(Originally written on May 20, 2009.)
I have a friend who believes in letting her children express themselves in any way that they feel appropriate – throwing things, hitting things, talking disrespectfully, etc… This behavior has caused a division in my relationship with my friend, as well as our childrens’ relationship. It is difficult for me to witness her childrens’ outbursts, let alone to allow my children to witness them. My husband and I are very strict when it comes to how our children are allowed to express themselves. Even when they are angry, we expect them to be respectful. They can share their feelings, but not in a way that may hurt others.
I feel that the Bible is very clear about this:
Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.
Even a child is known by his behavior! I want my children to be known as lovers of the Truth and seekers of His will.
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
God expects us, as parents who love our children, to discipline our children and to have Godly standards for them. In obedience to this, I believe that we MUST expect our children to behave appropriately, even when they are angry.
Proverbs 19:18 Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction.
Proverbs 23:13 Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
If we do not discipline our chidren, we are setting them up for destruction. What mother or father would intentionally set their children up for failure? I think that, sometimes, we are so worried about how our children feel…we miss the mark. It isn’t about how our children feel, it is about their eternal soul.
Ephesians 6: 1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.”
I want my children to have long lives, and I want them to have Christ’s hand upon their lives. I want to set them up to succeed as adults, and to always seek HIS will for their lives.
I know that I cannot always protect my children from the world, or the ways of the world. I know that they will have friends who are disrespectful to their parents. I know that my children, too, may be disrespectful to me. When they are disrespectful, however, I know that I am called to follow the Word and to discipline them.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
I believe that my children will yield much fruit as adults. I see their fruit already. Do we fail? Yes, we do. We are still human and often fall short.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
When we fail we accept correction. We want others to see our fruit and to have a desire to have what we have — a relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior.
My heart hurts over the division between my friend and me. I pray for her family, for her children. I pray that the Lord will make it easier for me to be with her children and that He will give me a soft heart for them.
In Him, Beckie