2014 – November – Kids Corner

Fixing Life for Your Child

Have you ever wanted to fix or control a life situation for your child? Consider these examples: Your son, along with others, is reprimanded at school for something he claims he didn’t do. Your daughter is the only one in her circle of friends who didn’t make the select soccer team. Your son’s best friend has moved on to another “best friend,” leaving your child in despair.

After Phase 1 we sometimes feel we should be protecting our kids from any and all varieties of dreaded “baggage”! Realistically, we live in a fallen world, and though it is absolutely our duty to protect and ally our children, we will not be able to shield them from every wound and hurt. We know this intellectually, but our flesh often feels compelled to “fix it” or control the situation for them.

In these situations it is important to back up and remember the Ally Training we received in Phase 1. It is crucial that we validate our children’s feelings. Our children have a basic need for love and acceptance. We can first love them by letting them know we recognize that they are hurting. We can accept them by be accepting, rather than reacting to, the reality of what has happened to them.

So often we try to enlighten our children with our adult understanding. We want them to know how things look from our perspective. We tell them, “Things really aren’t so bad.” We encourage them to “look on the bright side.” We minimize the situation in an attempt to comfort our child, and if we were to be totally honest, probably to comfort ourselves as well.

If we fail to validate our children’s feelings first, however, these tactics can communicate a disastrous message: “What you are feeling is not important.” “What you are feeling is wrong.” “You are childish for letting this bother you.” “Your feelings are not important to me.” “My adult way of seeing things is more important.” Most of us would never intentionally speak these things to our children, but many of us have been communicating messages like these for years.

In order to validate our children’s feelings, we need to encourage them to tell us how they feel. We can mirror their statements back to them so they know we are listening. For example, you could say “It sounds like Jacob really hurt your feelings today. I know the things he said made you feel very bad. He is wrong to say things like that to anyone. I’m sorry that he said those things to you. You didn’t deserve to be treated that way.” Many times a loving validation from a parent is all it takes to bring release from simmering, negative emotional voltage.

In all of these tender situations, Christ is the infinite reservoir of provision God has given us. We don’t have to be a “god” for our children; we just need to point them to the One who is! We can allow the love of Christ to flow through us as we validate and ally our children. We can pray for our children and, even more important, pray with them. Each situation is another great opportunity to show our dependence on the Lord. And it’s another opportunity to plant the seeds of “watch me as I depend on Christ.” If we are faithful to plant good seed, God’s promised harvest time will come and our children will begin to step out to live the “now you”!

“That their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, even Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden.” Colossians 2:2-3 (ASV)

 

Article by Janice Cunningham who was formerly on staff with Christ-Life Ministries and is now a middle-school teacher in Waukee, IA.

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