Whining children, broken lives

Posted on · Posted in Discipline, Ruling Desires, Shaping Influences

Your six-year-old has become so obsessed with wanting his brother’s radio controlled car that he has made himself sick whining and complaining about it. There is a reason the Holy Spirit warns against grumbling and complaining.

This familiar scenario does not seem as shocking as the story of a teenager obsessed with pornography. However, the attitudes that fuel the teenager’s lust and obsession are the same ones that control your six-year old. This point must not be missed. You must connect the dots of self-pity in your young children with the self-pity of teenagers caught up in sins like pornography and substance abuse.

Don’t dismiss self-pity as a passing stage. Whining in young children is the early warning sign of a life centered around selfish desires. Left unchecked whining can grow into an ugly, deadly disease. Our culture is fixated on sensuality. Basically, a sensual person is obsessed about what gives him or her pleasure. So the craving for the toy is replaced with a craving for self-pleasure or a cure for discontent.

Self-pity is the enemy of sensitivity. means that I care about what is best for you over what is best for me. Sensuality means that I care about what is best for me regardless of what is best for you. Sensuality is never satisfied and continually cries out for more and more. (Ephesians 4:17-19)

Sensitivity, however, can be satisfied because you can obediently care for other people. Sensitivity, based on Christ’s commitment, is the first essential building block in having good relationships, both with God and others.

On the other hand, self-pity will lead your teenager into bouts of discouragement and a craving for self-pleasure. Pornography is just one of the ugly fruits of self-pity.

When you see your six-year-old whining about something, add ten years to his behavior and ask yourself, “what will he be whining about, craving for when he is sixteen.” Lord willing, that will send a shocking dose of reality through you mind. Take the time to jump into his life and teach him life is not about feeding his desires. Life is about having his desires met in Christ.

Live a life sensitivity with your children. The alternative is not pretty.

Shepherding a Child's Heart DVD 2014


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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.