We live in the age of the Child. Children are to be accommodated. They become the center of family life. So instead of training children, our modern world seeks to idolize them. Education can become a means to serve children rather than to teach them to sacrificially live their lives for God. Parents live for their children instead of for God. When this happens, nothing good is accomplished. Marriages are weakened because of this wrong-headed focus. Children can never meet the expectations of parents who worship them. Divorce and child abuse increase. In the end, all that is left is relational rubble.
It is this relational rubble that can also lead to children becoming cynical and disaffected by Christianity. Children who have been the misplaced objects of worship by their parents cannot bear the weight of being parental idols. Children who are a means to their parents enjoyment and personal fulfillment will often despise the beliefs of their family and church. Children who have been relationally abandoned in the service of the god of performance will find no comfort in a gospel that appears to be rigged in their parents favor.
These are among the reasons children turn from God. Perhaps they are even the underlying reasons for the departure of youth from church. Parents, love God, love your spouse, and in love, prepare your children for the dangerous world that is waiting for them. Doing anything other than this will make your faith appear self-serving. God deserves better than to be represented this way. The self-serving idolatry of living for your children will ultimately destroy your marriage and your children. Attempting to save your life through your children will consume you and them. Do not live for your children. Live for God!
16 thoughts on “The danger of living for your children.”
Is it better to neglect and ignore your children, then? i disagree with this 100%… it’s the opposite: modern society has abandoned children and expected them to behave like adults ever since they are babies!!! The problems children carry through adulthood are not derived from being the center of their parents’ lives, but from the opposite: busy parents who forget to give LOVE and keep company to their children!!!
Viviana – living for God first means that you will love your children in the best way possible. There was no hint in the post about neglecting or ignoring children. Life is not about me or my children. life is about living for God.This will result in children who are cared for and comforted by the love of God in their homes. Hope this helps.
That is not what he is saying. He is saying “Put God first”. If we do this in the right way, Children will flourish. He has a special love for them. He said, “Let the little children come unto me, for such is the kingdom of Heaven.” When we focus on the child, they are overwhelmed. When we focus on us, they are neglected or worse. When we focus on God, they are soooooooooooo loved.
I agree. Children need to learn that they are not the center of the world. They need time alone, they need time to learn on their own, and they need to know that they are not equal to adults. They don’t automatically have respect, the earn it. They also need to know that when they fall down, their parents will be there to support and guide them and love them.
Great post, thank you!
Thank you so much for articulating exactly the problem with the generation of kids who are coming out of college thinking that the world is going to revolve around them because they have been used to being the center of their parents world! Nobody but God could love my daughter any more than me and her father. As she grew up she knew we loved her and valued her, but she was just “part” of our family –not our reason for living. We were blessed to be able to raise her, train her and teach her to love God and serve others.
This is so true! My niece has zero social skills as a result of her parents. Living for your kids in this manner also results in the child’s own insecurities. When they get outside the home…where they are no longer being idolized…they have difficulty being just another kid. Children need security through love, acceptance, and boundries…NOT by being idolized by their parents.
I agree with this – ‘I am an old school mamma raising a 2 year old. How is my son supposed to recognize and respect our God if he does not know how to respect his earthly father? This world, ie, MY world does not revolve around my sons antics and wants. He is a wiflfull 2 year old and for that, I am grateful – hope to instill self-esteem with it and stand up. Yet, he will know that our house does not revolve around his antics, wants, etc. I will not deprive him of love and affection and he will always know that he can fall on mamma and papa – he IS my son but he is not here to fulfill my feelings – God gave him to me to raise him to praise HIm and Love Him and to Serve His people – kids cant do that if they are looking around for us to fulfill their wants first…
Thank you for these comments and your openness. May you know God’s blessing!
This article doesn’t speak to neglect of spending time with your children but to the quality of time you spend with your children. All parents struggle with this, I know I have. You want your children to place God first in their lives instead of themselves but many kids don’t see this modeled well. Although I’m still lacking in the immature dept. I know my kids belong to the Lord and I have a greater desire to see them want to live for God than to impress man. God is good and gives all his children gifts and talents. As christian parents we want to instill in our children to use their talents to glorify God. My husband and I are parents of three kids, one being a freshman in college. Because of my own struggle with living too much for my children I readily understand what the author is conveying. When you mix a immature christian parent with overly praised and pampered kids you can end up with a young adult who doesn’t see the need for God.
By living for your child, you are teaching her that you are the one that she can always depend on. And as nice as that may sound, you are really doing her a disservice by becoming her saviour. As a mere human, no matter how much you love her, you will eventually fail her, so you have set her up for disappointment. God loves your child even more than you do, and the best thing any parent can do for a child is to lead her to the saving grace of Jesus, so she will know who her Saviour REALLY is.
Great article, Mr. Younts! So true, and so opposite from what this world is telling parents today. Jesus said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” We have to look at everything in our lives, especially the things we love and follow after, and see if they have become an idol in our lives. Family/children are one thing that can become an idol, to the extreme detriment of the children. I command myself not to love my teenage sons more than Christ, and it helps me to give them to God when they are going through problems, instead of intervening or begging God to stop the problem. He knows how to bring them to know him more, and life’s problems are part of that plan. They know that I would die rather than deny Christ, even if their lives were on the line. That has been discussed and they would do the same for me, by God’s grace.
Thank you JAY for speaking the truth. The truth can set us free.
There is so much truth in what you’re saying. My in-laws have made our family their whole world. It’s so hard on us. They’re usually overstaying their welcome, expecting more that we can give and expecting us to fulfil their needs. It’s not that we don’t want them in our lives , we do. However, they’re never satisfied, to the point where they complaining to the children of not being able to see us more (we visit often, so no truth in this) etc etc, upsetting the children with all their tears and complaints. It’s really hard when parents don’t have a life of their own and expect their children to make them happy.
Nick – the key factor here is how do you define success. The world’s understanding of success is quite different than the Bible’s understanding. The world would have considered the rich young man of the gospels a huge success. Sadly, he was acting like a fool, because he valued earthly treasure more than spiritual treasure. When we value children’s happiness in the moment over everything else we are accommodating them. When we live for their accomplishments as an indication of our parenting skills, we idolize them. A child who spends hours and hours practicing at the expense of being a part of a family and learning to be a servant to others is being raised to a pedestal that will eventually lead to a great fall. The Proverbs are full of practical examples of being different from the world. The world says save your life first. The Bible says if you want to save your life you will lose it. It is the job of each Christian parent to make application of these principles in their particular life situation. Hope this is helpful – thanks for your comments.
Brenda – see response to Nick in this same thread.