Parenting: Tough Love

Parenting can be the most important and challenging role we will ever have in life. Parenthood takes time, money, love, support, and much effort. With every aspect of parenting there are certain roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled by us. What makes parenting such a challenge is that sometimes we aren’t really sure what we should do in certain situations.

At what age should we allow our daughter to date, or should we even allow her to date? Have we ever thought about the consequences of what dating can do to mold a person’s character? What does he or she learn from dating? Should we allow our teenager to have a computer in their bedroom? Are they watching too much TV? Playing too many video games? How will these things affect them later?

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIV

I do know this much, parents have a responsibility to their children, to love them, discipline them, and care for them the best they know how until they leave home. But isn’t there more to the role of parenting than that? Yes, there is! God brings spiritual meaning into our lives so that our purpose of being parents is important and worthwhile to us. It should be a pleasant and honorable task instructing and disciplining our children and teenagers.

God has left us His blueprint for fulfilling our parenting roles. With God as the helm, what can go wrong? Some things can go wrong, it is true, but at least we can go back to our mistakes and pick ourselves back up and show our children the right example. They will respect us for it. Teenagers need tough love. Tough love is discipline with love attached to it. It is firm instruction with respect attached to it. Tough love is not controlling our teenagers, but rather trying to be righteous examples to our teenagers so they will want to control themselves. You see how that works?

Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:19 NIV

As parents of teenagers we may often need to see into the future. Instead of caving in and giving into our pestering teenager, a computer or television in their bedroom, we should be thinking about the ramifications of such a move. Parenting is like playing a game of chess. A good chess player visualizes two or three moves ahead, so he is always on top of the game. In the same way, parents need to have visualization when it comes to instilling the right moves in their teenager’s lives. If we allow God to be in the game of parenting with us, He will give us the wisdom and discernment we need to make the right moves with our children, so we can stay on top of the parenting game. God is our visualization and guidance.

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. Proverbs 29:17 NIV