When my kids were little, I was the helicopter mom sitting outside watching them play. I was sure someone was going to kidnap them. As they got older, I needed to start releasing my grip. They were choking to death under my watchful care! I never saw Christian parenting modeled, so I read every James Dobson book I could get my hands on. I needed parenting help.
I remember reading the phrase, “pray your kids get caught in their sin”.
I could not imagine a time when those words would ever apply to me…such a silly thought.
As my kids approached the teenage years, I dutifully prayed God would not let my children’s sin stay in darkness but be brought into light. I honestly cannot remember a prayer of mine answered so immediately and so consistently. If I told you all the ways God answered that prayer, you would be astonished my children are not all in prison!
I do remember feeling I was to blame for all of their shortcomings and in some cases I tried to run interference for them. Why did I do that? Hadn’t I just prayed their sins would come into the light?
It was important I learned not to rescue my children and let them fail. Here's why:
- Children learn when they suffer the consequences of their actions. When parents always rescue, children do not learn from their mistakes. Children who are consistently rescued by their parents never learn to deal with their problems. They tend to jump from school to school, from job to job, because they only know how to run away. It is best for children to learn the hard lessons while they are still home with parents to guide them to truth.
- Children need to learn it is okay to make mistakes. Teach your child to view mistakes as opportunities for growth. We learn the most from our failures. Ask Albert Einstein.
- Children need to learn to be in authentic community. They learn this by watching parents be in authentic community. Parents need to be real with each other. Living in authentic community is how we grow, connect with each other, and with God. Let’s stop pretending our Instagram photos are real. All children fail because all humans fail.
Truthfully, I struggled to trust God to teach my children in the way they should go. But God is faithful and He helped me, and frankly my children, survive those years.
Let your children suffer the consequences for the sin revealed in their lives, then love them all the more.
Has God not done the same for us?