“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
The way we handle conflict with our children is important. None of us wants to hurt our children when we're impatient. Nobody plans to get angry and say things they regret. We all want great relationships with our kids! That’s why you’re reading this right now. But on top of building a healthy relationship with them, we have to recognize that we are setting an example for them. How we handle conflict with them will pass on to them and affect how they handle it with other people. If we act out of impatience, anger, and frustration, that’s how they’ll be responding in their relationships as well. Is that how we want them to handle conflict in the future?
As followers of Jesus, we don’t just want our kids to be well behaved because of our example; we want them to know and follow Jesus because of our example as well. When we are patient with them, we are setting an example of that for them each and every time. Ephesians 4:2 says, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Our patience is one way that points our kids to Jesus. And in return, when they are patient with others because of our example, they’ll be pointing them to Jesus as well. Learning how to be patient with our kids is so much more than just learning how to deal with them. When we are a patient parent, we are exemplifying God’s love, we are showing our kids that we care enough for them to listen from their perspective, we are approaching conflict with understanding rather than anger, and we are being an example of Jesus for them, which will multiply in their own relationships.
Questions to think about:
How will the way I handle conflict with my kids today influence how they handle conflict themselves?
How many people might come to know Jesus because of the patience I have shown to my kids?
God, I know that I have the most important job in the world in being a parent to my children. Please remind me how important my job is, and how positively I can influence my family for their future. I pray against selfishness, and that I would be the very best example I can be with your help. Amen.