My friend Betty wrote me the following:
“I listened to a sermon tape a while back that was part of a parenting series. Part of one tape addressed the shift that happens as kids grow – the shift from parenting from position to parenting from influence. If parents don’t make that shift, then even though they still hold ‘position (i.e., ‘you will not do that as long as you live in this house!’), the relationship cannot really exist if they haven’t also earned the influence.”
And then he addressed those who knew that they had lost influence with their children, acknowledging that the child in most ways becomes the ‘gatekeeper’ as to whether the relationship is ever rebuilt. He stated that in many cases (obviously acknowledging that God can do anything) the relationship can never really be rebuilt on a deep level.
He went on to say that the only thing he has really seen work is when the parent begins to serve the child – with no demands or expectations in return. No agenda, no ‘I want it to look like this,’ no pressure. And how you serve a child will vary from case to case. It often will be almost invisibly.”
As children, we may have felt controlled by our parents. They failed to make this transition in a clean way. Maybe you still feel the sting of an overbearing parent. The message to you today is, don’t go down that same path with your own children! Release your children and serve them. After they reach age 16, that is the only way you’ll exercise influence in their lives.
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I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.