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Responding To A Child's Disrespect [Video]

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An unloved child reacts negatively in a way that feels disrespectful to a parent.

A disrespected parent reacts negatively in a way that feels unloving to the child.

We might say that every negative action in the family has an equal and opposite negative reaction.

This dynamic gives birth to the Family Crazy Cycle: without love a child reacts without respect and without respect a parent reacts without love.

Does the Bible address this love-need in a child and this respect-need in parents?

Parents need and want the respect that Scripture plainly says is their due. “Honor your father and your mother,” (Exodus 20:12) is one of many passages where children are clearly told to honor and respect their parents.

Likewise children need and want the love and sensitive understanding that Scripture teaches parents to give them.

See Titus 2:4, Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21 for just a few examples of where parental responsibilities are mentioned or described.

As I have searched Scripture, I have found something that could serve many parents well, and even revolutionize the parent-child relationship.

But it’s one thing to have a theological theory; it’s another to make it work, especially in the daily crucible of child-rearing.

As every parent knows, from tots to teenagers, children are not always respectful or honoring and it is not always easy to be loving in the face of children who appear disrespectful.

The obvious challenge then is: How do you show love to your preschooler, especially when he is having a meltdown right in the middle of the supermarket checkout line, leaving you to feel mortified and disrespected?

Or how does a parent deal with a teenage daughter who yells, “You are the worst parent in the world,” as she reacts with drama that could get her a role on Broadway?

How have you chosen not to react but to respond when feeling disrespected?

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider