One of my greatest desires as a parent is to point my kids to God, and see them develop a love for Him and a desire to serve Him. I want to see them stay in church and faithful to God when they become young adults. I don’t believe there is any “formula” to guarantee that this will happen. But I do believe I need to be faithful and obedient to God in training them in the way they should go. Part of that training involves being an example to them, and creating a thirst for the things of God by the way I live. I also believe that it’s extra important to work on keeping the relationship with your kids strong as they begin to develop into young adults. There are 7 ways we push our kids away, if we aren’t careful.
Probably one of the HARDEST things for parents to do is to let go, and let their kids grow up. It’s easy to fall into the trap of continuing to treat them like when they were younger, and try to control their every move. The result? They begin to resist, and push away. (7 Mistakes Parents Make With Older Kids)
I have seen parents who were too controlling, and I have watched as they pushed their kids away. These were “good” kids, but they were struggling because of how they were being treated. Unknowingly, the more the parents tried to control, the more they pulled away. Some even pulled away from church, because they felt they couldn’t measure up. They pictured God as someone who was looking for them to do wrong and just waiting to punish them, rather than seeing Him as a loving Father Who cares for them and is patient with them.
From my observation (and maybe a little experience!), I give you this list:
7 Ways to Push Your Kids Away
1. Don’t recognize that they have grown up, and continue to treat them like a child.
2. Give your negative opinion and thoughts about anything and everything they tell you.
3. Assume the worst about them, rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt.
4. Publicly say negative things to or about them, rather than in private.
5. Be extremely judgmental of anything that isn’t done EXACTLY the way you think it should be, even though it isn’t a Biblical standard.
6. Give the idea that God is waiting to punish them, and they should fear if they don’t change how they are living.
7. Don’t notice the little steps they may be taking to draw close to God, but stay busy focused on the steps they AREN’T taking.
Obviously, none of us want to be THAT parent. We want to keep the hearts of our children, and be able to continue to encourage them into their adult years.
Here are some POSITIVE things to do to keep that relationship strong:
1. Quit trying to control them. Come along side and encourage.
2. If they are young adults, treat them as adults.
3. Don’t try to push them to have every standard and conviction you have, but rather encourage them to have a relationship with God, and to love His Word.
4. Support, encourage, and show an interest in them regardless of whether or not you approve of their every decision.
5. Love them for who they are, and as God would.
6. Don’t EVER talk bad about your kids to others. It’s humiliating to them, and disloyal. Talk to GOD about it!
As parents, we need to guard our relationship with our kids, and work extra hard to maintain those heart ties as they begin to navigate the years leading to adulthood. Ask God to show you if you are making mistakes that are pushing your kids away, and always seek to keep their heart. It will take some extra time and effort, but it will be well worth it!