The following Parenting Tip is from the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Click on the link to subscribe for FREE E-mail tips. The Elkhorn Hills UMC Adult Education Committee has sponsored parenting classes from the National Center for Biblical Parenting in the past. A number of their books are available in the Elkhorn Hills UMC library.
The Power of Relationship
Getting physically close to your child is important when giving instructions, especially with teenagers. Teens need relationship whether they’ll admit it or not. In fact, the stronger the relationship, the less likely you’ll get resistance.
Sometimes young people resent having to share in the workload of running a household. You might hear them say something like,
“My parents are always ordering me around. It’s like I’m their slave.”
Of course that’s not true, but when parents take time to show value for the relationship before giving instructions, they can build a greater sense of teamwork.
When teens can’t see how instruction is related to relationship, they’re more likely to justify unkind words or dishonoring actions when they don’t like what you’ve told them to do. They don’t understand that obedience is a demonstration of love. Getting physically close makes a statement about who we are together.
Face-to-face contact says, “I care about you.”
By affirming your relationship in the midst of the instruction, you teach your children an important lesson about the way God relates to us. Spirituality isn’t just a list of do’s and don’ts, but it comes within the confines of relationship.
Alex, a father of three said it well, “I had a picture in my mind of a Father who yells instructions down from heaven. Distance and harshness characterized my view of God. It wasn’t until I became a dad and I remembered how my parents treated me that I began to see the connection. I was viewing God from what I had learned in my family growing up. I work hard now to give instructions in a more relational manner. It’s amazing how something as simple as giving and receiving instructions can give you a perspective of who God is and how he relates to us.”
For more on how to build a good Instruction Routine with your children, consider the book, Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.