Parent-Child Relationship Gone Awry

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigital Photos

Image courtesy David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigital Photos

One of the greatest sources of joy in any family is to have children. Their presence in the home is a sign of the mercies and grace of God as no one, I repeat, no one, can say he or she can pay God the right price for a child; or that it his/her good deeds that bore him a child (or children). Indeed children are a heritage of the Lord.

The nature of childhood is unique: they make us happy and sometimes they really get us really annoyed. The first ten years or so, of the life of a human being is really a period that requires a lot of patience and tolerance on the part of the parents. It calls for a lot of maturity on their part. It also calls for a lot of restraint on their part. In addition, it calls for a lot of understanding and acceptance of the fact that children will always be children, especially during the first ten years of their life.

Be that as it may, it hurts me when I see parents want to change the unchangeable – that children in their early years cannot reason like adult, or behave or accept that they are adults. I feel a pain in my heart when I see parents curse or use vulgar language against their children, irrespective of their age. It hurts more when the children are in their earlier years.  Why should parents use expressions like : idiot; you are mad; you are stupid ;fuck you; ass hole; bastard ; useless child; it will not be well with you; you must be out of your mind; foolish boy/girl; and such other vulgar language on their child? Why do they make negative pronouncements on a child?

The word of God, the free giver of these wonderful gifts says that that ‘’the tongue has the power of life and death ‘’ (Proverbs 18:21, NIV)

It thus follows that whatever we say to our children are actually seeds being sowed, either for their good or their destruction. I cannot think of a blessing or curse which someone can place on a child that is greater than that of the parents. Why would a parent wish his or her child evil, like being mad, unsuccessful, stupid or useless?  It hurts.

Closely related to this is an unusually hostile relationship between a parent and the children. This creates extreme fear rather than respect for the parents, discomfort for the child, life of sadness for the child, concealment of personal challenges/problems by the child, absent mindedness in the child, withdrawal tendencies in the child, lack of confidence, and in very severe cases, a child can think of suicide. 

Picture the life of such a child in your mind.

For me, I love my kids a lot. Everyone around me knows I do. They make me happy. Their happiness is my happiness, and their pain is my pain. Their success is my success and their failure is mine too. One thing I have done for the past four years is trying as much as I can to strike a balance between being a strict and no-nonsense father and being a caring and loved farther. I have tried not to allow my four year old son (my daughter is actually about two months old) to fear me, but to respect me as a father. I discipline him when he misbehaves after repeated warnings, and later I lovingly make him see why he is being disciplined, so that it will not seem like I did it out of hatred. I guess I have I have succeeded in striking that balance. Praise God !

What about you? If you are not married, perhaps this post will play an additional role in preparing you for successful parenting.

Permit me to share with you signs of a bad relationship between the parent(s) and the child:-

*where the child feels sad when the parent(s) is around, and the sadness is because of the parent(s)

*when the child cannot discuss personal problems with the parent(s) 

*when the child always prefers to sit far from the parent(s)

*when the child finds it very hard to play with the parent(s)

*when the child enjoys the company of one parent more than the another

*when the child never feels the absence of the parent(s)

*When the child rejoices when the parent wants to go out, and the happiness is related to the parent(s)

*When the child is unfriendly with the parent(s)

*When the child easily is unnecessarily rude to a particular parent and not to the other.

*when a child is only active – plays and talks – when he is in the mist of his friends, and not with his parents or a particular parent.

The list above is not exhaustive. It merely presents some commonly found symptoms of parent-child relationship gone soar. The good news is that all of them have remedial actions (see my post on “building a strong relationship with your children’’). It is just a matter of self-examination and resolve that you want to have a wonderful, rewarding and God-fearing relationship with your children.

It is my prayer that God Almighty, the free giver of our children will give us the wisdom to raise them up in the way that is pleasing and acceptable to him.