She put her hands on her hips, and spat out, “All my friends think you’re cool, but they don’t know you like I do!” Then she turned and stomped up the steps. Ah, my first born. She was generally a rule-follower and very compliant, but I had apparently crossed some sort of line. I knew it was bound to happen.
As our first-born, she was our test kitchen, so-to-speak, as she blazed the way for her two younger siblings. Her first prom was our first prom, as parents. For her, it was a thrill to be invited by an upperclassman to his senior prom, followed by an overnight at the beach. An unchaperoned overnight at the beach? Goodness, no.
With an all-too-clear memory of what we had tried to get away with at her age (or situations we found ourselves in that we were unprepared for), her father and I said no to the overnight. Suddenly her world came crashing down, and I was no longer cool to her or her friends.
Though I was her mother, not her friend, and it was my job to provide guidance and limits, I did feel badly that she felt left out. A bit hurt by the way she lashed out, I wondered if we were being unreasonable. She had always been trustworthy, after all, and I wanted her to be happy.
Thankfully, my doubt was only momentary. While I didn’t have all the answers, I did have God’s Word and a relationship with God I could depend on to give me the assurance that I needed. It wasn’t enough to adore my children: I needed to provide instruction, boundaries, and discipline. I remembered that Proverbs 22:6 says, “Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown, they will still do right” (CEV).
My daughter went to the prom. Then she came home and slept in her own bed, getting up early to go to the beach for the day. Her life wasn’t ruined. Now, years later, she says she barely remembers the prom or the beach. As our firstborn, she may have gotten the brunt of parental strictness, but it also helped to shape her into being more reliable and conscientious.
It’s easy to doubt our skills and choices as parents when dealing with disgruntled children. Sometimes, it might be tempting to opt for momentary peace instead of fighting to enforce boundaries that seem oppressive to our kids. The struggle is real. If you’re doubting yourself as a parent today, try reading these verse from God’s Word to find assurance and the strength to continue guiding your children well—even when they don’t like it:
- Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (GNTD)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working.
- Ephesians 2:10 (CEV)
God planned for us to do good things and to live as he always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 (CEV)
Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live.
- Psalm 119: 129-130 (CEV)
Your teachings are wonderful and I respect them all. Understanding your word brings light to the minds of ordinary people.
- Hebrews 12:12-13a (GNTD)
Lift up your tired hands, then, and strengthen your trembling knees! Keep walking on straight paths.
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