Today I want to share some encouragement on assisting those people (who are on loan from God) in your home that range from about 8 years old to adulthood. If you have grown children or are currently coaching (not controlling) kids in this age range, you know that they no longer think you have all the answers. That’s actually a good thing,……. um because you don’t. I don’t either. We all try to do our best and walk in the light that we have.
Today, I want to address controlling our kids due to fear. If you don’t think you do, ask yourself these questions?
- Do I preach to my kids about what they should and/or shouldn’t be doing when I see them making mistakes or when I believe they are about to make a mistake?
- Do I follow up on my kids regarding each area of responsibility to make sure that everything is completed properly and on time?
- Do I control how my children spend their money?
- Do I monitor every moment of my kids interaction online?
- Do I treat each child exactly the same so that everything is fair and equal?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of these, you may be parenting out of fear rather than love. You may be saying to yourself, “But Donna, aren’t we suppose to guide and teach our kids along the path to adulthood?” Absolutely! It’s just my opinion, but I believe that you have about 8 years to do that…..The first 8 years, not the last 8-10 before they are considered an adult at 18. Prophetically, 8 is the number of new beginnings. When a child is in their 8th year of life, I believe they begin to see things from a different perspective. This is where we benefit more from coaching rather than preaching and micro-managing. I believe that preaching and micro-managing causes our kids to begin to clam up and stop speaking how they really feel. I also sense that by about 12 or 13 years old is when they begin to silently plan their escape when they graduate. This can look like choosing a college on the other side of the country or getting married early in order to get out from the one who is “shoulding” all over them. Pay attention to yourself when you speak to your kids. Do you hear yourself telling them what they should and shouldn’t do, or are you asking them kind and gentle questions that lead them to self discovery?
Let’s have a look at the 5 questions above with a healthy, coaching, (not a fear-driven, controlling) spin on them:
- Do I want my child/children to be healthy adults who can make decisions and problem solve for themselves? If so, begin to ask them questions in a very kind and inquisitive way until you lead them to a viable, healthy, decision. Then you can encourage them by telling them how proud you are of how competent they have become in making decisions for themselves. If you do this, you will find that they come back again when they need advice or coaching.
- Do I want them to complete tasks given to them on time and not blame anyone else when they drop the ball? If you don’t let your kids fail at home, they will have a tough time not blame-shifting their mistakes onto other people as adults. Let your kids be late for school, fail a class (I bet this struck some fear into some parents), forget their books (and you don’t run them to school), play a sport and stink at it, etc. Let them fail forward to success. If you keep catching them out of fear of their failure you will both fail. We all must learn from the pain of regret in order to change bad habits.
- Do I want to raise kids who are not relying on handouts and can manage their money, learning to tithe, save, pay their bills and then spend on themselves last? Teach them these principles, model the behavior yourself and then allow them to learn from their own mistakes, coaching them in a loving, supportive way. If they spend all of their money on something frivolous and want something else, please don’t bail them out. Love them enough to let them learn from some monetary failure while they are still living under your roof.
- Do I want them to have a healthy, functioning mind that can focus on a task at work for more than 5 minutes? Most of us know by now that screen time is causing our kids to have a shorter attention span and find pornography at a very early age. And no, this is not just a male issue! Find the balance between carefully monitoring their phone activity and with building trust and confidence in your teens so that they can learn to rule their own spirit without excessive or unholy screen time. It’s wise to limit the hours, check the content, and not allow the phone in their bedrooms at night. Most stores still make alarm clocks if that is the reason why they keep their phone overnight. The other benefit is that your child will be exposed to 8-10 hours less of radiation that is emitting from their phone if it is not kept in their room.
5. Do I treat each child as an individual based on their age, birth order, love language, and personality? This is equality parenting. I don’t have to tell you how different each of your kids are from the other(s). One may need a different style of discipline from the others. They all probably receive and feel love differently. Take the time to find out and give each one individually what they need. This will make them feel valued and loved.
I know these techniques work because I have seen them in action. Fear driven parenting pushes kids away and causes rebellion. Faith and love parenting keeps them open to us as adults. If we want our kids to become adults who want to live and serve in Christ, we need to model His behavior at home.
1 John 4:18, Message