The Parent-Child Relationship – MBFLP 233

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Relationship with your kids is more that just feelings

The overwhelming business of raising a child can cause us to miss the importance of our relationship with them. There’s so much to think about, so much to do, so much to pray over and work on – how can we put the proper emphasis on the “soft skills”? And yet, at the end of the day (which is when they graduate and move out), the sort of relationship we have with that child will be the thing which draws them back home – or not. This episode, we take a quick look at the way our parent-child interaction needs to change with the growing maturity of our child.

The Two Biggest Tasks of Parenting

Have you ever asked yourself, what is the absolute core of effective parenting? What would “success” look like? What is so important that, if we miss that one thing, we’ll look back with deep regret?

We actually think there are two absolutely critical things that we must pursue as parents. You can just assume the basic life needs – food, health, safety – of course. Those don’t even have to be on the agenda; if you don’t take care of those, you may not be a parent for long.

But the thing we find at the top of the list is discipleship. The Bible tells us over and over that we are to teach the word of God to our children throughout the day and in every circumstance (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

And inseparably connected to it is a second thing – the relationship we build with those children. In fact, we’d say you will have a very hard time teaching the first thing, if the second is weak or missing. Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries said that in the process of discipling tens of thousands of young adults, the ministry has found that truth will only be accepted in the context of relationship – a relationship of love, trust, and respect.

Relationship is More Than Just Feelings

The “warm fuzzy” aspect is important, of course, but there is a practical side to our parent-child relationship, too. That changes as the child grows and matures, and our interaction with him needs to change, too. At the start, the most important thing is teaching trust – Mama and Daddy will take care of you – and the Bible uses that as an illustration of God’s faithfulness to us:

“As one whom him mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

(God, in Isaiah 66:13)

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Your parent-child relationship is a delicate balance!

The time for positive discipline comes after that. And again, the Bible makes it clear that discipline is a sign of our love (Hebrews 12:5-11):

… for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening … then you are illegitimate and not sons. (vv. 7-8)

But as they grown into the teen years, the way we interact with them, the way we discipline, and the responsibility we give or withhold, has got to reflect their new status as young adults. If we fail there, we may send them into the world with memories of resentment toward us. That’s not a good launch.

And through it all, we have got to communicate our affection to them in a way they understand and receive. They have to know not just that we love them, but that we actually like them. And that may take some work. 

Listen in for practical help on balancing these necessary roles – and for ideas how you can build a bridge to your child’s heart, even when you think you’ve lost your first chance already. We’ve crossed that bridge ourselves! With God’s help, so can you.

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