“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” – Colossians 3:20-21
Parenting is tough. Just look at all the books, blogs, and other so-called “professionals” offering their latest, greatest method. It’s pretty clear people are looking for help. So what does God’s Word have to say on the subject? When the Bible mentions raising kids, it specifically calls out dads and says, “Don’t exasperate or discourage your children.” Moms, this goes for you too. However, God clearly puts the major responsibility on the fathers in raising healthy kids.
So what does ‘exasperating’ or discouraging your kids look like?
- Too strict or too rigid – When your children think there is no way they can ever please you, it crushes their spirit. They tend to become resentful, bitter, and angry.
- Too lenient, passive, or disengaged – This can look like prioritizing work, hobbies, or a particular sports game over the family. Kids think dad doesn’t care.
- To desert the family – The fact is that over 40% of all children born in America today are born to fatherless homes. The resentment, bitterness, and depression that children can feel when dad deserts the family or is “just not there” in passive indifference can cause a child to feel unloved.
- Dad does not love mom – The best way to be a good parent is to love your spouse. Nothing gives a child greater security and greater emotional stability than seeing mom and dad love and respect one another. And nothing harms the psyche and self-image of a child, like seeing mom and dad tearing each other down.
Parenting is hard. There’s no one size fits all. In fact, it’s pretty clear that today’s “modern family” is more than a little complicated.
However, the power of the gospel is the power to transform your parenting, whatever your situation. No matter how dysfunctional or how healthy your family, your kids, or your life appears, choose to live life counter-culturally. Seek to parent and respect your parents – God’s way!