Slavic, Christian moms and dads, do you reflect the love of Jesus in your parenting?
As a Slavic, Christian therapist, I often get asked the question, “How do I respond if my children don’t listen to me as a parent?”
Well, let me ask you this question, “Are the expectations that you set for your child valid, or are they a projection of your own expectations and/or insecurities?”
Some parents may follow up this question by asking, “Well my kid(s) doesn’t listen to me. They’re a screw-up, they’re a loser, and until they listen to me, I will not give them my love.”
Let me ask you a follow-up question. What if God responded to you that way? What if until you were perfect in your own efforts, God would withhold his love from you? Imagine another scenario, if no matter how much you screwed up, and every time you screwed up, God will become angry and say, “I’m just gonna hit you, I’m going to end your life. I brought you into this world and I can get you out of here too.”
Imagine if God was like that.
Who would you become?
You’d most likely be dead a long time ago because you can NEVER be perfect on your own. So what would it be like to respond to your children the same way that God actually responds to you? With love, forgiveness, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, grace, and mercy…
How much different would parenting look then?
The truth is, parenting would look just like Jesus dying on the cross to honor and obey His Father. It would look like selfless love. Imagine parents going to the cross daily to make sure their child knows and loves Jesus. If we were honest with ourselves, this is the kind of parenting that every single one of us has longed for anyway.
Due to sin, many of us didn’t receive it. We got the very strict, conservative, legalistic, conditional kind. We often received ungraceful modeling of “love” that said, “You better do this or else…. you better listen to me because I said so….” What was the outcome of this kind of parenting style? Many wounded hearts told themselves, “It’s not safe to open up and be vulnerable with my parents. I must perform to earn their love with my works.” Sadly, we many tried only to feel empty, worthless, and unloveable no matter how hard we tried.
So enough worrying about what we want and how to respond that please us. Let’s focus instead of what God says to us. He says, “Listen and obey because you love me. Honor me because you love me.” He says this with the utmost tenderness in His heart because He gave up His life for us.
To wrap up this entry, I want to encourage you, moms and dads. If you expect something from your kids and if they struggle to obey you, make sure that what you’re asking of them can be fulfilled, similar to fulfilling what God has asked you to as you reflect His love and grace to your kids.