Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Fathers, do not exasperate your children: instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. -Ephesians 6:4
As a parent, let us delve into your relationship with your children. The interaction that you share with your children is more than an encounter, but a relationship. How you connect with your children, how you speak with your children, how your children feel safe and protected is impacted by your relationship with them.
Let us not impair or poorly equip our children for the world by instilling a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of sound mind as the Bible says. With cultural differences in mind and possibly more observed in westernized societies, we hope to develop independent, critical thinking skills while ensuring that they speak their mind, but be respectful in how they did so. Do not quench the spirit, encourage your children to think for themselves and to know that it is acceptable if they do not agree with your stance, especially as they get older. As parents, let us be mindful to not raise or teach our children out of fear or from a place of fear. For instance, a child may be afraid of coming home past curfew for fear of his or her parent. Some parents may see this as a positive feeling while others may see this as indifferent. It may be a fear of disappointing their parents or fear of being caught for the punishment that follows. I want to pose a question to you. Would you want your child to have a fear of you, a fear of displeasing God, or both? I would hope that children do not intentionally want to disappoint their parents, but the ultimate hope for all of us as parents should be that our children have a higher desire to please God because in pleasing God, they will ultimately honor us as their parents.
How do we teach that motivation in our children? How do we teach our legacy lived through our children to have an internal desire to please God? Through modeling, demonstrating, teaching, discussion and straight-forward age-appropriate conversation (not sugarcoating), setting the example through mentorship, and prayer. What are we modeling and living in front of our children? What are we teaching and how are we speaking into the lives of our children? In my own life with my son, it is imperative that he understand the importance of having an opinion and even with disagreeing with me, to do so with respect. It is in the tone and delivery.
So what should your relationship with your child look like? Does it change as he or she becomes older? Absolutely!!! Your relationship with your children starts before the womb as you begin to pray for your children’s life. When in the womb, do not be afraid to lay hands over your stomach and pray blessings over their lives and their children and future generations. Pray for the strength and wisdom of God to be the parents that God has called you to be. Pray for the ability to recognize and promote their spiritual gifts, and for their protection.
So what am I saying? Prayer is the first step in developing a sound relationship with your children, with Christ being the head of the parental relationship. As you evaluate your parenting relationship, ask yourself what factors play a role in your relationship? Where did you learn this type of relationship? Is it volatile? Allow this to be a check-in moment, a moment of reflection when you genuinely ask yourself if your relationship with your children a reflection of God’s love. Is your relationship with your children a reflection of God’s love? When we look at our relationship with our children it is a reflection of our relationship with God?