When your kids are little, things are a little bit easier when it comes to seeing the specific sin, giving it a name, a verse and a discipline, then moving on.
You said no to mommy?
The Bible says children obey your parents. Did you obey?
No? Ok then. That was not obeying what God wants you to do! You are going to have to be disciplined for that because that’s what God tells mommy she has to do!
The older your kids get, things can get a little trickier. How do you deal with eye rolling? How do you deal with talking back? How do you deal with a bad attitude? How do you deal with arguing? With complaining? Things don’t seem as black and white.
Thankfully for us, God thought of everything! We don’t have to try and come up with things on our own. It’s really not a guessing game.
A few things that might help you stay focused along the way:
- Find the root problem. I’ve talked about this a lot before, but be careful not to get so frustrated with the symptoms you are seeing that you miss the root problem. If your child is rolling her eyes every time you tell her to go and do something, it’s easy to get so frustrated and irritated with that symptom that you end up missing the opportunity to find out what is really going on. Eye rolling can be considered a “haughty” or a “proud look”. When they are rolling their eyes, they are basically saying “you are so annoying”, or something similar which is a proud thought. The complaining, the attitude, the arguing…they are all symptoms of a root issue. Find it.
- Call sin sin. Don’t give your kids excuses. It starts earlier than you realize. It starts with “oh they are just hungry”, “They are way past their nap time”, “They aren’t used to being in someone else’s home” and on the on the excuses go.
Look, I’m not saying that we can’t be a little understanding and show more grace when our kids are having a harder time in life, but don’t give them an excuse for their sin! Just don’t give them excuses. Call the sin sin!
It’s the same when they are older. Don’t let them slam the door, roll their eyes, not do what you asked them to do just because they had a long day at school or because they are tired or sad or grouchy. Teach them early that they have to be responsible for their actions regardless of what is going on in life around them! You need to teach them what sin it is that’s tripping them up!
Are they groaning about how terrible school is and how much they hate it? That’s complaining. The Bible is very clear about how we are to do everything without complaining and arguing. (Philippians 2:!4)
Are they giving you an attitude about what you are telling them to do? Teach them what it is that they are doing wrong!
Show them what God says in Galations about what the works of the flesh look like. If any of those things are being shown in them, they are acting in the flesh!
According to Romans 8:8, whoever is in the flesh can not please God!
If they are living in a way that can not please God, that is a very dangerous place to be!
This doesn’t just look like shoving a verse at them. Parenting is hard work. It needs to be worked at and it needs to be taken seriously. Be willing to study out and figure out what it is that might be triggering the bad attitude. Be willing to find verses that will help them, stories that show how God handles different sin. You are here to help your kids succeed!
And be careful: You have to teach them by example as well. If you had a long day at work or are not feeling good, you are still responsible to show love with your words and your actions towards them, towards other drivers (ouch!) towards your husband, towards everyone you see!
- Know when to show grace. There have been many times in my kids lives where they needed to be disciplined, but I was just too tired, or not emotionally in the right place, or a million other reasons. The tendency would be to just overlook it, pretend you didn’t see it, mumble something under your breath and move on. Try to fight that tendency! You can still use this as a time to teach them something. Tell them that you would normally have to discipline them, and deal with the issue. But just like Jesus shows us grace so many times, you are going to extend grace to them too. It doesn’t make what they did ok, but you are going to show the grace that God gives so freely. Be willing to be honest and tell them ways that you tend to show a bad attitude when you shouldn’t. Be humble. Say when you have done the wrong thing by reacting poorly to what they are doing! And ask them for forgiveness! You are showing them that you are not above discipline either. We are all growing. We are all learning. And we all need the grace of God every single day. Keep pressing on
- Give them a way out. We are in a battle!! Our kids are going to struggle. We are going to struggle!
Our job is to teach them that when they start feeling that bad attitude coming on? There is a way out of it!
God promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He will give us a way to escape our temptations! Don’t get irritate and frustrated and just hope this phase passes! We are training them. Training them how to be prepared for when they are on their own. They need to know that it does not feel good when you are sinning! That the way of the transgressor is HARD! That there are consequences for their sin, and rewards for their obedience! Show them how to be better.
So the next time your kid gives you a bad attitude?
Be ready to be looking for the root problem.
Be ready to see if there is something that triggered the bad attitude.
Be ready to call out the sin you see and teach him how he can fight it and overcome it.
And always be praying for your kids to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
We want to be raising champions for Christ. World changers.
Let’s work hard to do it well!