Choose your battle


Handling disrespectful and disobedient kids by choosing your battle

The most common mistake a parent commit is confronting disrespectful kids in anger. This scare-tactic may work for kids below twelve years old, but not for teens. The more I got angry with my kids, the more they resented me. When I retreated from the battle and did the opposite, I won their hearts.

Most family issues are dealt with successfully when there’s no anger. (James 3:6; 2 Chronicles 20:15)

But first, swallow your pride

Our ego gets squashed when our children defy our authority. We retaliate by saying – “you do not talk to me that way!” The knee-jerk is always to fight back. Choosing to hold back takes a lot of humility.

We also need to look in the mirror each time and check if the character we portray deserves the respect we are asking. God wants to develop our character, young or old, and humility is at the top of the list. The Bible instructs us not to pay back anger with anger (Proverbs 24:29). Clearly, not all battles are meant to be won. (Proverbs 26)

Not all battles are meant to be won

Our character first, then theirs

Turning into their teens, it was much harder for me to exercise authority because of their raging hormones. There were days I couldn’t handle the disrespect and I fought anger with more anger. The dust finally settled after I learned what God was teaching me.

→ Use thinking words, instead of an angry response

The battle is the Lord

For things to change, I needed more patience, more humility, but most of all, to retreat from the battle and step back to win by allowing God to take hold of the situation. He alone can change the hearts of men. My job was ultimately to lift them up in prayer and God took care of the rest.


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