips, knowledge and exposure to sexuality, violence, divorce in a much or fully compromised fashion. Now is when they need their parents to be their friend and their role model. When you give them the strength they need by being a friend, you will then be an influence more than any peer pressure around them.
Fuel their Dream
Sadly, many parents force their children to live their dream. It is not fair to force your dream to be a doctor or a lawyer on your children. God made them unique. Even though it is not wrong to expose them to the possibilities, do not put pressure on them to live your dream. Be their guide in helping them find their destiny in God and be the one who will fuel their dream.
Thankfully, we cannot disappoint God because He has no expectations that you can surprise him with, for he knows the end from the beginning. But, sadly, it is not the same with us. We are humans and we expect but remember that your children are not machines. Do not make the mighty mistake of comparing your children with others. You will then sow insecurity into their life. We are all made unique. Remember failure is not their end either. You can either let failure take away their confidence or let them soar against the wind.
Take time to be with them. Did you know love can be spelled as T-I-M-E? Oh yes, even grown-up kids love it when their parents take the efforts to take time off to be with them and listen to them. Don’t ignore their presence in your life, no matter how busy you are. Appreciate the little changes in them. Tell them that what you love about them. Don’t forget to let them know that you are thankful to God for giving you such a child.
Last but not the least, pray! When all is said and done, the fact is that the enemy is waging war against our children, their youth. So, the greatest help you can render is by interceding for them on your knees. There is nothing God cannot do! Let them grow up seeing your prayer life and soon they will understand that prayer is their greatest help, too.
I am still convinced that parents are still the greatest influence on our youth today. May God give you the patience, wisdom and strength.
What are your thoughts?