What to Do When Your Kids’ Sin is Strangling You

The other day I did what any mature mother of almost forty years of age would do. I stomped up the stairs behind the young offender I was having to discipline, saying loudly in my most sarcastic tone (for the whole house to hear),

“I’m just SO happy this is my life now. It’s just SO awesome!!!”

It had been a rough week with 4 of our 8 kids, and I was flat over it.

Their sin was strangling me and my sin was building on top of theirs. It was a bad situation.

I can easily deal with a child’s sin without getting too involved when the particular behavior they’re caught in isn’t habitual. They said they put away their laundry, but didn’t. I can deal. We’ll have a quick chat. They’ll receive a consequence for lying. Then repentance and restoration usually follow soon after. Truly, it’s no biggie.

But what I’m talking about, and where the bulk, if not all of my parenting struggles lie is the sin that goes on and on for years on end. The habitual lying. The non-stop selfishness. The outright disobedience. It’s those behaviors that don’t seem to go away and the child who doesn’t seem to care that gets to me.

This is also where my rule-following self is seriously messed with. If I’m told not to do something, you’d better believe I will do all within my power to not do it. It’s the way I was made, so sometimes I just don’t understand how some of my kids tick.

Doesn’t everyone want to do the right thing? Every mom laughs the crazy laugh at that.

Each time I get in this sort of funk, a change in my heart doesn’t happen until I remember (again) to take the burden of their sin off of myself. My frustration over their choices was leading me into sin. Was that really going to help? No, not at all.

Some of my kids are still struggling this week, even though I’m handling it better. One of them came home just today with behavioral warnings at school. But do you know what Jeremy and I decided to do (again)? Sometimes we forget the healthy way to do things because we get stuck in an unhealthy rut because it starts to feel comfortable. That was us.

So now it’s less talking about what they did wrong (because they’ve already heard all the speeches) and moving right to the consequences in love with grace. The consequences aren’t fun for them, and it’s not fun for us to have to give them, but we’re keeping our feelings about their behavior out of the picture.

It’s how it’s meant to be, but sometimes we forget.

Our kids’ behavior is going to affect us. Absolutely it will. But the more we remember their behavior isn’t about us in the first place, the more we can train them from a place of love, rather than frustration.

It feels like an attack on us, but it just isn’t. We all sin and we all need a savior from it.

That’s where Jesus comes in. May we spend more time teaching our kids about God’s unending mercy and love in Jesus than spent upset about the way they act. I could use more of this in my life, how about you?

 

Amanda Bacon
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Amanda Bacon

Amanda is the mother of eight kids through birth and adoption and has been married for eighteen years to the most helpful man on the planet. She is an encouraging voice for moms everywhere through the written and spoken word. In addition to The Masterpiece Mom blog and podcast, she also writes at AmandaBacon.com and is over the top in love with Instagram (@amanda_baconbits). Come over and say hi!
Amanda Bacon
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About Amanda Bacon

Amanda is the mother of eight kids through birth and adoption and has been married for eighteen years to the most helpful man on the planet. She is an encouraging voice for moms everywhere through the written and spoken word. In addition to The Masterpiece Mom blog and podcast, she also writes at AmandaBacon.com and is over the top in love with Instagram (@amanda_baconbits). Come over and say hi!

Comments

  1. Just what I needed to hear- thank you! Does this ever remind you of other adults in your life who habitually do the same sins? I wonder sometimes if this reaction isn’t genetic (not talking about hubby, just to clarify. :). I’m sure God would feel (if He wasn’t infinitely patient) the same way about us at times too.

    And have you ever had success with one of your children with these habitual sins? I sometimes wonder even if they’re saved if they’ll be able to conquer these. And what will become of them if they act as such when adults.

    • Totally! There are so many times where I’m convicted about how I do the very same!

      The thing we’ve found that works best with the ones struggling with habitual sins is to give them choices. “You can either go to bed early tonight or continue to lie. Which one would you like?” It helps us stay calm and lets them know they can’t continue if they want to stay up having fun. It’s tough! There are plenty of other consequences we use, but removing them from the situation seems to make our point the best.

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