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Do You Love Your Children Too Much?

Do you love your children too much?

What's too much???

Does fear of alienation from them keep you from correcting or punishing them?  Do you laugh out of embarrassed powerlessness, when they sass or defy you, in front of others?  When you know they've done something wrong, do you make excuses for them in your mind or to others - they were tired, or hungry, or the other kids took the one that was their favourite colour - of course he's going to get upset and act out.  

Then you love them too much.

There's an account in 1 Samuel 2 of a very wise and godly priest named Eli, but his sons were corrupt.  Eli knew it and did nothing.  He loved his sons too much.  God called him out on it, telling him that he honoured his sons more than he honoured God and God removed His blessing from the house of Eli.  The line of the priesthood was taken away from his sons, and given to someone else.

There's another account in 1 Kings of a rebellious son of King David's, who tried to steal the kingdom out from under his father on his death bed.  The only reason given for his treason?  "His father had never rebuked him by asking, 'Why do you behave as you do?'"  His father hadn't disciplined him when he had the chance.


"It's strange really, that by allowing our children to behave just as they choose, we actually drive them away from us." 


It's strange really, that by allowing our children to behave just as they choose, by refraining from calling them out on their bad or disrespectful behaviour, that we actually drive them away from us.  

Children, like dogs and even adults with other adults, respond to fair and measured authority, with respect and obedience.  Too much discipline or unfair punishment and you'll drive them away, but the same is true for the opposite, too little and they'll learn, from a very early age, that they can walk all over you.  They'll disrespect you at will, and eventually loose any interest in your opinions at all.  And why shouldn't they?  You're their parent, and if you fail to act like someone placed in authority over them, lovingly correcting them and teaching them how to behave, how are you any different from any other old person they have very little in common with?  What will bind them to you as they move into adulthood, what will give credence to your advice, opinions and even gentle reproach to an adult child, is love born of respect.  Pure and simple.  As adults, most of us love our aging parents, but the only adults I know that still listen to their elderly parents, are those who really respect them.


"Weak authority over your children, brings about weak character within your children."

Now I've already written much on the importance of discipline and even given detailed examples of how and how not to do it, and I'd encourage you, if you weren't raised with a healthy example of parenting, to go back and read through these earlier articles.  (Rudeness and Teenagers, Disciplining In Public, are just a couple).  But honestly I think we all know when we're being disrespected by our children, and we know it's wrong.  The trick is to calmly and evenly demand the respect and obedience a child owes a good parent, (here I'm allowing for the exception of tyrannical, or verbally or physically abusive parents).  To teach our children that unkind or disrespectful behaviour towards us, their parents, or towards their peers is not acceptable, the reasons why, and the consequences if they continue with it.  And to then follow through.  The trick is in the follow through.  Not rolling our eyes in exasperation, not winking and smirking at other parents, hands raised in that universal expression of "Whatcha' gonna do???"  Whatcha gonna do?!!!  Take you to task that's what!  

Weak authority over your children, brings about weak character within your children.  It's your job and your responsibility to love them biblically; with authority, boundaries and correction along with all the love, cuddles and giggles.  This is how to really love your children.  It's how to raise them to be adults with strong moral character, the self discipline to do what's right even if it hurts and to consider other's feelings and opinions.  It is also how to have a relationship, built not just upon love but also upon respect, that continues into their adulthood, when it's their choice whether they will spend time with you or not.








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