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A Parent's Reaction Matters!

Updated: 2 days ago

Your Reaction Matters

In the hustle and bustle of life, parents often encounter unexpected moments that put their reactions to the test.

Picture this: a typical day, a typical conversation, until a bombshell drops. The young child casually mentions learning the “f-word.” The mother, caught off guard, tries to maintain her composure, hoping it is not … THAT “F-word.” 

Mom calmly asks, ”Oh yeah, what word is it?"

Then comes the moment of truth. The child leans in, whispers the word into their mother's ear. Reality hits like a ton of bricks. It was the actual "F" bomb.

In that split second, emotions flood the mother's mind. Shock, disbelief, perhaps even a hint of anger. But amidst the chaos of her own thoughts, she manages to maintain her outward calm. Instead of succumbing to the urge to react impulsively, she takes a deep breath.

This mother has shown self-restraint, teaching her child that she's someone they can turn to, even when they have come across something challenging or unpleasant.

This incident, though seemingly small in the grand scheme of things, serves as a reminder of the power of our reactions. In moments like these, when our instincts scream at us to lose control—to yell, to scold, to let frustration overcome us—it's crucial to pause and consider the bigger picture.

Like sponges, children absorb everything around them, including our reactions. How we respond in moments of shock or crisis can leave a lasting imprint, shaping not only their behavior but also their perception of the world around them. It is a choice that carries consequences far beyond the immediate moment. A parent's reaction matters! By choosing response over reaction, calm over chaos, we demonstrate to our children the value of composure and empathy.

Furthermore, beyond how we respond to our children, they also absorb our attitudes towards larger cultural issues. If we approach these matters with excessive criticism and lack of empathy, our children may not feel inclined to discuss those topics with us.  

Communicating Biblical truth with our children is crucial, without a doubt. I would never advocate for watering down the truth of God’s Word. It is important to recognize that Biblical truths don't have to strain our relationship with our child. We aim for our children to view us as safe individuals, ones they can turn to with anything on their minds or in their hearts. Reacting harshly or severely critically can make us feel unsafe to them. Therefore, whether a child is sharing something trivial or something profound, our response will determine whether they feel comfortable continuing to confide in us with matters of the heart.

Remember to RESPOND:

Respond over react.

Frequently, our reactions stem from emotions rather than a prayerful, thoughtful approach. It's essential to demonstrate to our children the importance of turning to God for guidance and wisdom in gaining the right perspectives on matters. Responding entails carefully considering both our emotions and thoughts, rather than allowing our emotions to dominate in our reactions.

Engage over evading.

When sensitive topics arise, it's an opportune moment to engage with our child. While it may seem easier to avoid certain discussions, that is not the solution. If we are not the safe person for our child to turn to, they may seek answers from someone else or resort to other sources like the internet or social media.

Sincerity over silence.

It's perfectly fine to be sincere and acknowledge to our children that we don't have all the answers in life. Our responsibility is to guide them towards seeking answers from God. Ignoring a child's questions by remaining silent might only heighten their curiosity, leading them to seek answers from alternative sources that go against our Biblical worldview. If you're uncertain about something, demonstrate the importance of asking God for wisdom. Share scriptures such as, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

Patience over punitive.

Truthfully, children can challenge our patience with the way they express certain ideas or when we observe them being influenced by worldly perspectives. In those moments, it is vital to remind oneself of the patience God shows us. Reflecting on times when God has urged us to forgive, end unhealthy relationships, or break harmful habits, helps us empathize with our children. Not only are our children mentally immature, they can also be spiritually immature, which may hinder them from forming well-grounded, godly ideas. 

Opportunity over an obstacle.

Keep in mind that these are God-given opportunities, not obstacles in our day. They provide a chance for us to cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit in our responses, refining us to be more Christlike. In addition, it is an opportunity to assist them in navigating the world with godly principles.

Nearness over neglect.

The truth is, our time to cultivate a strong relationship with our children is limited. We aim for our conversations and interactions to foster closeness. Know that the work (aka parenting) we do, we do unto God, we strive not to neglect the precious responsibility He has entrusted to us. "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Divine perspective over diluting the Truth.

We rely on God's wisdom to impart a godly worldview to our children. In a world that constantly tries to influence us and our children, it's crucial to teach them to stand firm in Christ. One of the most effective ways to do this is by modeling it in our communication with them. While we must never compromise or dilute God's truth, we should convey it with love and with the right, godly motives.

So, the next time life throws a curveball your way, remember: your reaction matters. Choose grace over grumbling, patience over panic, and self-control over stifling your relationship with your child. Our children are watching, learning, and growing at all times.

In the end, it's not just the words they learn but the lessons they glean from our responses and actions that will shape them and determine their level of comfort with us.



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