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Prone To Wander Myth

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Entries in christian parenting (2)


Parents: We are not Correction Officers

I hate to see children who are rigidly controlled like cattle, poked and prodded; or like lab rats, rewarded or punished based upon an adult's perception of successfully meeting expectations.  Control and compliance, the handmaids of shame,  assault my spirit to the core and this is an issue I am currently researching and writing about. 

I thought I was doing much better at stepping back from over-correcting my kids, refusing to control their every decision ...until I tried this little experiment:

Experiment:  Try not to correct your child for a day, or even one hour.  [Unless, of course, there's a safety issue involved.]  Try not to say, "no" or evaluate their behavior.  Don't pressure them to conform to your expectations.  Just connect with them

The experiment was all too revealing for me.  Though I think my parenting has changed for the better in the last few years, and I'm much more conscious of trying not to unnecessarily control my kids, the experiment showed me just how ingrained and reflexive my need to correct them was. 

It's also draining and takes an enormous amount of energy to control others -- energy that could be used to connect with them rather than getting them to comply with our often rigid expectations.



  • Just one day.  Or even one hour. 
  • No corrections, except for safety concerns:  Just connect with their hearts. 

Try it and let me know what you discover.


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Parenting with the good and noble heart

You can grow up under 'Christian' parents, in a household devoted to Scripture and faithful church attendance, and still develop a debilitating sense of shame.  As a child, your motives and actions will be nitpicked with the sharp stick of displeasure.  Your motives and behavior will be picked apart with forensic and relentless scrutiny by your parents.  You'll conclude that you are not nor ever will be fully-pleasing to somebody -- your family or to God. 

And the parent does this because they believe it is an act of love.

I don't doubt these Christian parents deeply love their children.  I've had to take a close look at my own approach to my children.  We simply have been given a wrong set of assumptions about our kids [and our own] hearts. 

So here's a better set of assumptions you can have about your children who know Christ:

1.  They do not have a rebellious nature any longer.

2.  They are not setting out to make your life difficult:  There's always something going on underneath the "bad behavior."  Is it fear?  Hurt?  Exhaustion?  Do they feel harassed by constant nitpicking?

3.  They need to know Jesus has made their hearts genuinely good.

4.  They need to know that their heart matters more than their behavior.

5.  They need to know that your primary focus is not on their sin or misbehavior:  This is not a fault-finding expedition. Even if their actions need to be exposed because they are dangerous or violate relationship, our highest intent is to draw out the power and resources of their new hearts.  Not every mistake or fault needs to be pointed out.

You can move towards your children with these assumptions because you have a good and noble heart.  You already want to love them in this new way.