When a family is forced to begin reacting to the rebellion of one of their children, there can be an incredible scramble for answers, resources and help as heads spin. Of course, there can also be an apathetic “boys will be boys” or “it’s their problem” response where the system and natural consequences will either correct the situation long-term in the life of the youth or not. Who’s to say which approach is right; like many things, the answer may be more “both” than one or the other.
While some parents have a natural inclination to rescue their children from the situations they find themselves in, that may not always be the best response for the child, just the most comforting to the parent. Consequences are a fact of life for all of us and the only way that we have learned that is to be allowed to deal with the consequences we buy into. The absence of a character shaped by responsibility for one’s choices all too often looks like a spoiled little brat, even if the brat is well into adulthood.
There is a time and a place for both over as well as under reaction but parents should probably stop to ask themselves, “why am I upset about this situation,” and “what do I want to accomplish by helping?” Is it that there is an opportunity to truly serve a young person in their development as and advocate and support or is it because the child’s failure is taken as a personal failure so the reaction is more out of self than it is selfless.
Our kids deserve a love that includes increasing release from our authority into their own identity. If fear of failure or harm by parents causes us to grip so tightly that there is no opportunity to release the God-given gifts, talents and personality into freedom, then we are really only being manipulative and controlling out of a lack of our personal identity placed properly in context of Who released us. So the greatest parenting we can offer is parenting from a parent free of the lies of insecurity because their Security is assured in their True identity. Our parenting will then be a healthy, loving and respectful parenting that sees and calls out the good of our kids no matter what bad they show us and the rest of the world.