Children are a blessing and a gift from God. Parents are granted privilege in bringing up children. It is a fulfilling experience but can also be hard at the same time. Many struggle to find the right balance between being authoritative and being permissive in parenting. We tend to over do and end up in either of the extreme. Overtime, this can have negative impact. How can we balance this in parenting? Let us read from Apostle Paul’s advice on this topic.
Do not provoke your children to anger:
Parents have authority over children. Just with any authority, it is easy for parents to push to extremes; making others feel irritated and angry. Parents are not exceptions and can provoke kids to anger. It can lead to bitterness overtime. Parental authority is essential but it can serve the purpose in family only when we balance with love.
Apostle Paul asked parents not to provoke children. How can a parent provoke a child? First, Parents can provoke a child by acting out in their own weaknesses. When a parent deal with a child unreasonably, harshly, abusing physically/verbally, showing out anger constantly, showing favoritism, discouraging and so on, these can push a child over to anger and resentment. Many are insensitive on how these shortcomings can impact children.
Secondly, parents can provoke a child to anger by how they deal with child’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Just as any human, a child is not perfect, but how are we dealing the problems? Many times, parents keep complaining, embarrass, punish and discourage children expecting to change their behavior. If parents keep exasperating a child in wrong way, sooner or later it will make the child aggravate with anger and turn to hostility.
Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord:
Instead, there is a better way. Bring them up in discipline and instruction of the Lord. As a parent, we need to take personal ownership in helping our children overcome weaknesses. This is when we add love to our authority and set to action. We burden as a parent but stand along with our child helping in every way. Every child is an unique creation and a precious gift from God. We have to train, nurture, guide, correct, discipline with love; making sure the child is able to develop disciplined maturing life.
If you find it difficult, think of this. Even though we were separated from God and lived in a sinful life. God showed his love through Jesus Christ and saved us from our destruction. There is no doubt God has absolute authority but at the same time he showered his love without a limit. If we experienced this love from our heavenly Father, don’t we need to show this love to our children?
Many of us are happy to stop at this stage and let the church handle the instruction of the Lord part. Parents responsibility is not complete if we miss this critical part. We need to train, discipline, teach, instruct leading the children to the Lord. For this to happen, parents need to walk in God’s word. We have to be a model they can learn from and follow. God uses our life to teach his truth which will be written in their minds for years to come. Are we leading our children to Christ?
Let us take a moment and think about what we are trying to achieve when we keep provoking our children. Yes, it can be tough with our own strength and with our limitations. Scripture says we need to be filled and controlled by the holy spirit to be able to overcome our weaknesses and also help our child. When we ask in prayer, God will fill us with his wisdom to build a family for the glory of God.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4