It’s 8:30pm on a Wednesday. I’ve been working hard all day and can’t wait for a moment of solitude. So, after his bath time, I let my toddler know it’s time to go upstairs for bedtime. Now, just to clarify, bedtime at our house is simply reading a Bible story, praying, and going to sleep. It’s definitely not torture! However, at hearing the word “bedtime,” my son immediately drops to the floor as if he just found out that the world has run out of M&Ms. He screams and wails, crying and shaking his fists, and all I can think of is how much I wish it could be my bedtime.
I’m sure we’ve all endured moments like these. Moments when, if we are honest, we wonder, “What is wrong with my kid?” Surely other people’s kids don’t act like this. Surely they have figured out a way for their kids to deal with things rationally and maturely. Surely not. The more I talk to parents, the more I see that this is a universal problem. From a toddler crying about bedtime to a teenager refusing to make curfew, there is something inherent that causes kids to think they know best. That something is simply called sin.
So how do we deal with this sin problem in our kids? While there are a lot of different books, methods, and ideas on parenting, I believe Scripture is the best place to start. Deuteronomy 6:7 is clear about the priority of the Bible in the home. As Moses writes, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” What’s interesting about this verse is that it points out not just one time in which we are to teach our children the Bible, but a continuous process of doing so. In regards to this, Paul Tripp writes, “You must be committed as a parent to long-view parenting because change is a process and not an event”. Parenting is not a single moment, but it is a process of pointing your kids towards the redemptive work of Christ in hope that they will place faith and grow in Him.
So what does this have to do with how I handle a toddler crying hysterically or a teenager showing disrespect? Everything. It teaches us that it is not about one moment in which we define the trajectory of our parenting. It is about the many moments like these that come every single week. The truth is that little moments add up to a big impact. When we view these moments as a small piece of the greater whole, we can avoid the tendency to get frustrated about the moment not going the way we would like and instead, see each moment as a connected step in raising our kids to follow Christ.
Actually, there is something wrong with your kids, and it’s the same thing that’s wrong with us. That is why we are called to continually point our kids to the truth of Scripture and use Scripture as a lens for which we make every parenting decision. This is not to say that our parenting will be perfect or that your kids won’t struggle with sin. While we can’t keep our kids from sinning, we can change the way we deal with it. So next time you think there’s something wrong with your kid, know that you’re right and think about how you can help them see their sin and see Christ who paid for it.
For more resources on parenting, including our weekly Kids Guide, check out our Family Resource Center here. We are also excited to be offering an Equip Seminar focused on Marriage and Family, which you can register for here.
– Brant Gordon (1 year Ministry Resident)
 Tripp, Paul Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family