One of the most heart breaking things for a parent, is having a wayward child. There have been times in my parenting where one of our kids was showing signs of rebellion, or just making wrong choices that were leading them towards walking away from what they knew was right. At that point the child/teen may not have been wayward or prodigal, but yet they were pushing the limits, and heading the wrong way.
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It is SO important that we are careful how we respond to conflicts and struggles with our kids, especially when/if they start showing some signs of rebellion. The goal is to keep their heart, so that we can still have a relationship of influence with them, and can point them back towards God and right.
I will admit that there were times of frustration in these situations where I didn’t respond right! Sometimes I responded with anger, or harshness. I was concerned about them and the choices they were making, and upset that they weren’t listening to what they had been taught.
It’s so hard to know what to do at those times,, and it’s easy to respond in the wrong way, making things even worse. Even if our child isn’t a prodigal, or wayward, it’s easy to respond in our flesh when their behavior upsets us. If we aren’t careful to respond in love and with wisdom, we can push them from us, leading them to become a prodigal.
Recently I came across an excellent post by Cary Schmidt that shares spiritual weapons we can use in our parenting of the wayward child. I love the thoughts that he shares, and feel they really apply anytime our kids/teens may be struggling. I especially love this practical comparison he gives of weapons of the flesh, versus weapons of the spirit. If we can remember to respond in the Spirit, I think it will make a huge difference in how our kids respond!
Weapons of flesh will react, weapons of the Spirit will respond.
Weapons of flesh will lash out. Weapons of the Spirit will reach out.
Weapons of flesh desire retribution. Weapons of the Spirit desire reconciliation.
Weapons of flesh will seek control. Weapons of the Spirit will seek influence.
Weapons of flesh will make demands. Weapons of the Spirit will make pleas.
Weapons of flesh will accuse. Weapons of the Spirit will accept.
Weapons of flesh will return hurt. Weapons of the Spirit will return grace.
Weapons of flesh will argue. Weapons of the Spirit will reason.
These comparisons of flesh versus spirit responses can be applied to any situation in our parenting, not only when we have a wayward child.
What a GREAT reminder to ask God to fill us with His Spirit, as we raise our children for Him!
Here is the entire post by Cary Schmidt that this list was taken from: Spiritual Weapons for Wayward Children
(This is a fantastic book by Cary Schmidt, called Passionate Parenting. It’s one of my favorites!)