“I’m really glad Mom spoke to me about that; I really needed her help.”
If your children seldom have this response to your authority, it is time for you consider a different approach. Here are three things that go hand-in-hand with authority this is a blessing.
First: listen before you speak.
A good listener is able to repeat the words you hear back to the speaker in such a way that he can affirm that you really do understand what he said. You don’t always have to agree, but you must always understand. This attentiveness shows respect, first for God and then for your child. It also indicates that you view your authority as a trust given to you so that you can be a servant. Answering quickly, without fully understanding the intent of the words you hear, shows a lack of concern for others and, according to Proverbs, is shameful behavior.
See Ephesians 4:29 and Proverbs 18:13
Second: use language that is pleasant and gracious. Harsh tones and sarcastic answers do not build relationships.
A parent’s role is to make God’s wisdom attractive. Harsh, sharp language, tinged with just a bit of sarcasm indicates you are pushing your own agenda rather than God’s. Pleasant language, even when firm, focuses on what is needed for growth. Harsh language reveals self-righteousness.
See Proverbs 16:21 and Proverbs 15:1
Third: beware of anger.
Anger and authority should seldom be seen together. Anger should be the exception, not the norm.
Anger is not the tool of a relationship builder. Anger puts the emphasis on you rather than on the problem you need to address. The focus must be on God. Verse 20 of James 1 reveals the intentions of your heart. Man’s anger does not promote God, but man. Don’t excuse your anger because you think others deserve it. Anger will drive those close to you far from you.
Listen before you speak.
Use language that is pleasant and gracious.
Beware of anger.
These three principles will help parents develop relationships that will be a blessing. You will hear your kids say:
“Thanks, Dad, I needed that.”