Through Carla’s teachings on parenting, I’ve been able to grasp HUGE God-sized Truths, apply them to my own heart and life and then teach them to my children in a way I’ve not been able to before reading her study. It’s changed how I parent for the better!
Minister of Women
Second Baptist Church
Q and A:
How should I handle a persistent problem with my child running away from me in a parking lot?
Be proactive by discussing before getting out of the car your expectations of what will and will not take place. Let your child know that God has expectations for our behavior and your expectations will reflect God’s best for them. For example, say to your child, “When I ask you to hold my hand, I need you to do so.” Link your expectations to those of God by using such phrases as, “God wants us to be safe.” “God is pleased when you obey me.” Ask your child why you ask them to hold your hand, and allow them to explain their answer. Allowing a child to answer questions will provide you with their level of understanding. You can then correct any misinformation. Further discuss their choice to obey and possible consequences if they do not. Relate each consequence to their personal choice and allow them to suffer consequences when necessary.
Because your child may choose to disobey by running away, it will be helpful to choose one word or phrase that you don’t often use to immediately stop them. This will assist in quickly getting your child’s attention and cause them to respond, enabling you to keep them safe (i.e. the child’s first and middle name, or the words “Quick – Listen.”)
In addition, teach your child through the choices of others. For example, Jonah suffered many consequences because he failed to follow God and continued running away from God, even though God said, “Stop!” Teach your child that when we choose to run away from God’s protection, we are running away from God. In addition, use news stories or experiences of friends and family to demonstrate consequences suffered by children who chose to disobey their parents.
The lives of Carla’s sons, David and Daniel, are exemplary of young men who truly are disciples. Their lives reflect the mentoring they experienced.
Former Director Southern Missouri FCA
What do you do when your child refuses to go to sleep?
Train your child that God’s Word presents a perfect plan for every area of living and point him to truth concerning their behavior. For example, read Ecclesiastes 3:1 to your child. Then, explain to them that God has created a time for everything. There is a time to play and a time to sleep, a time to eat and a time to work, etc. Tell them that God created nighttime for us to get our proper rest so we will be able to do our best during the daytime. It may be beneficial to ask your child this question: When we refuse to go to sleep, what does it say to God? Or, reword the question to include the answer in a phrase: When we refuse to go to sleep, we are telling God we don’t want His best for our lives.
Further instruct your child with expectations for bedtime, and include opportunities to consider and discuss choices and consequences. The conversation could go something like this: Say to your child, “From now on, before we go to bed this is what we will do.” Then explain a routine that prepares them for bed (i.e. bath time, read a book together, prayer time, go to the bathroom, etc.) Then ask your child, “Now that you know God has created bedtime to rest, once you are in bed are you going to get out of bed? Allow them to answer. Then, by saying the word, “Why,” ask them to explain their answer. If necessary, explain that God has purpose for all things, discussing again that bedtime is God’s designed time for rest. This will help your child link God’s purpose to obedience. If your child has developed a habit of yelling for you from bed, explain to them the difference between yelling because they want their own way, and calling for you to communicate a genuine need.
Be mindful to choose age appropriate consequences for undesired actions and to communicate those clearly. If your child chooses obedience, thank them and remind them that it pleases God when we obey. If they disobey, allow them to suffer the prescribed consequences. Then, encourage them by praying with them for God’s enablement to obey.
How can I help my child resolve their issues with anger?
First, help your child to see that anger is destructive and can result in consequences that are difficult or even impossible to reverse. If your child has allowed frustration to escalate to anger, train them to resolve the conflict earlier, at the level of frustration. When they become angry, immediately assist them in evaluating the source of their anger. For instance, if the source is a selfish desire to have their own way, teach your child to acknowledge this and ask for forgiveness. Then, there are times when anger can be traced to the actions of others, or “righteous anger” may result from the knowledge of an unjust act toward someone else. Regardless of the source, every form of anger needs to be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit who will help prevent sin.
Ephesians 4:26-27 teaches us: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Because conflict presents an opportunity to represent Christ, we should resolve to avoid sinning in our anger by responding to difficult situations in a godly way. Therefore, train your child to take everything to Jesus before emotions begin to boil, allowing Him to control their responses. Pray that your child will choose to relinquish their anger to the control of the Holy Spirit. Also, since the Lord never wants us to be distracted by anger and all that accompanies it, train your child to always resolve anger before going to bed.
I know the Bible doesn’t teach that life is fair, but how do I explain that to my child?
Begin by acknowledging each unfair experience as your child communicates it to you. Then, convey to your child that although it is difficult to experience personal unfairness and it is hard for you to watch them experience it, God has definite purpose in it. Remind your child that Jesus was often treated unfairly. Using the example of Job, help them to realize that the Lord allows trying situations, even when we are walking in obedience (Job 1:1-20). Point your young person to Job’s response to apparent unjust circumstances in Job 1:20-22. Teach them that instead of being distracted by a trying situation, the Lord desires that we choose to draw closer to Him by relying fully on His promises, rather than on man.
Job 16:20-21 records: “My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” Lovingly remind your child that almighty God has provided for our every need. Since He desires that we come to Him with our concerns, God has provided us an intercessor, His son Jesus. Jesus is our friend, a confidant who will mediate on our behalf. Also remind them that Jesus is available every moment of every day and is more powerful than any circumstance. Consistently encourage them to turn to Jesus with every need and care. Finally, teach your young person to use the situation as a learning tool, so that they will be careful to treat others justly.
Although many parents like to prevent children from experiencing unfair treatment, if allowed to, God will use these situations for a child’s benefit. Therefore, choose to rely on the discernment of the Holy Spirit for wisdom in each individual situation.
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