Complain or Praise

Posted on June 13, 2016 · Posted in Parenting


People are designed, made by God, to live in continuous praise of the wonder of his great name. After the fall, man failed to live as he was intended. Instead of praise, self-focus and personal happiness take center stage. Sin feeds on the desire for immediate happiness. That is why a child can go from seeming bliss to outrage in an eye blink. One moment everything is fine. Then he sees his brother with a toy that he wants and he immediately erupts with a howl of outrage. Why? Because he doesn’t have what he wants, what he thinks he deserves.

God wants his people to live a life of praise. Complaining and grumbling are not compatible with praise. The Bible teaches that God is a faithful God who does no wrong, who is always to be praised. (Deuteronomy 32:3-5; Philippians 2:14-15) If God is always faithful, there is no room for grumbling and complaining.

Complaining is the opposite of praise. Praise is being aware of and motivated by God’s constant goodness and grace. Demanding that a child stop complaining will not stop the advance of this corrosive sin. Praise and gratitude to God for his faithfulness is the only effective weapon to fight a complaining spirit.  Unless praise replaces a complaining spirit, true change has not occurred. Your focus as a parent must be to teach your children to replace complaining with praise.

We are commanded to praise because if we do not praise we revert to our natural desires, we complain. Here is a challenging question. Do your kids hear you complain about them more than they hear you praising God?

You must teach your children to praise. Just as you teach your child not to yell or to put others first or to come quickly when called you must also teach them praise. Do you regularly praise God for a safe trip to the store or for a night’s sleep? Is praise for God’s goodness part of your everyday talk You must teach by example as well as by word. Praise is not natural for your children. It must be lived out before them.

Praise is the attitude that must replace complaining. Ask God to work that first in you and then in your children. Make the praise of God a way of life!


Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.