Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

On My Mind #59: A challenging article about a parenting mistake.

This article isn’t necessarily a Christian article, but it’s challenging and it contains Scriptural principles. Read the article:

Don’t over-negotiate with your children.

A few thoughts:

1. Every parent faces this. It’s important to stay consistent.

Raise your hand if you’ve never had this problem. Okay, I don’t see any hands. The bottom line is we all face it and when both parents are present, consistency is important. Julie and I have talked several times about differing ways we noticed each other handling situations. The kids should get the same messages as much as possible. If the kids perceive gaps, they will definitely exploit them until consistency is achieved.

2. Try not to ask when telling should be enough.

“Do you want to pick up the toys and go home?” No child is going to say “Sure!”, unless of course they really don’t like their friends. But most kids are going to answer in the negative. They’re doing something they enjoy and don’t want to stop. What the parent wants to accomplish is going home. “We’re leaving in 10 minutes” (then five) gives the child ample warning you’re leaving. The second scenario has the parent in charge, not the child. But, it gives the child a healthy way to prepare to leave that honors the parent’s authority.

This is one example. Others can include activities, food, clothing, etc. Providing a couple choices is way better than an endless negotiation with a little lawyer, as the article called them.

3. Biblically, parents are in authority and children aren’t wise. Don’t give your child the impression they are wise.

If children were wise, Proverbs wouldn’t be filled with evidence otherwise. I love my children but they are not wise. Our son rode his bike around the block with his friend without telling us. We did not congratulate him for exercising his wisdom and independence. He needed to think through why we weren’t comfortable with that. There was no negotiation.

That’s kind of a big thing. It’s the same for schedule and bed time, though. When we need to leave to get somewhere, time is not a negotiation – we need the kids to do their part to be ready.

It’s okay to teach kids life isn’t fair or sometimes the answer is no. It’s hard to be mean, but at the same time I know I’m not called to be my kids’ friends.

In sum, I hope I’m providing a glimpse into things we wrestle with. Further, consider this your invitation to join! Be challenged by the article and take whatever is helpful. God is glorified when family structures seek to mirror those found in His Word! It can be hard work, but rewarding as well.

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