Why do your children fight?

Posted on October 11, 2017 · Posted in Anger, Parenting

Why do your children fight? The short answer is, the same reason you do! They fight because they do not have what they want. As adults, we think we have moved beyond childish selfishness, so we have developed “mature” reasons for the arguments that we have. However, if you strip away the adult “sophistication” of our arguments, you will find that you are not much different from your children who squabble over a favorite toy. We believe the lie that if we are hurt a robust defense is justified. Getting into a fight seems like the right and necessary and “real” thing to do; we have to protect ourselves!

We are like our children.

The hard truth is that you and I fight because we don’t have what we want. The game-changing question is this: do you have the courage to want what God wants instead of what you want? We can easily see that this is the problem with our children, but it becomes more difficult to see our problems this clearly with the pressures of life’s deep hurts.

Psalm 27 brings this vital question to our immediate attention. Dr. Mark Futato provides rich insight into this psalm. The following thoughts are based on his commentary:

“The central request of the Psalm, what the psalmist wanted most is this: to live in the presence of God, delighting in his perfections. In God’s presence is safety; in God’s presence is victory and joy.”

So, where to fights come from? They come because we don’t desire the beauty of living in God’s presence – this not something that can be earned but something that is part of the rich mercy of God given to us in Christ!

I can respond to unfair treatment with peace because I am living in the presence of God who is my safety and my joy. He has provided victory in Christ. I don’t have to defend myself! I can respond with joy, kindness, love and peace instead of engaging in a destructive war of personal defense.

This is the message that your children must learn from you. But as long as you cling to your sophisticated, adult reasons for fighting you will only lead your children to become sophisticated fighters as well.

Instead teach your children that safety comes in relying on God’s presence for safety and security.

Where do fights come from? They come because we rely on ourselves for safety rather the presence and protection of God. Teach that to your children.

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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.