Parents most often ask us this question: “How do I get my kid to obey?”
At Crazy Cool Family, we try to reframe the question into Next Level Obedience. And Next Level Obedience comes through FREEDOM!
“Freedom! Say what?! But it would mean chaos in our home!”
Freedom as in God’s freedom, not the world’s freedom. Why is freedom the goal?
Because God tells us this in Galatians 5:1: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”
He defines it in verse 13: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
Freedom inspires great obedience.
How do we know when our kids are free? What does freedom look like in our kids? It’s happens when we see the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
First, here is what we don’t see:
Verses 19-21: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”
Contrast that in verse 22 with the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Move from parent-control to self-control.
How do we set our kids free? Through the last fruit of the spirit. We move from parent-control to giving our children ways to have their own self-control.
We want to build pathways of self-control so our kids are free to make wise decisions on their own.
When you can get this, you can get how to train your kids the way God wants you to.
It works at every age! It may look differently at age 3 than at age 13, but it works!
As parents, we are on a constant mission to build pathways of self-control for our kids so they are free to make wise decisions on their own.
Ok! So by definition, if we are going to build self-control in them, what do we have to do?
We have to give up control.
“What? Are you crazy? Give up control?”
Parents typically think:
We have to protect them.
We have to look out for them.
We have to stay on them. (Otherwise they will get hurt, they will fail, they will look bad, or they will embarrass us.)
But who are we going to believe?
Are we going to believe the world that tells us to be fearful and parent through control and restrictions? Or are we going to believe God who tells us to have faith and let our kids work through age-appropriate issues with our support and our guidance?
Crazy Cool parents are constantly on the path from parent-control to self-control. It starts when they are little and continues for life. It starts with teaching our kids self-awareness and asking them, “What’s your plan?”
When they are little:
Encourage them to do things on their own.
Give them opportunities to succeed.
Let them take ownership of little things so they can be responsible for more.
Let them fail and show them it’s ok.
As they get older,
Give them increasing responsibility (with friends, technology, etc.).
Let them fail and help them learn from it.
Encourage them to talk about their faith and to ask the hard questions.
Share your own successes and struggles so they see that you are not perfect.
Talk with them about your own walk with God.
We are constantly looking for ways in the words of John the Baptist for “them to become more and we become less” in their lives.
Not less as in importance – when we do this right, we become a very important and trusted counselor to them – but less in terms of parent-control.
Our challenge for you is to think about some areas where you can hand over your parent-control and start training your kids to have self-control.
(And a little hint on where to start is anyplace you have conflict or your child is frustrated…because that’s a red flag that they are ready to stretch their self-control muscles and need you to become “less” in that area.)
What areas of your children’s lives do you need to give up parent-control and begin giving them ways to build self-control?
If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].