Guilt Parenting

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dreamstime_xs_17216191 [Your Letters, Parenting]

“Hey Karen, I haven’t written you much in the way of God Empowered Parenting moments in a long time . . . so, Just wanted to share an experience I had with Sam recently with you.  Lately I have noticed that I’ve been using guilt tactics with both my kids for disobedience . . . some in very minor ways, others in major ways. Well, it finally came out when I came into the room while Sam and Claire were both watching a “Minecraft” video on youtube. (In case you aren’t familiar with Minecraft, it is a video game where they create houses and other structures out of blocks, sort of like a virtual lego experience.) Well, Sam has been getting ideas of how to build things from watching videos that people post.

Normally I am ok with this as we have discussed his parameters of content, i.e., no bad language or crude remarks, etc. He knows to turn the sound off too.  When I came into the room, they both jumped up, and nick quickly shut the computer. The looks on their faces said it all. I calmly said “what are you guys watching?” Sam said, “just a minecraft video, ” I said, “why did you shut the computer when I came up?” While speaking I opened up the computer, and the video was still playing. The language was absolutely crude and FULL of cussing!! San began to apologize continually . . . I held my tongue for a minute, then asked them “Why did you feel like you needed to close the computer when I walked in?” They both just looked at me speechless . . . I asked them again, and Sam finally said “because I knew I shouldn’t be watching it.”

I then said, “Did you know that’s what Adam and Eve did, once they disobeyed God? They both felt ashamed that they did what God said not to. And what do you think that did to their relationship with God?” Sam said, “It separated them from Him.” I said, “It sure did. Do you see how the Holy Spirit that lives in you makes you aware that you are doing something that doesn’t please the Lord? Isn’t it wonderful that He lives in our heart and lets us know when we sin? And at that moment, we have a choice to repent and restore our right relationship with God, or we can feel ashamed and hide from God. So as your mommy, God commands me to train you to love and fear Him more than you love to sin. I think you and chloe both need to go pray and have some time alone with God to restore your relationship with Him and make things right.”

Sam apologized again and I told him I forgave him, but it was more important to make things right with God. I also explained that I will not always be able to see what he is watching or listening to or what he hears from his friends all the time, and that my desire is for him to fear God more than he fears what I will say or do to him for disobeying. Then came the guilt trip, “Sam, do you realize that you let your sister watch and hear all this filthy stuff? We’ve discussed how you should do what you can in your power to protect her. Now she has been exposed to this too. That disappoints me.” He really started apologizing. I then told Claire, “Did you think it was ok to watch that video?” she said no. I then told them they weren’t allowed to watch youtube anymore.

Well, I left the room and left them to pray . . . Later that evening, I brought the ordeal up again, and during the discussion, Sam looked at me and said, “Mom, why do you always try to make me feel guilty, and always bring up what I do wrong over and over?” I was really caught off guard by that question. “I just said, I’m sorry honey, I’m just trying to do what’s best for you.” But, believe me, his words really stuck with me the next few days . . . I started thinking about all the times that I do use guilt in many ways in my parenting. I prayed and asked God to search MY heart, and repented of my sin too.
Just the other night before bed, I looked at Sam and said, “I thought a lot about what you said Sam, and I really do make you feel guilty in so many ways. I’m not a perfect parent and I make so many mistakes because I’m a sinner, but I really don’t want to make you feel guilty, I love you dearly and am trying to raise you and Claire the way God would want me too. I’m so sorry sweetie, will you forgive me?, his sweet little voice said, “yes mommy” He couldn’t quit hugging me!! It was such a special sweet blessed moment! Our relationship is even closer since that night.
We are learning so much as we all grow up!! 🙂
Just thought I’d share . . .
Note from Karen: Mandy and a few other women have studied God Empowered biblical principles for several years and applied those principles to parenting. They have been invited to help me co-author a book on God Empowered Parenting in the future; but since that will be several years in the making, I thought I would share some of their stories along the way. Their marriages, when they began, ranged from difficult to easy, but each of these women began with a deep love of God and a hunger to honor Him in their lives as wives, mothers, and women. They have been easy to walk with on their journeys, and God has blessed them in unique and beautiful ways.
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