Daily Archives: October 3, 2013

dear Vanessa ~ friend or parent


friend or parent pic

Image of VanessaDear Vanessa,

I have a child that does not like to be told they cannot do what they want.   My daughter seems to think she is always right, and disrespects me on a regular basis.  She is only 8 but I just don’t know how to deal with this behavior….  I often get exhausted and depleted from the behavior.   I just feel like lifting my arms up and saying “whatever”.  I know this sounds  bad, but everything is a constant fight.

At wits end,


Dearest Jessica,

I understand the dilemma; children like to exert their independence and press forward with satisfying their own wants and needs first.

Our children are precious gifts given from up above.   We are blessed to have them be part of our lives.   From the moment of conception, something beautifully made grows… Innocent at birth, a blessed miracle sent to us.

Our children change our perspective for the good.  Sometimes we are not ready for the change, but there is such an amazing opportunity for learning.   As they grow they demonstrate uniqueness and they cry out to us for their needs to be met.  There is no manual on how to raise our children… We often learn as we go.   However, we are expected to raise them up in ways that demonstrate respect, integrity, humility, and boundaries are a must.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

From day one babies cry to get a response, the immediate gratification is fulfilled.   But as they grow and become more aware, if we give into the immediate gratification, they will not learn the important lessons of boundaries and respect of others opinions.  

Too often I am torn between giving in to the crying or the unhappiness, so that I can give that instant gratification.   But if the instant gratification is fulfilled, they will not learn the way to function in this society.  They will not learn the basic concept of do onto others as you would like them to do onto you.   The reason being, is when one receives instant gratification and is not told “no” on an ongoing basis, they then believe that their wants and needs are justified and should come first.  

The first shall be last and the last shall be first……   A statement that shows us that being first and being individualistic in needs does not end well….

Being a parent was not meant to be easy.   We have moments where we feel “Yes! Look at this amazing child.” And you feel that warmth of your heart knowing you are making a difference.  But then there are those days where you look at the child, and think – “What did I do wrong?  How can I fix this?”

We were not meant to “fix” the issues.   We are meant to do is empower our children to become productive contributors to society and to recognize right from wrong.    We do this by setting boundaries for our children in their own lives so that they can implement them in their own.   They have to hear the word “no” or “I don’t agree with the behavior”.   Further, they need to know how to accept feedback in their lives as a constructive way of building them the best people they can be.   So in that we must reinforce the positive behavior and help illustrate the power to choose their responses to the situations in their lives.     

I am far from being a perfect parent, I am learning…. But I do know something that is vital in the success of my little boys – empowerment to choose their response.   This is the one thing in this life that we have control over.   Also, that the “no’s” in this life are not meant to hurt us, they are meant to set boundaries and teach us valuable lessons in this life.

I choose to be a parent rather than a friend to my child.    The reason being is that when my children get their wings to leave and decide their direction, I can sit back and be a confidant and friend then……

A resource that is very helpful on this topic is Boundaries and Children by Henry Cloud.

It is difficult, I know beautiful lady, but give yourself some grace and realize we are all in the same boat.  

May you be blessed.

Dear Lord God, please guide all of the parents in this world to raise their children up in your ways.  I ask that you give us the patience, discernment, and ability to set boundaries, and build a positive environment for our children.  Help us to understand their unique needs and wants while providing a balance and setting the expectations they need to be successful and contributors in this life.   I pray for Jessica and all of the parents that are navigating through this difficulty.  In Jesus Name Amen.