It takes diligence and perseverance to be a parent! Dr. Brandt relates this story from his childhood:
I can remember how when I was a teenager I tried to talk my mother into letting me go out after she said I could not go. I approached her with something like this, “Awe, come on Mom, won’t you please let me go out? Please, Mom?”
I tried to make myself look and sound as pathetic as possible, appealing to her sympathy and her motherly instinct. Surely she would concede to someone who was pleading as much as I was.
What do you do with a child who is playing the martyr, one who tries to put on a sincere act and tries to cajole something out of you that is against the limits?
She said no.
“Please, Mom, please let me go out?” I asked again.
She said no.
I decided there was no use being decent. It was necessary for me to try something else.
“So you say you love me, huh? How could any mother who loved her child treat me the way you are treating me? Can I go?”
She said no.
“But, Mom, everyone else but me is going. You wouldn’t want to make a freak out of me, would you? Can I go?”
Once more, the same answer.
What else could I think of? You see, my objective was to get out of the house any way possible – whether through lying, flattery, or whatever.
But my best line was always playing the role of the victim. I figured my trump card was always this line, “So you call yourself a Christian. How could any Christian mother treat her child like this? Can’t I please go?”
She did not burst into self-defense. She had respect for my attempts to resist her plan. All she said was no.
That used to make me so angry! I would retaliate by using all the ingenuity and creativity I could come up with to make life miserable for my mother until I went to bed.
When I was defeated, I would go to bed thinking, “How does a guy get saddled with a parent like that? Boy, if only I would die, then she’d be sorry.” I pictured myself in a coffin, my mother looking down at my dead body. In my imagination, I fired this thought off to my grieving mother: Serves you right!
There was no point in appealing to Dad. He would just back Mom up. Yet in my better moments I was aware that they loved me. I sense that they had an attitude of approval and a real affection for me.
Children sometimes fervently want something they should not have. Yes, parents must respect their children and take their wants into consideration, but the decisions must finally be based on what is in the best interests of their children.
After I grew up, married, and had children of my own, I was amazed when I heard some of the same reasoning come out of the mouths of my kids!
Are you willing to parent your children, really parent them? Seek God and ask for his guidance in helping you to diligently discipline your children in a loving way. Repent of the times you have not been the parent you know you should have been. Focus on God’s plan for your life as a parent and for the development of your children. He will help you to experience joy!
This story was taken from the book I Want to Enjoy My Children by Dr. Henry Brandt and Kerry Skinner.