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Q: Dear Mr. Man,
Why have my children become increasingly disrespectful lately?
A: I decided to check out a new Sunday School class today. I am usually serving in another capacity at my church, but now have some free time during the last service. The class is in the middle of a session on parenting. We were watching a video that showed an eleven-year old boy being extremely disrespectful to his mother. Here is an example of the dialogue:
“Mom, I’m gonna go to Aaron’s house to play Xbox.”
“Sorry Jason. We agreed that you would finish your project before dinner today”
“I can finish it after dinner, Mom. I’m gonna go.”
“No, Jason. A deal is a deal. I’m sorry, but you can’t go.”
“Man, you’re stupid, Mom. I hate these stupid rules!”
It gets worse. Check out Mom’s response:
“Jason, I will not allow you to talk to me that way. What you said was very mean and it hurt my feelings. Why don’t you go to your room and think of a better way to respond to me?”
Do you think Jason went to his room? Probably not.
This video segment illicited a variety of responses from the parents in the class. Some parents agreed with the way the video mom handled the situations while other parents were thinking, “Oh hell to the NO!” (I admit, I was in the latter group).
What struck me more was this. Although the video was an exaggerated example to emphasize a point, there are parents who deal with this type of behavior every single day and do not know how to cope. Behavior such as this does not develop overnight. Children who are typically respectful do not become insolent little terrors overnight. This is behavior that has been learned and accepted. By the parent.
Think about it. We accept the “Terrible Twos” as simply a part of a child’s development. We think its cute when junior spits on his auntie or repeats a bad word that he picked up from television (or from you). As parents, training our children begins the moment they begin to comprehend. Proverbs 22:6 goes like this:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he grows old, he shall not depart from it (KJV).”
If we fail to train our children to honor, respect, and obey us as their parents; then we shall reap the fruits of our failure as well.
We all should ask ourselves to check the quality of the training we have given. If you have any doubt, then you’d better..