Last week I wrote about fathers being there for their children. But when you are present with your children, they will test your patience. This could lead to 5 different was dad discourage their children. Before I became a father, I thought I was a pretty patent person. But man was I wrong! I have found out just how little patience I actually have. How about you?
Let’s read Ephesians chapter 6 and verse 4. Read it out loud if you can so it can make a stronger impression on you.
‘Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. ‘ Ephesians 6:4
Verse 4 says, “And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger.” In his letter to the Colossians, Paul again emphasizes the importance of this when he says in Colossians 3:21
“Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
Dads, you need to show patience with your children. You need to strive to keep from embittering or discouraging them.
I believe there are 5 primary ways dads frequently discourage their children. 5 things you need to strive to avoid.
I. AVOID OVER CONTROL.
Over Control – Dads don’t try to regulate every minute and every aspect of your children’s lives. Don’t spell out every breath and step your child takes. Allow them to have some room. A little at first, when they are young, but as they grow, give them more space. Allow them to make some mistakes, so they can learn from them.
I believe “Over Control” is one of the greatest failings of many fathers with their children today. Many dads are so scared that their children are going to make a mistake, that they place unreasonable restrictions on them. This is especially true of Pastors and Missionaries and their children. So what happens when a father over controls his children? Well, they rebel against their fathers’ guidance and fall.
As Dads, there are many things we have to say no to. There are many things we cannot allow our children to do. Offset that by saying yes to as many things as possible and save your no’s for really important situations.
Give a little breathing room. Don’t over control. You need to have the patience necessary to allow your children to make some mistakes when they are young or they will never learn to avoid them when they are grown.
II. AVOID UNREAL EXPECTATIONS
Unreal Expectation – Some children are discouraged by over-control and others are moved to anger and frustration by unreal expectations. Fathers, your children are not perfect, anymore than you were when you were growing up. Don’t expect them to be perfect in behavior. They’ll never measure up. Also, don’t have unreal expectations for them in the area of education either.
Not every child in the world is an “A” student. An “A” is supposed to go to students who are way above average. B’s are supposed to go to good students, and C’s are supposed to go to average students. Well, there is no way every child can be above average. Don’t place unreal expectations on them in the area of school. If they’re an “A” student, then accept nothing less, but don’t place unreal expectations on them about their grades.
Don’t place unreal expectations on them in the area of sports or anything else. Just because you excelled at something growing up, doesn’t mean that your child will. Perhaps he or she will excel at something you’re not so great at. We are not all wired the same.
Some dads show no patience because of over control, some show no patience through unreal expectations, and there are others who discourage their children through unwarranted punishment.
III. AVOID UNWARRANTED PUNISHMENT
Unwarranted Punishment – Dads, show patience and make the punishment fit the crime. Don’t allow the little things your children do, to become big things, simply because you’ve had a bad day at work. Let the punishment fit the crime. Just because you’ve had a bad day, just because you and your wife are having problems, just because the car wouldn’t start and the mortgage is due, is no reason for you to take out your frustrations on your children.
A friend of mine told me about his experience growing up with a dad who “tormented” him with unwarranted punishments. To avoid misrepresenting his experience, I asked him to write a paragraph about it. He says:
“I remember when I was growing up, sometimes when I messed up, my Dad would send me to my room to “Think about it.” Now, when I went to my room to “Think about it,” that meant that a whipping was on the way. I used to think that my dad sent me to my room and made me wait for my coming whipping, just to torment me, just to make me suffer longer. It wasn’t until I was older that I found out the real reason my dad sent me to my room to think about it. It was because he was angry and wanted to cool off before he spanked me. Looking back, I’m glad he took that cooling off time, because a few of those whipping I got I’m afraid that he might not have waited long enough on”.
Dads, make the punishment fit the crime, and make it consistent.
IV. AVOID UNACCEPTABLE CRITICISM
Unacceptable criticism – One of worst ways to destroy your son or daughter’s hope, one of the most effective ways to break his or her spirit is through criticism. We’ve all heard it. Parents who tell their children that they can’t do anything right, or who tell them that they’ll never amount to anything.
Criticism comes in many ways besides overt words. Some parents never praise their children. Some parents give faint praise, or backhanded praise. They’ll tell their children, “Good job, but we’ll do better next time won’t we?”
What is the result of such criticism? Your children lose heart, like a horse that has had its spirit broken. You can see it in the way a horse moves, and you can see it in the eyes and posture of a disheartened child. (Disciplines of A Godly Man, p. 50).
Dads, don’t discourage your children through criticism.
There is a 5th major way some Dads discourage their children and that is by:
V. Undeniable Favoritism.
Undeniable Favoritism – One of the most exasperating and damaging sins a father can commit against his children is favoritism. Now I’m not saying that you should treat all of your children alike, you can’t. Some children need more discipline than others, and some need more independence than others. It’s obvious that some children need more encouragement than others. And then some children need more structure or more holding. All children cannot be treated alike, but neither should one ever be favored over another. Remember Isaac, how he nearly destroyed his family by favoring Esau over Jacob. Remember how Jacob favored Joseph over his other sons, and how it led to jealousy, fighting, and attempted murder within the family.
Dads, there can be no favoritism in your home, if it is to truly be all that God intended. Dads, show your children some patience. Let them be who they are, and encourage them along the way, each one individually.
Great Dads are PRESENT, great Dads show PATIENCE, and great Dads are persuasive. Next week I want to discuss what it means for dads to be persuasive.
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