For those of you that came over to see the marriage matters recap, please check back tomorrow! My bad!
Working with first and second graders in our church’s Wednesday night ministry is so much fun! At this age, most children love you simply because you’re spending time with them, and because you’re letting them know they’re important to you.
This is true at home, too. When children are young they adore their parents. Little girls want to marry their daddy and sons admire their parents like super-heroes. But as the years pass, sometimes those warm, fuzzy feelings fade for a while (even years).
It happens when parents begin the tough teaching that comes with being the parents. Godly Parents step up and point the child to their sinful heart’s tendencies, their need to be disciplined and the friction can begin. Why? Because a child wants their own way. The result is often an attitude and a desire on the child’s part to distance themselves from their parent. Parents that want to be “liked” by their child will cave in at this point. But there are dangers in doing so.
Here are three reasons you should never be your young child’s buddy:
- It’s not God’s plan. Someone needs to be the authority, and God has given that responsibility to you. Anything with no head is dead. If your home has no one who is the head, your home life will be dead; lacking spiritual life. God’s plan for authority begins with putting Him first, then the husband, the wife, and the children, and each obeys the authority over them – that’s how He intends for it to be, and that’s what works! Why do we think our idea would be better? How can a child learn to obey God if they don’t have to obey Mom or Dad? If they learn how to play their parents, they’ll think they can do the same with God’s will. Our ways are not God’s ways, and your child’s ways are not your ways. Teach them to come under the umbrella of authority.
- You’re not training your child to leave home. This is also God’s plan. When you are your child’s buddy, you’re making them dependent on you. Each year at home should be a training ground for being ready to launch out to do whatever God would direct them to do. They should be learning the skills necessary to step out and obey the Lord. Cleaning their room, sorting laundry, washing dishes, loading the dishwasher, ironing their clothes, preparing a simple meal – all these things and more can be learned by the time they are twelve or thirteen.
- This is not the season for friendship with your child, but you don’t have to despair! It can happen that you spend free time as friends, laughing and chatting away the time with your child – but it comes when they’re a young adult, on their own, and living independently of you ( of course you can laugh and have fun while they’re home – just not like you do with friends!). When it happens in that season, you will be so thankful that you waited for this friendship to be born. It will come with a respect for all that you taught them when they were growing up. It happens as a result of your example as an adult who was mature enough and loved them enough to discipline them and help them become a responsible, godly adult.
Proverbs 31 has a sweet promise – “She shall rejoice in time to come.” It will happen in a different season than you are in now. Your child might not like you at the moment, but that’s okay. You’re the adult who knows what is down the road – a relationship that will be worth waiting for “in the right time!”