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3 Ways to Relate Well to Children
Brothers and sisters of Find the Shepherd,
Good day! Recently I am very depressed. I find my daughter has fewer and fewer words to say to me. As soon as I open my mouth to speak to her, she would appear impatient and sometimes even stand up and leave at once, unwilling to say any word to me. The Bible says, “And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). I know I should treat my daughter according to those words, but in my daily life I still often educate my daughter as I desire. Yet, things turn out contrary to my wishes: She becomes more and more rebellious. I painstakingly raise her from infancy to adulthood, yet she is short with me and estranged from me. Every time I think about this, I feel very sad. How do we get like this? What should I do? Looking forward to your reply.
Hello! Sister Jingxin,
I’m sorry to learn about your distress and I understand how you feel. As a parent, we have paid great price to raise our children for many years, hoping they can be obedient. But contrary to our expectations, not only do they not listen to us, rather they become ever more estranged from us, which makes us very distressed. For example, in order to put our children through their education, we are strict about their study: When seeing the decline in their academic performance, we would hit them, push them and supervise them to improve their academic performance, and even sometimes don’t allow them to play. If they play around or disobey us, we would keep nagging, “Be obedient! You should study hard.” We parents think that we are doing this for our children while they actually feel pressured, unwilling to listen to us. As a result, the relationship between children and us becomes estranged. Faced with children who lost themselves online all day long, we, in order to control them, will nag them whenever seeing them playing on the computer. However, they always turn a deaf ear to us and even hide themselves in the internet bars and refuse to return home to escape our nagging. Facing this situation, we neither know the reason that causes this nor have the ability to change it. Then, how to solve these problems?
God’s words say: “Precisely because a parent always assumes their place as a parent and will not budge from it, keeping that status from which they will not come down, their child becomes at odds with them. A lot of things really result from the parent always assuming their place as such and taking themselves too seriously; they always see themselves as the parent, the elder: ‘Regardless of when, you won’t get escape from your mother’s (or father’s) control; you’ll still have to listen to me. You are my child. The fact of this doesn’t change, regardless of when.’ This viewpoint makes them miserable and wretched, and makes the child miserable and exhausted. Isn’t this the case? … And many parents think they are always right. ‘As long as it’s for the child’s sake, what I’m doing is right.’ They really have such thoughts and points of view. How could you not make mistakes? You too are a corrupted human being, how can you determine that you are without error? As long as you admit that you do not possess the truth, that you are a corrupted human being, then you have errors and you can make mistakes. You can make mistakes, yet at every turn how is it that you try to take charge of your children, and have them at every turn listen to you? Is this not an arrogant disposition? This is an arrogant disposition and a ferocious one at that” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity”).
God’s words reveal the reason why we can’t get along well with children. First, we always assume our place as a parent, trying to take charge of them and make them listen to us in everything. Besides, we always think that what we do is right and good for them. Controlled by these viewpoints, we think they should obey whatever we say; if they don’t, we will nag continually. We only consider our own feelings and thoughts while neglecting their feelings, which leads to them feeling pressured and not released. Consequently, the relationship between children and us becomes more and more estranged. In fact, such a situation is the result of our action dominated by Satan’s arrogant disposition. When we only focus on satisfying our own will, but ignore to seek the Lord’s will in His words, even though we know the Bible says: “And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), we still fail to practice the Lord’s words. But if we calm down to ponder the Lord’s will in connection with our actual difficulties and reflect upon ourselves, we will know: As a parent, we should help children more in accordance with the Lord’s demands instead of asking them to obey us, and should respect their choices rather than control them too much.
Let’s read another passage of God’s words: “Just be an ordinary person: Treat your children, treat those in your own family the same as you would an ordinary brother or sister. Although you have a responsibility, a fleshly relationship, nevertheless the position and perspective you should have is the same as with friends or ordinary brothers and sisters. That is, you can’t control, you can’t restrain your children, and always try to keep in command and have complete control over them. Let them make mistakes, let them say the wrong things, let them do childish and immature things, do stupid things. No matter what happens, sit down and calmly talk with them, communicate and seek. Don’t you think this attitude is good? Isn’t it right? So, what is being let go here? (Position and pride.) It is the letting go of the position and status of a parent, the airs of a parent, and all of the responsibility one thinks they should assume, everything that one thinks they should be doing as a parent; instead, it’s enough that one does the best they can in terms of their responsibility as an ordinary brother or sister” (“What Should One Possess, at the Very Least, to Have Normal Humanity”).
From these words, we can find several feasible ways, which can bring us closer to our children:
First, we shouldn’t think that since we are their parent, everything we do for them is right. As God says: “As long as you admit that you do not possess the truth, that you are a corrupted human being, then you have errors and you can make mistakes.” From these words, we know we don’t possess the truth, so what we say is not absolutely right. To force children to obey us is a sign of irrationality. Moreover, children have grown up and they have their own thoughts, views, considerations and plans. We should respect their choices, because God gave us humans the right to choose freely when He created Adam and Eve. We shouldn’t impose what we think good on them, nor force them to act according to our will. What we should do is to tell them our suggestions for their reference.
Second, we should treat children on an equal footing rather than always discipline them from the position of a parent. In fact, they are not unwilling to speak to us; after all, we are dearest kin; they need our care, love and mutual communication, hoping to get our understanding and support. Yet, sometimes we, standing in our position as a parent, force them to obey us in a lecturing tone or regard them as an “infant” unable to take care of themselves, which causes them to be antagonistic and produces a generation gap between us. If we let go of our position of a parent, calmly communicate with them on an equal footing, and learn to speak the words in our heart with them, making them know our thoughts, then we can better understand each other, and our relationship will become more and more normal. God teaches us: “When you fellowship the truth and speak the words in your heart, and describe something clearly and understandably, so that it can edify and benefit others, make them understand God’s will, and help them escape misunderstandings and fallacies, is there any need to stand on high? Is there any need to use a lecturing tone? You don’t need to scold them, you don’t need to speak loudly, or shout at them, much less use words, or a tone, or an intonation that are blunt. You just need to learn to use a normal tone, commune from the position and status of an ordinary person, speak calmly, speak the words in your heart, endeavor to pour out what you understand, what other people need to understand, and speak clearly and understandably.” So, we should consider things more from their standpoint and figure out a way in which they can communicate with us with relief and freedom.
Third, we should learn to let go of the rein on our children. We shouldn’t always think that they are too young to do well in everything. While fulfilling our duty as a parent, we should trust them and respect them, allowing them to do some things independently. After leaving parents, many children are actually able to take good care of themselves and their capabilities in many aspects have been improved. God says: “Parents always feel their children are small and that they have to keep tabs on them. The children feel their parents are old and don’t understand anything, they feel that they know too little of the outside world, and that they have to keep tabs on them and watch over them. In fact, when all is said and done, neither have normal humanity. Neither treat each other rationally from the perspective of normal people; they see the other as stupid, naive, as needing a lot of care or nagging. But after leaving their parents and spending two or three years away from home, the children are actually better at looking after themselves and dealing with different things by themselves, far more so than their parents could imagine. Yet the parents can never trust them, right?”
Maybe many parents worry this: Nowadays, the society becomes more and more degenerate; it’s common and often seen that people fight, play games, do drugs and gamble. So, we can’t set our mind at rest if we don’t watch them. This is indeed a real problem, but another realistic problem is that though many parents take strict charge of their children, they still become degenerated. Actually, the best way to solve the problem is to bring them before God, hand them over to Him and guide them to learn to rely on Him. Because only God can help them live out normal humanity. With God’s words guiding them, they can naturally see through Satan’s schemes and then resist the erosion of evil trends. Many teenagers around me used to play about, for which there lied an unbridgeable chasm between their parents and them; neither their parents nor their teachers were capable of educating them well. Yet since they believed in God, they came to know their brashness and arrogance from God’s words and know the meaning of living out normal humanity, and then, they began to rely on God to change their corrupt disposition. Now, they get along well with their parents, which is exactly the result achieved by God’s words in them.
I know a sister who once always said to her daughter, “I’m your mom, so you must obey me.” Gradually she found her daughter was increasingly distant toward her and didn’t speak to her from the heart. The sister felt depressed but didn’t know where the problem lied. Through reading God’s words, she reflected upon herself and knew that she was too arrogant to stand on an equal footing when getting along with her daughter. Then, she learned to open her heart to her daughter. When she let go of the airs of a parent and had a heart-to-heart talk with her daughter, her daughter also spoke to her from the heart and pointed out her shortcomings, and the sister accepted readily. Thereafter, her daughter often speaks heart-to-heart with her. Now the relationship between them is harmonious and worthy of envy.
We should learn from those who successfully handled the relationship with children by relying on God. We believe if you let go of the position of a parent, regard your daughter as a friend and a sister and communicate with her with an open heart in accordance with God’s will and demands, your relationship will be improved soon. May God bless you. All the glory be to God! Amen!
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